Mauricio Pochettino’s Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) edged through to the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League semi-finals on the away goals rule to set up a potential clash with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
PSG lost 1-0 at home at the Parc des Princes in Paris but had done enough in the first leg in Munich against the defending champions to go through on away goals after the tie’s aggregate score ended 3-3.
Cameroon’s Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting found the back of the net for the Bavarians but that was not enough for FC Bayern who failed to retain their title by losing to the team that they beat in last year’s final.
Kevin Mbappe’s terrific first-leg performance that saw him score twice proved enough for the Parisians as they won 3-2 away from home. The away goals ended up being Bayern’s killer as they failed to score more than once against a very resolute PSG defence.
Neymar proved to be the star in the second leg and was unfortunate to have not scored as he hit the woodwork.
PSG could have crumbled, as they have done so in the past on several occasions, having only made one Champions League semi-final since 1995, but Pochettino’s side were strong in defence to see out the result.
PSG came into the game having won 16 of their 17 UEFA competition ties when they recorded a first-leg away victory, including in this season’s round of 16 victory against Barcelona.
Without Robert Lewandowski in the strike force for Bayern Munich, the six-time champions lacked a cutting edge. Credit, however, to PSG who made the most of the chance they had of qualifying with the Polish striker out.
Pochettino’s side looked threatening on the counter-attack with Mbappe and Angel Di Maria causing all sorts of problems out wide.
Neymar hit the woodwork twice and Manuel Neuer was forced into making three saves as well in the first half to keep the Brazilian star out.
It only looked a matter of time until the home team would take the lead, but the tie was opened up when Bayern’s Choupo-Moting headed home following their first dangerous attack of the game in the 40th minute.
Kingsley Coman’s run found David Alaba in the PSG penalty area, and his low shot was saved by Keylor Navas. However, the ball spun back up into the air and Choupo-Moting managed to nod in from close range by holding off Presnel Kimpembe.
PSG goalkeeper Navas then denied Alaba, whose left-foot shot was flying into the top-left corner, before Leroy Sane shot straight at the Costa Rican shortly ahead of half-time.
PSG were on the attack at the start of the second half as di Maria sent a perfect and dangerous low cross through the Bayern six-yard box that Neymar somehow missed.
Mbappe thought he had equalised when he scored, but he was offside. Bayern threw everything at PSG in the final 10 minutes but lacked quality in beating PSG’s rugged defence.
PSG failed to score at home in the Champions League for the first time in 24 games, since a 0-0 draw with Real Madrid in October 2015.
Bayern Munich managed an incredible 45 shots over two legs against PSG, which is the joint-most any team has managed against an opponent in two games in the Champions League this season. Sevilla managed the same against Krasnador.
Mauricio Pochettino praised his side saying, “It was a really tough match and I’m really happy because the players deserve the credit and we’re so happy for them, the club, the president.
“After three months working here we’re enjoying the moment and if you qualify for the semi-finals then this is an amazing moment for us.
“When you’re on the touchline, close to the pitch, it’s not easy to enjoy it but I try to be calm on the outside, but just inside you are dealing with the stress – that’s the adrenaline of it that you love to feel.
“It was an amazing game. The quality is there and they worked so hard. I’m so happy because our job is to get all this talent to work as a team.”