Paris Saint-Germain 0-1 Bayern Munich – Champions League: Neymar and co are progressing on away goals
Hansi Flick revealed his love of puzzles leading up to this reunion, but in the end he was just one step away from solving them.
Many could not wait for the second episode of this match, hoping it would go better than last week’s five-goal thriller in Munich. No one was disappointed with the chaotic sequel that was served.
For Flick, he saw it as a test of his problem-solving skills to see the Champions League holders go against history by overturning a 3-2 deficit. It was improbable rather than impossible, history said.
Kylian Mbappé held his arms in the air to celebrate PSG reaching the semi-finals through goals in Munich
Mauricio Pochettino lost a Champions League final with Spurs and is now one round away from another attempt
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting got Bayern’s only goal of the evening, but they needed one more and PSG held their own
The former PSG attacker was on hand to kick a loose ball from a meter while PSG had to pay for their missed opportunities
They needed two, but returned home with one. The holders fell. PSG kept their nerves in check and rightly wondered why the match wasn’t out of sight long before Leroy Sane erupted clearly in the 93rd minute, only to see an entire city holding their breath.
On paper, it seemed like too many pieces were missing for everything to fit together. Still no Robert Lewandowski or Serge Gnabry. Niklas Sule left in the first leg and so missed and Leon Goretzka traveled but never made it to the selection of the match day.
When Neymar hit the crossbar and post within minutes five minutes before half-time, Flick had been right about whether this was a puzzle too difficult for him to solve.
Neymar had the freedom of the Parc des Princes for much of this match and yet he somehow hit every part of the target that wasn’t the net. He even had a Paul Gascoigne at the time of Euro ’96 when, from two meters away, he couldn’t meet Angel Di Maria’s cross. Bayern’s defenders were as baffled as Neymar.
Neymar was a threat all evening and was left asking what else he could do after a sparkling first half in front of goal
Dominating Bayern’s defense, the Brazilian hit the bar and helped his side reach the last four of the Champions League
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi attended the Parc des Princes while PSG tried to count a lead in the first leg
PSG (4-2-3-1): Navas; Dagba, Danilo, Kimpembe, Diallo (Bakker 58); Gueye, Paredes; Di Maria (Herrera 88), Neymar, Draxler (Kean 73); Mbappé
Subs not used: Rico, Saidani, Pembele, Kehrer, Florenzi, Verratti, Rafinha, Sarabia, Nagera
Booked: Oud, Herrera
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino
Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Hernandez, Davies (Musiala 71); Kimmich, Alaba; Sane, Muller, Coman; Choupo-Moting (Martinez 85)
Subs not used: Nubel, Sarr, Nianzou, Stanisic, Zaiser
Goals: Choupo-Moting (40)
Booked: Daughter, wife
Manager: Hansi Flick
“I missed so little,” said Neymar RMC Sport in the aftermath.
Most importantly, I am very happy that we qualified. We came across a great team. We are also a great team and we showed that tonight.
‘We have eliminated the champions of Europe. PSG are a great team, now we have to focus on the semi-finals. ‘
Even late on Kylian Mbappé, the hero of the first leg, was furious that Neymar didn’t pick him up for a tap-in. As fantastic as he is, it was no surprise that Mauricio Pochettino chose Mbappé, instead of Neymar, as the easiest player he has ever had to coach.
Just one win in their last five home games in all competitions gave PSG every reason to fear. The French press was full of memories of their late collapse against Manchester United in this competition in 2019.
Pochettino didn’t want to be as impressed this time as he was in Munich. It was a German siege and how they left with just two conceded was anyone’s guess.
PSG were dominant early on, the roles were reversed from a first leg in which Bayern amassed 31 chances to score just twice.
Neuer was busy, prompting some major rescues to stop it from turning into a procession.
In the end, the German champions ran out of steam, a puzzle with too many moves to solve in the 94 minutes they were given.
“We weren’t eliminated tonight, we needed a better result in Munich,” admitted the Bayern captain.
‘That was frustrating because we missed so many opportunities. We are on our last legs, it is tough against such a top team, but the players gave everything on the field. ‘
This time it was the Parisians who were left on the rue missed opportunities. Just 60 seconds after Neymar rattled the post, they had to pay the price.
Bayern dominated early possession, but soon found no answer to Neymars (judge’s) weakening influence on the proceedings
A foul on Neymar caused PSG players to ask referee Daniele Orsato for a penalty, but the referee was unmoved on appeal
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who had been a bit of a ghost for the first 39 minutes, reacted the fastest, nodding from a yard after Keylor Navas could only parry David Alaba’s attack in the air.
It was a gift to the ex-PSG forward and goals in both legs mean he now has more goals against the French side in two Champions League matches than he has scored for them in 10.
Mbappé thought he had eased the nerves of PSG players, coaches and fans when he shot into the net 11 minutes before time. But not for the first time at night, he looked to the right to see a raised offside flag. The champagne remained on ice.
Pochettino pushed for calm, a buzzword in Paris since he succeeded Thomas Tuchel, as away goals were in their favor and they stuck to progress in a thrilling match this season as good as this tournament.
“We have beaten the best team of last season and are entering the semi-finals,” Di Maria concluded RMC Sport
‘I think we all deserve it. We have worked very hard to achieve these goals. How concentrated are we all together during the training. This is an important moment for the club and we hope we can go even further. ‘
Kylian Mbappé (right), PSG’s first leg hero, was unplayable for much of the match as Bayern was stretched
One of those cracks down the right got Mbappe past Lucas Hernandez, only to send his low hit off the far post.
Replay all the action in the Parc des Princes with DANNY GALLAGHER from Sportsmail