PSG, Chelsea book UCL semi-final spots
Paris Saint-Germain did just enough to knock defending champions Bayern Munich out of the Champions League and reach the semi-finals for the second straight season, losing a tense match 1-0 yesterday to advance on away goals from the first leg of their quarter-final.
Bayern had to score twice after losing 3-2 at home and survived several scares in the first half before largely taking control in the second. But without the prolific Robert Lewandowski, the six-time champions lacked a cutting edge and could not add to Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s first-half goal against his former club.
After losing 1-0 to Bayern in last year’s final, PSG stand one step away from the second final of their 51-year history and remain on course to win it for the first time.
“We fought like a great team, we beat the European champions,” Neymar told broadcaster RMC through a translator. “We’re a very competitive team that sticks together.”
Neymar had three shots saved by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and hit the woodwork twice in an eventful first half that tilted Bayern’s way when Choupo-Moting headed home in the 40 minute.
Bayern’s wingers were a constant menace and PSG’s defenders were relieved to see standout goalkeeper Keylor Navas stretch his right hand to keep out Leroy Sane’s dangerous cross deep into injury time at Parc des Princes.
That was Bayern’s last chance on a night when the usually so prolific German side paid the price for its wastefulness without Lewandowski.
PSG now face either Manchester City or Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals.
Injury-hit Bayern were also missing midfielder Leon Goretzka, as well as winger Serge Gnabry because of coronavirus. In fact, coach Hansi Flick couldn’t even fill his substitute’s bench.
Still, PSG were not at full strength, either. Defender Marquinhos had an adductor problem, while midfield schemer Marco Verratti stayed on the bench after recovering from COVID-19.
Meanwhile, a spectacular goal from a scissor kick by Mehdi Taremi wasn’t enough to earn Porto a place in the Champions League semi-finals as Chelsea advanced despite a 1-0 loss in the second leg of their quarter-final.
Chelsea went through 2-1 on aggregate and will play either Real Madrid or Liverpool in the last four, which the English club has reached for the first time since 2014.
Taremi’s acrobatic volley, following a cross from the right, came in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time and lit up a lacklustre game in Seville, which hosted both legs of the quarter-final because of coronavirus restrictions. It came too late to rescue Porto, which had been successfully stifled up to that point.