sport

Champions League: PSG knock out Bayern; Chelsea in semis

PSG knock holders Bayern out to reach semis

Paris St Germain reached the Champions League semi-finals despite a 1-0 home defeat by holders Bayern Munich on Tuesday as they progressed on away goals after a 3-3 aggregate result in a thriller that was on a knife edge until the final whistle.

Bayern striker Eric Choupo-Moting scored the only goal before the interval but it was not enough to overturn the German side’s 3-2 loss in last week’s first leg.

Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG side, who struggled at times in Munich, had the clearest chances but lacked efficiency, with Neymar hitting the woodwork twice and Kylian Mbappe’s speed proving tough to handle but with no end product.

PSG kept their composure in a nerve-wrecking finale to book a last-four spot against Manchester City or Borussia Dortmund, who play on Wednesday, as they aim to reach the final for the second year in a row in their third semi-final appearance.

Bayern eventually paid for the absence of injured talismanic striker Robert Lewandowski and forward Serge Gnabry, who had tested positive for COVID-19, while PSG managed to live without captain Marquinhos and influential midfielder Marco Verrati.

“Normally, my team has so much quality in the final third, but today they were lacking that final punch. We have to accept that, even though we would have liked a different outcome,” said Bayern coach Hansi Flick who added that he would decide on his future at the club at the end of the season

“Now we’re in the semi-finals and we can dream big,” said Neymar.

Pochettino added: “We were very focused. It was a really tough match – I’m really happy because the players deserve big credit. To win and qualify for the semi-finals is an amazing moment for us.”

PSG’s home form has been a cause for concern this season, but this time they did not freeze and proved extremely dangerous on the break throughout the match.

Without the injured Marquinhos, Danilo started alongside Presnel Kimpembe in central defence for the French champions while Bayern were also without Leon Goretzka in the midfield.

Bayern applied the pressure early on but PSG threatened on the counter with Mbappe and Neymar having the early chances in an error-strewn start.

The visitors had their first attempt in the 25th minute when Leroy Sane’s curled short from outside the box went just wide.

PSG came then close on a quick break as Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer denied Neymar in a one-on-one after the Brazilian had been found unmarked by Mbappe.

Neymar was at it again three times in a handful of minutes with a powerful shot that Neuer deflected onto his post, a superb curled effort that crashed against the bar and another attempt that hit the post after he was played through by Mbappe.

But Bayern then went in front as Choupo-Moting headed home after PSG keeper Keylor Navas deflected David Alaba’s shot into the path of the former PSG player, giving the German champions the lead on the night five minutes before the break.

PSG went close again early in the second half when the excellent Angel Di Maria controlled Mbappe’s cross and sent the ball past a flying Neuer across the goal only for Neymar’s stretch to come up inches short as he tried to slide it home.

Mbappe thought he had equalised in the 78th minute after being played through by Neymar from just inside Bayern’s half, but a VAR review confirmed Italian referee Daniele Orsato’s decision to rule it out for offside.

Flick’s team created danger in the box repeatedly in the closing stages but the home defence held firm as PSG avenged last year’s 1-0 final defeat by Bayern.

Chelsea see off Porto to reach semis despite Taremi stunner

Chelsea hung on to reach the Champions League semi-finals with a 2-1 aggregate win despite Mehdi Taremi’s stunning overhead kick in added time handing Porto a 1-0 victory in the quarter-final second leg on Tuesday.

The substitute had been responsible for his side’s only attempt on target as they chased a 2-0 deficit from last week’s first leg but he provided an emphatic response in a cagey game with his acrobatic strike deep into added time.

Thomas Tuchel’s side had a healthy lead from last week’s away game in Seville and had to withstand an intense start from Porto in their home leg back at the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, the venue of both games due to Portugal’s coronavirus restrictions.

Porto’s Jesus Corona closed down Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy early on but failed to make the most of the keeper’s botched pass. The Mexican winger missed another good chance later in the half when he shuffled past Ben Chilwell in the area only to blast over the crossbar.

Chelsea’s Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic each came close to breaking the deadlock after the interval but the Londoners were more focused on keeping Porto at bay.

“We accepted what was needed, it was a tough, tough fight,” Tuchel told BT Sport.

“Maybe on the television it was not so nice to watch but on the sidelines it was a very intense game, a very fast game. It was very hard to play against them to escape the pressure but with every minute we did it better and better.”

Taremi’s last-gasp strike prevented them from keeping a clean sheet but Chelsea still managed to reach the semi-finals of Europe’s top competition for the first time since 2014.

They will meet either Liverpool or Real Madrid in the last four, with the Spaniards holding a 3-1 lead in the other tie ahead of Wednesday’s second leg.

“We’re buzzing, it doesn’t get better than that,” said Chelsea’s Mount.

“We could have played better but just getting through was at the forefront of our minds and we did that tonight. “We knew as a team we had to work our socks off. We knew what the final result was if we won.”

Porto coach Sergio Conceicao said he was “extremely proud” of his side for going toe-to-toe with the richer Premier League side, who spent more than 10 times as much money as his side in last year’s transfer window.

“We did not let Chelsea’s players, who are of the highest level, create many chances,” he said.

Goalscorer Taremi added: “We played a great game, we showed that we are a great team, but unfortunately my goal wasn’t enough.”

Taremi was suspended for the first leg along with top scorer Sergio Oliveira and started the game on the bench after picking up a knock in Porto’s win at Tondela on the weekend.

The Iranian striker was introduced midway through the second half and instantly gave his side more bite in attack, becoming their first player to test Mendy even though his header lacked enough venom to beat the keeper.

Mendy was powerless to stop his thunderous volley but Porto had less than two minutes of added time to find another goal to force extra-time and Chelsea clung on to their advantage.

Source: Read Full Article