Wednesday , April 14 2021

Champions League Q/Fs: Kylian Mbappe stars in PSG’s 3-2 win over Bayern Munich

Champions League Q/Fs: Kylian Mbappe stars in PSG's 3-2 win over Bayern Munich
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES

Champions League Q/Fs: Kylian Mbappe stars in PSG’s 3-2 win over Bayern Munich

Kylian Mbappé scored twice to lead Paris Saint-Germain to a 3-2 win at defending champion Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal on Wednesday.

Mbappé was a constant threat while Neymar had two assists as the French champion responded to its 1-0 loss to Bayern in last year’s final by seizing the advantage going into the second leg in Paris next week.

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Marquinhos scored the other goal as the visitors went 2-0 up inside the first half hour, but the PSG captain went off injured shortly afterward and Bayern responded through headers from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Thomas Müller.

Mbappé sealed the win with his eighth goal of the competition in the 68th. The visitors had four shots on target altogether.

“I think it was efficiency. We managed to score with almost all of our opportunities, and we managed to defend well as a team, even if it’s difficult against Bayern Munich,” Mbappé said. “But there’s a second round at home and we’ll have to win again if we want to qualify for the semifinals.”

Bayern had 31 efforts at goal and clearly missed Robert Lewandowski’s accuracy. The Poland star is the Bundesliga’s top scorer with 35 goals in 25 appearances, but he returned from the international break with a knee injury. Bayern was also without forward Serge Gnabry because of a positive COVID-19 test.

“Unfortunately it wasn’t as decisive in front of goal as we normally are,” said Bayern coach Hansi Flick after his first Champions League defeat since taking over in November 2019. “The efficiency wasn’t good. But still I’m very satisfied with the performance of the team, the way they played.”

The visitors also had absences due to COVID-19, with Marco Verratti and Alessandro Florenzi both infected. Coach Mauricio Pochettino was also without forward Mauro Icardi and the suspended Leandro Paredes, as well as Layvin Kurzawa and former Bayern player Juan Bernat.

In Wednesday’s other quarterfinal, Chelsea beat Porto 2-0 in a game played in Seville, Spain, because of travel restrictions.

Bayern made a good start amid heavy snowfall with Choupo-Moting hitting the crossbar with a header from a corner in the second minute.

Mbappé scored the next minute, set up by Neymar on a quick counterattack, when his shot from the right squirmed between Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s legs.

The visitors had the ball in the net again in the 12th, but Julian Draxler’s goal was ruled out through VAR as Mbappé was just offside in the buildup.

Bayern responded with sustained pressure. Keylor Navas was alert to deny Leon Goretzka in the 19th, then Benjamin Pavard a minute later.

Choupo-Moting went close from another corner before Marquinhos scored with the visitors’ second legitimate effort on goal. Neymar beat Bayern’s offside trap with a brilliant ball over the top for his Brazilian compatriot to make it 2-0 in the 28th.

But Marquinhos went off with a groin injury two minutes later – a major blow for the visitors who were forced to move midfielder Danilo back to defend.

Bayern’s Goretzka went off injured for Alphonso Davies shortly afterward.

PSG paid the price for Marquinhos’ absence in the 37th, when Benjamin Pavard was left free to cross for the unmarked Choupo-Moting to head inside the left post.

Bayern had to make another change before the break with Jérôme Boateng coming on for the injured Niklas Süle.

Müller equalized with a header to Joshua Kimmich’s free kick on the hour mark, but Mbappé struck again despite facing Boateng in the 68th. The France star simply shot through the Bayern defender’s legs past the wrong-footed Neuer inside the left post.

“If it had been 5-3 or 6-3 for us, no one could have complained based on all these chances,” Müller said. “If we take the performance we showed today and bring it to the pitch in Paris, then we’ll get the goal chances again to reach the semifinals. And we have to be there and to score the things. That’s our full focus now.”

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