Two late goals help PSG oust Atalanta in Champions League quarters
With two stunning goals in injury time, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) rallied to beat Atalanta 2-1, roaring into the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the first time in 25 years.
At the Estadio da Luz stadium on Wednesday night, Atlanta, in their debut Champions League campaign, took the lead in the 27th minute when Mario Pasalic made a beautiful shot on a spilled ball at the entrance of the area, reports Xinhua news agency.
PSG only managed to survive in the last minutes with decisive actions by strikers Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, although they were not the scorers.
The first half had the supremacy of offensive actions on the part of Atalanta, which pressed for ball possession in the opponents’ field even after scoring.
PSG’s response came through well-articulated speedy counterattacks, which created at least three clear chances for Neymar who unfortunately missed all.
However, the Brazilian star maintained his resilience until the end despite opponents’ harsh marking.
The game became tougher in the second half, triggering a string of yellow cards for both sides.
The tiredness of a totally atypical season weighed on the players’ physical conditioning, which forced the two coaches to make many substitutions.
Even PSG’s experienced goalkeeper Keylor Navas felt muscle problems and needed to be replaced.
PSG saw a ray of hope after 60 minutes as Mbappe came from the bench to replace Pablo Sarabia, which led to the appearance of various quality plays in the combination of passes with Neymar.
Atalanta’s dream collapsed in the stoppage time on a 90th-minute deviation from Marquinhos. Neymar unleashed the shot which also touched a defender.
When everything seemed to be heading for extra time, Eric Choupo-Moting took advantage of a combination between Neymar and Mbappe to turn the score around in the 93rd minute.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all the four quarter-final matches of the Champions League are not being played home and away as usual but as single games in Lisbon.