Paris Saint-Germain survived a testing night against Bayern Munich to reach the Champions League semi-finals despite a 1-0 defeat in the French capital.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side went into the game with a 3-2 advantage from the first leg, and they went close to stretching their advantage throughout an entertaining first half, with Neymar hitting the woodwork twice and Kylian Mbappe posing a threat throughout.
However, the goal when it came was scored by a former PSG man, with Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting heading home for Bayern from close range when Navas could only parry a David Alaba shot.
Defending European champions Bayern pushed hard for a second goal after the interval, but Hansi Flick’s side lacked a bit of quality in the absence of the injured Robert Lewandowski and the unwell Serge Gnabry. And it was in fact PSG who had the better of the chances on the counter-attack in the second half, with Neymar going close and Mbappe dispatching a one-on-one opportunity only to see it chalked off for offside.
A late goal would have snatched it for Bayern, but the Parisians held firm, putting in a strong defensive performance despite the absence of their captain Marquinhos to progress on away goals.
PSG will play the winner of the Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City tie in the semi-finals, with the game scheduled to be played on the 27th/28th April and 4th/5th May.
TALKING POINT – PSG SHOW THE STEEL TO SUPPORT THEIR FLAIR
The attacking talents of Neymar and Mbappe capture the headlines most times PSG play, but it will have been encouraging for Paris fans to see their side but in such a strong defensive effort. Bayern prodded and probed all night, but the home side had the answers time and again, despite missing two important parts of the spine of their team in Marquinhos and Marco Verratti.
With Man City possibly awaiting in the next round, this was the template for how to play against a side with lots of attacking quality, and you could see PSG causing Pep Guardiola’s team all sorts of problems (if City make it past Dortmund on Wednesday
MAN OF THE MATCH – IDRISSA GUEYE (PSG)
The Paris forwards sparkled throughout, but midfielder Idrissa Gueye turned in a super performance to help his side hold on to their first leg lead. Gueye was relentless in midfield, halting countless Bayern attacks and popping up all over the place as the pressure built throughout the second half.
His work on the ball was impressive too, transitioning it quickly into Neymar and Mbappe. Gueye is the sort of unsung hero that all big teams need.
Paris Saint-Germain: Navas 6; Dagba 7, Danilo 7, Kimpembe 8, Diallo 7; Gueye 8, Paredes 8; Di Maria 7, Neymar 8, Draxler 7; Mbappe 8. Subs: Bakker 7, Kean 6, Herrera 6
Bayern Munich: Neuer 7; Pavard 7, Boateng 7, Hernandez 7, Davies 6; Kimmich 8, Alaba 6; Sane 6, Muller 6, Coman 6; Choupo-Moting 5. Subs: Musiala 6, Martinez 6
28’ – That is such good football. Mbappe darts in behind and produces a superb cut-back to find Neymar in space. It looks like a goal is coming, but Neuer reacts brilliantly to make the save.
37’ – Genius from Neymar. An exquisite turn on the edge of the box sets him up for a shot and he takes his time before curling a peach of an effort towards the far top corner, only to see the ball cannon away off the crossbar.
39’ – PSG break and it’s Mbappe again who unlocks Bayern. The ball breaks to Neymar and he really should score, but he hits the post and the visitors survive.
40’ GOAL! – Bayern have the lead as Choupo-Moting follows up a shot, bundling a header home from no more than two yards after Navas made a hash of the first save. 1-0 Bayern and this tie is very much alive!
54’ – So close to an equaliser! Di Maria does brilliantly to jink away from his marker in the box and dink a clever ball across the face of goal, but Neymar can’t quite make contact at full stretch. Both players hold their head in their hands.
78’ – Mbappe is played clean through and dispatches his shot emphatically past the goalkeeper. He wheels away in celebration, but the flag is up and VAR confirms that it is offside.
89’ – PSG break and Mbappe looks for Neymar. It’s a great pass, but Neuer storms out of his area to slide in and clear, denying the Brazilian a one-on-one.
93’ – Sane cuts back onto his left foot on the box and looks for a cross, but it is too close to Navas and the PSG keeper gratefully snatches it.