Kylian Mbappe

French Champions Paris Saint-Germain have been disappointingly inconsistent in Ligue 1.

Last weekend’s defeat to Lille saw Neymar sent off as Les Douges went three points clear atop the league standings with seven games to go. 

However, the Parisiens have been spectacular in the UEFA Champions League. The club’s main aim and holy grail is still an active dream.

In a repeat of last year’s final, Kylian Mbappé brought all the stardust to the quarter-final first leg as he added Allianz Arena to his hit list in this season’s UCL.

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Without Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the UCL quarter-finals for the first time since 2005, Mbappé continues to prove he is the game’s next outstanding player. As PSG inflicted Bayern Munich’s second defeat in 29 games in this competition with their 3-2 win.

The World Cup winner now has eight goals this season in the competition – and more knockout goals than Thierry Henry managed in his whole career.

Bayern were missing their own clinical touch in the injured Robert Lewandowski, and couldn’t break Keylor Navas between the PSG posts.

PSG were happy to sit back and break at pace, especially after captain Marquinhos went off injured – shortly after putting them two-nil up – to reduce their defensive composure. Hence, the Costa Rican goalkeeper faced 31 shots in Bayern’s incredible fightback after going 2-0 down.

Indeed, while Mbappé got the final say with his winning goal, Navas kept them alive with incredible saves as they earned a slender advantage with three away goals.

Keylor Navas
Keylor Navas was once again reliable and instrumental in the first leg result

The 34-year-old was as decisive as Mbappé and will be key in PSG’s quest having kept Real Madrid to three consecutive UCL titles. Par for the course, Navas already saved a key Messi penalty in the last-16 second leg.

Mauricio Pochettino was understandably delighted with the performance and the slender advantage which will have boosted the morale of his players after their domestic frustrations. 

“I am happy with the result, with the attitude of the team which found itself in difficult situations against the best team in Europe,” Pochettino told RMC Sport. “We must congratulate the players for their sense of sacrifice. We are trying to repeat this kind of performance.

“When you win, it’s always easier to explain your decisions, everyone thinks you made the right choices. The credit goes to the players, they are the main protagonists, it is their quality that must be highlighted.

Man of the match Mbappé was full of praise of the team effort that got them over the line.

“We were solid, and we knew how to inflict damage in our strong moments. We will attack the second leg with the same determination. As I said in Barcelona, I like these type of matches. I was not always smiling, but I am not here to hide. I like to play these type of matches and to be decisive.

PSG will be satisfied with their efforts despite the threat of the Bavarians in the second leg. Lewandowski’s absence just might prove the difference afterall. 

With the grit, quality, and vast experience of Navas alongside Mbappé’s talent and Neymar’s creativity. Pochettino’s team are more than outsiders for European glory in 2021. 


Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.

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