Neymar abd Choupo-Moting

French Champions Paris Saint Germain scored two late goals against Atalanta in a remarkable comeback to reach the Champions League semifinals.

It was an auspicious match for the French giants as the Les Parisiens hoped to celebrate the 50th year anniversary of the club with a convincing win against the Bergamo outfit – and at the biggest stage, to make an inaugural semifinal appearance since 1995.

But Neymar, the world’s most expensive player, looked set to ensure more continental disappointment for Thomas Tuchel’s side as he missed two glorious chances in the early stages of the keenly contested match.

Mario Pasalic and Juan Bernat
Crotian Mario Pasalic gave Atalanta an early lead. (Getty Images)

Mario Pašalić drew first blood in the 27th minute with an assist from Duván Zapata in the eerie Estàdio da Luz stadium in Lisbon, Portugal.

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The missed chances would’ve jinxed PSG with Neymar becoming ostensibly frustrated having missed the two golden opportunities. But with the introduction of Kylian Mbappé, PSG found its rhythm upfront. Mbappé’s pace proved crucial and his quality finally broke through the resolute Atalanta defense and provided an astonishing finale to the first one-legged quarter-final in the re-shaped competition.

Neymar laid on a 90th-minute equaliser for Marquinhos and substitute Mbappé teed up former Stoke City striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to slot in the winner past Marco Sportiello just 149 seconds after Marquinho’s equaliser.

The 2-1 win means PSG will now face either RB Leipzig or Atlético Madrid in the first semi-final next Tuesday night.

Where Do Paris Go From Here?

PSG have become familiar with fluffing their chances in the Champions League when it matters the most since their emergence as a global force off the pitch, with Barcelona’s comeback from 4-0 down three years ago perhaps the most notable.

Tuchel could well have been joining Unai Emery, Carlo Ancelotti and Laurent Blanc in paying for that failure with his job with another letdown in Lisbon. But this win against Champions League debutants has shown that consistency is much required of PSG given their sub-par performance against the Italian side.

The win didn’t only show PSG’s resilience and fighting spirit, but also made Crystal clear how pivotal French World Cup Winner, Mbappé and Neymar could be.

It was only a third win in 11 quarter-final matches in the European Cup for the French side. Could they now go all the way and claim their much-coveted prize?

Can this win propel them to putting up a much better performance in the semi-final match-up next Tuesday? Only time will tell.

However, Much kudos must be given to Atalanta who undoubtedly kicked-off as underdogs but showed courage in their play and it was clear from the early exchanges they weren’t intimidated by the occasion.

They’re the smallest club to reach this stage of the competition and have been superb all season, scoring 98 goals in Serie A playing attractive, fluid, attacking football.

In the end, it required a moment of magic to put down this rampant Atalanta side, Gasperini’s men will be back.

For now, PSG regroup ahead of a crucial few days.


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