PSG to Face Lyon or Bayern Munich in UCL Final After Win vs. RB LeipzigAugust 18, 2020
Paris Saint-Germain are one win away from their long-sought-after Champions League title following a 3-0 victory over RB Leipzig in the semifinals in Lisbon, Portugal.
Angel Di Maria played a starring role as he scored in the 42nd minute and assisted on his club's two other goals.
It was the second straight night in which a Manchester United castoff shined on the European stage after Romelu Lukaku had a brace in Inter Milan's 5-0 Europa League victory over Shakhtar Donetsk on Monday.
The health of Kylian Mbappe was a major storyline entering the match. The French forward was limited to a substitute appearance in the quarterfinal round against Atalanta with an ankle injury, but PSG manager Thomas Tuchel told reporters he was ready to start for Tuesday's pivotal clash.
While Mbappe didn't get on the score sheet, he was a constant threat in the final third whether he was directly attacking Leipzig defenders on the ball or dragging them away from the action with his movement off the ball.
One would expect PSG to have an advantage in open play given the wealth of talent at their disposal. Their opening goal resulted from a set piece, however.
Di Maria whipped in a cross that allowed Marquinhos to have a free header in the 13th minute.
Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi gifted the Ligue 1 champions their second goal, leaving his club in dire straits.
Playing out from the back has its benefits, but simply clearing it out to midfield can be the sensible approach sometimes. Gulacsi was reminded of that the hard way as his poor pass set in motion a chain of events that culminated in an easy chance for Di Maria from close range.
Juan Bernat eliminated any doubt about the result when he headed in a cross from Di Maria in the 56th minute. The Leipzig players lobbied the referee to say Bernat was offside, but subsequent replays showed that Leipzig defender Nordi Mukiele had played him on.
Over the last few years, the perception around Paris Saint-Germain is that they can steamroll the competition in France but then wilt when the lights shine brightest in the Champions League. Most famously, they lost 6-1 to Barcelona in the second leg of the 2016-17 round of 16.
The Parisians were firmly in control on both ends of the pitch on Tuesday. They pressed high when losing possession, which played a role in Gulacsi's mistake, and were cohesive in building attacking moves. PSG finished with nine shots on target to three for Leipzig.
Qatar Sports Investments has cycled through five different managers and spent untold millions since purchasing a controlling share in the club in 2011. Winning the Champions League was the ultimate objective, and now Paris Saint-Germain are on the cusp of making that dream a reality.
Paris Saint-Germain await the winner of Wednesday's semifinal between Lyon and Bayern Munich. The final is Sunday at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon.