French Ligue 1’s leader Paris Saint-Germain found the right form just before its second leg against German Bundesliga 1 giant Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16, but it was not sufficient for the Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi-led club to overcome the 1-0 deficit its German counterpart achieved in the first leg. In last night’s game, Julian Nagelsmann’s men held the fort and dispatched PSG with a 3-0 aggregate score line at the Allianz Arena, preventing the French champion from realising its grandiose goal of a first UEFA Champions League title once again.
Choupo-Moting Scored Against His Former Club
The home side named an unchanged starting line-up from that squad that beat VfB Stuttgart last Sunday in this match, while Christophe Galtier opted for two changes for his team that emerged victorious against Nantes, with Marco Verratti and Achraf Hakimi replacing Warren Zaïre-Emery and Nordi Mukiele.
Paris Saint-Germain started the game strong and almost went ahead in this second leg, when Messi was squared by Mendes around the goal. La Pulga made three consecutive shots, but none of his efforts made it to the goal and the ball was eventually saved by Bayern’s goalkeeper Yann Sommer. The Swiss shot stopper almost committed a blunder that led to a PSG goal, after he took his time to clear the ball amidst pressure from the opposing forwards. His heavy touch allowed Vitinha to have a strike into the unguarded goal, but Matthijs de Ligt made a timely block to prevent the overall equaliser. The Portuguese’s soft effort meant the game remained goalless till the half-time whistle.
The second 45 minutes were pretty much all Bayern Munich’s display of superiority. Former PSG man Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting came close to double his club’s aggregate lead seven minutes after the resume of play, but his header was interfered by Thomas Müller, who was offside during the attack. Notwithstanding with the unfruitful strike, the 33-year-old Cameroonian broke the hearts of his ex team in the 61st minute, when Bayern Munich players pressured their opposing defensive backline, followed by Leon Goretzka’s unselfish pass to Choupo-Moting to score his 17th goal of the season. The forward was seen emotional for scoring against his previous employer.
PROST 🍺 pic.twitter.com/59hD9pAUlO
— 433 (@433) March 8, 2023
Gnabry Put the Game Beyond Reach
PSG knew they had to go all out at this point of the game, and defender Sergio Ramos almost scored for the visitors through two corner set-pieces, but his first header was heroically saved by Sommer and his second failed to hit the target. The rest of PSG’s shots went meaningless, before Bayern’s substitute João Cancelo broke from the right side and unleashed another replacement Serge Gnabry to put the game to bed just one minute before the added time. The German winger’s goal gave Bayern a comfortable 3-0 aggregate win over Paris Saint-Germain and helped the German outfit progress to its record 21st UEFA Champions League Quarterfinal.
The End of Mbappé, Messi and Neymar Partnership?
Following another failed UCL campaign, rumour has it that the 2022 FIFA World Cup-winning captain Messi might leave the French club when his contract expires this June. The Argentinian talked about his aspiration to win the European Cup with PSG, but successful eliminations at the last 16 stage during his tenure with the club might change his mind in the summer. Mbappé’s rise in club and country level may see him finally leave France to join a bigger club like Real Madrid as well. As things stand, we might be looking at the end of arguably the deadliest attacking trio in the history of football.
Müller: “We Needed Some Fortune to Beat PSG.”
Bayern Munich’s captain Müller admitted that Bayern Munich could not have beaten the French Ligue 1 powerhouse without luck on their side. He said: “You have to be honest, in a football game like this there are always moments when you need luck on your side. We had that one moment when Yann loses the ball, which Matt clears the ball on the line. If it goes to 1-0 there, you don’t know how the teams will react to that. But we shed our shyness in the second half in particular, we were clearer in defence, so we played the better game in the second half and deserved to win.”
Bayern Munich’s next match is against FC Augsburg at home in the German Bundesliga 1, in which the 31-time German champion will look forward to extend its lead over second-placed Borussia Dortmund.