Mbappe stars as PSG win at Bayern
AFP/ Munich, Germany
Kylian Mbappe netted twice as Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) secured a thrilling 3-2 win at holders Bayern Munich in yesterday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg, in a repeat of last year’s final.
Bayern had their 19-match unbeaten run ended in the Champions League with their first European defeat since March 2019 as head coach Hansi Flick suffered his first loss in Europe.
PSG raced into a 2-0 lead after just 28 minutes behind closed doors at the Allianz Arena as Neymar created goals for Mbappe and Marquinhos.
Bayern, whose top scorer Robert Lewandowski is sidelined by a knee injury, drew level with headed goals by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Thomas Mueller.
However, Mbappe showed his class with a superb second goal to give the visitors an advantage for the return leg in Paris next Tuesday.
PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas played a key role with a string of saves as Bayern peppered his goal late on in a desperate bid to grab an equaliser.
This was a record 19th appearance in the Champions League quarter-finals for Bayern, but there was little for the Bavarian giants to celebrate at the final whistle.
Covid-19 cast its shadow over both teams with Bayern winger Serge Gnabry, plus PSG pair Alessandro Florenzi and Marco Verratti quarantined after testing positive.
Heavy snow fell in the first half in Munich as the visitors put the heat on the holders.
The opening goal came after Neymar sprinted through a gaping hole in the defence and laid the ball off for Mbappe, whose shot flew into the net through Manuel Neuer’s legs.
PSG’s Germany forward Julian Draxler had a goal disallowed with Mbappe offside in the build-up as the visitors kept up the pressure.
Bayern midfielder Leon Goretzka powered a header into the feet of Navas just before the hosts fell two goals behind.
A clearance kick only got as far as Neymar, whose ball over the top found Marquinhos unmarked in the area to stroke his shot past Neuer, shortly before the PSG captain limped off injured.
Flick responded by bringing on Alphonso Davies to provide pace on the flanks and moved David Alaba into defensive midfield.
The hosts pulled a goal back when Mueller’s cross was headed past Navas by Choupo-Moting to make it 2-1 at half-time.
Neymar and Mbappe had efforts saved off the line, while Leroy Sane went close at the other end for Bayern as both teams had their chances after the break.
Bayern then equalised when Mueller nodded in a superb Joshua Kimmich free-kick on the hour.
However, the wintry night in Munich belonged to Mbappe, who showed his class by turning Bayern defender Jerome Boateng inside and out before driving his shot past Neuer with 22 minutes left. Bayern went down fighting as Alaba and Mueller both fired agonisingly wide in the dying stages.
Neymar banned for two league games
The Brazilian forward was given two yellow cards, the second for a late push on Tiago Djalo, who was also dismissed.
Neymar also tried to confront Djalo again in the hallway leading to the dressing rooms.
He will miss Saturday’s game at Strasbourg and the match against struggling Saint-Etienne on April 18.
Chelsea down Porto
A classy goal from Mason Mount on Wednesday helped Chelsea to a 2-0 first-leg win over Porto, whose wasteful finishing could have scuppered their hopes of springing another Champions League upset in the quarter-finals.
Mount’s slick turn and shot in the first half would have been painful enough for Porto, who were the better side for large spells of this first leg in Seville but repeatedly lacked the precision to take advantage.
Instead, their misery was compounded by Ben Chilwell capitalising on a mistake at the back to score a late second that gave Chelsea another away goal and leaves them on the brink of the semi-finals.