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PSG stage a stunning comeback against Atalanta to grab CL semi-final ticket

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Paris Saint Germain secured a semi-final ticket for the first time in 25 years after a belligerent turnaround late in the game gave them a 2-1 win over Atalanta.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s 93rd-minute winner secured a truly astonishing comeback for the French side much to the agonising blow Atalanta would have to shake off.

Thomas Tuchel’s side seemed on their way to another painful quarter-final exit after Mario Pasalic gave Atalanta the lead 26 minutes into the game at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon.

Atalanta took the lead into half-time and was on course to secure a famous victory, but PSG leveled through Marquinhos and as the game entered stoppage time, former Stoke City forward Choupo-Moting sealed the victory with a breathless finish as the French champions snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

Paris Saint Germain will next face either RB Leipzig or Atletico Madrid at the Estadio Jose Alvalade for a place in the final 11 days from now.

Read more: Champions League quarter-final: Can Atalanta defy the odds and defeat Paris Saint Germain?

Watch the match highlights below

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQkTC23VM-g

 

Atalanta also known as ‘La Dea’ scored 98 goals in the Serie A last season. They put seven past three different opponents, and they created their first chance against PSG after just three minutes.

Duvan Zapata found Alejandro Gomez with a sleeky pass but his shot was saved by Keylor Navas.

Tuchel’s side looked match rusty and were lacking sharpness as the Ligue 1 got canceled. Only the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue provided any match preparation for the French champions. Their lack of match sharpness showed moments later as Neymar was set clean through on goal but fluffed his shot well wide.

PSG’s clearly suffer mentally as the thought of crashing out at the Champions League quarter-finals stage seems to have hauntied them as Gian Piero Gasperini’s men nearly went ahead when Hans Hateboer met Gomez’s cross to force Navas into another fine one-handed save after 12 minutes.

Atalanta’s aggression and level of unpredictability was on show as a former Chelsea midfielder, Pasalic, duly steered them in front.

Neymar, despite showing glimmers of brilliance missed yet another glorious opportunity to draw PSG level before the break as he latched onto Hateboer’s poor backpass and skies his effort wide.

See also: Champions League: Atletico Madrid confirms two coronavirus cases ahead of Thursday’s tie

Tuchel, on his crutches, marched swiftly down the tunnel at half-time knowing his side needed massive improvement upon the restart.

But PSG didn’t threaten much for large parts of the second period as Atalanta almost doubled their lead when Remo Freuler’s cross was flicked on by Pasalic for Berat Djimsiti to slice his effort wide.

Kylian Mbappe, on his introduction, made an instant impact on the hour-mark as he forced a smart save by Marco Sportiello after he took Leandro Paredes’ pass.

Atalanta’s back three was increasingly becoming a back five as Tuchel brought on Choupo-Moting with 10 minutes to play at the same time that Sergio Rico came on for Navas who was forced off with an injury.

As soon as the fourth official indicated five additional minutes, PSG sprung into life as Chupo-Moting’s cross found Neymar onside at the far post, and his brilliant control and cutback allowed Marquinhos to equal after a deflection off Mattia Caldara.

Atalanta’s Remo Freuler who suffered an injury earlier gave PSG ideas as the French champions made the extra man count 149 seconds later as Kylian Mbappe found Choupo-Moting to complete the most unlikely of comebacks.

Thomas Tuchel heaved a sigh of relief after the blast of the final whistle and he very well knows how vital it is for Mbappe to be fit for the forthcoming semi-final as fifty-six percent of PSG’s shots in the match came in the 30 minutes Mbappe was on the pitch, with no player having more attempts on target than the Frenchman.

Stats and  facts from the match (backed by Opta)

  • Paris Saint-Germain have reached the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since the 1994-95 campaign.
  • Excluding games that went to extra-time, Atalanta are the fourth team to be leading a Champions League game coming into the 90th minute and lose, after Bayern Munich v Man Utd (1998-99 final), Chelsea v Bayern Munich (2004-05 quarter-final) and Malaga v Borussia Dortmund (2012-13 quarter-final).
  • There were just two minutes and 29 seconds between PSG’s equalising and winning goals.
  • Atalanta have scored the opening goal in seven different Champions League games this season, more than any other side in the competition.
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