UEFA Champions League

Neymar masterclass helps PSG into Champions League semi-final

Publish on 14/04/2021 at 12:00 - L. DAVEY

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A Neymar-inspired Paris Saint-Germain scraped through to the last four of the Champions League on the away goals rule despite a 1-0 defeat on the night to Bayern Munich.

PSG took a slender 3-2 lead into last night’s encounter but former PSG striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting bundled home just before half time leaving the tie on a knife edge. The French champions held their nerve and advanced to a second consecutive semi-final on the away goals rule after the tie ended 3-3 on aggregate.

Dazzling

The Brazilian was back to his dazzling best after an injury layoff and justified his world-record transfer fee. Despite his man of the match performance, Neymar squandered a number of guilt-edged opportunities to finish the tie and vowed that he will not be as wasteful in the semi-final.

Neymar said: “I missed a little, but the most important thing is that we are qualified, and I am very happy. PSG is a great team. We’re in the semi-finals and now we’re aiming higher. I warned mister {Pochettino} that I would score goals in the semi-final.”

Extension a done deal?

On his contract negotiations, Neymar appeared to confirm that an agreement is imminent in a post-match interview with broadcaster TNT Sports Brazil. He said: “The contract extension with PSG is no longer a topic. I feel very comfortable and at home here. I feel happier than before.”

PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino could not hide his delight at full time saying: “I’m really happy, the players deserve it. The players and the staff have suffered a lot over the last year, losing the final. They deserve massive credit, I’m so happy for them.”

Al-Khelaifi lays down the gauntlet

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi admitted that “growth and experience” was the key to their hard-fought two-legged victory over Bayern Munich and has now challenged the team to go on and win their first Champions League trophy.

It was a thrilling end-to-end game that neither side deserved to lose and although Al-Khelaifi confessed that PSG “suffered” at times, Les Rouge et Bleu, spearheaded by Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Angel Di Maria put the reigning European champions under the cosh.

Paris Saint-Germain will face either Manchester City or Borussia Dortmund for a place in the final in Istanbul in May.