Paris Saint-German advanced into the UEFA Champions League semifinal after 2-late goals secured a come-from-behind 2-1 win over debutant Atalanta in the 1st of 4 one-legged quarterfinal matches in Lisbon, Portugal. Mario Pasalic(26') had given the Italian side a surprise lead with a well-placed, left-footed curler just inside the box. However, 2 PSG goals by Marquinhos(90') and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting(90+3') in a space of 149-injury-time seconds undone Atalanta's resilience.
Neymar & Mbappe Turned Up;
Having missed 2 clear cut chances that came his way in the 1st half, PSG's Neymar remained a constant menace to Atalanta's defence all night and the introduction of fit-again Kylian Mbappe with about half an hour left on the clock swayed the game on the head. The 2 world's most expensive players were instrumental with the decisive passes that completed PSG's fightback.
A Sigh Of Relief For Tuchel;
Like his 2 immediate predecessors, PSG boss Thomas Tuchel looked set for another R16/Q8 failure when his team was still trailing Atalanta 0-1 in the 90th minute. Still fresh in his memory was last season's R16 3-3 Agg loss(having held a 2 nil away win advantage) over Manchester United. A defeat would have seen Tuchel loses a back-to-back R16/Q8 UCL tie just like Unai Emery(2016/17-17/18) and Laurent Blanc(2014/15-15/16). However, Tuchel rode his luck as he became the 1st manager to guide PSG to European semifinal in 25 years. PSG's last was a 0-3 Agg loss to AC Milan in 1995 under the tutelage of Luis Miguel Fernández Toledo.
Atalanta Fairy Tale Run Ends;
Atalanta bowed out of the competition with their heads held high. Having already made history by making the group stage, Atlanta went even further by making the Round of 16 having come out of group C ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb to 2nd place behind Manchester City. Then came Atalanta's famous 8-4 Agg win over Spanish side Valencia to make the last 8. It was reported earlier in the week that Neymar's salary is about that of the entire Atalanta squad, i think Gian Piero Gasperini tutored side should be given a pat on the back for coming this far.
Is PSG's year finally here? They patiently await the winner of quarterfinal tie between Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig for a chance in the final.