A Neymar – Mbappé twirling duo, a thunderous start to the match, a share of success: here are the elements that could help Paris SG to defeat Bayern Munich on Wednesday evening, in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. In September 2017, these three ingredients were together, and it gave a slap in the face, at the Parc des princes (3-0), for the Bavarian ogre. Back in five points on this dream evening, by its result, but perfectible, too.
If the history which links Paris SG to the Champions League is as multiple as it is complex, especially since the Qatari era, an irremovable variant resists: Paris shines, very regularly, in the group stage of C1.
Thus, since the 2011-2012 season, Barcelona, Liverpool, Real Madrid and… Bayern Munich have already fallen at the Parc des Princes. However, the pressure of the result of a direct elimination in a formula of home and away matches had given way to the challenge of a first place in the group to be conquered and made these results and their approaches to the European spring incomparable. But the implementation of its rendering deserves to be reconsidered.
Among the ideas to draw from this golden evening, there is this imposed tempo from the first minutes of the match. In this case, this intensity was materialized by the first goal of the match, very early, scored by Dani Alves (2 ‘). “The opening of the quick score changed the face of the match”, had conceded Carlo Ancelotti, the Bavarian coach at the time, in a press conference.
However, by scoring quickly, Paris SG had given up to their advantage and left possession of the ball to Bayern. “Of course, when we score quickly, we tend to retreat on the ground, but from there to be cornered during a half and operate in counter-attack…”, was surprised the former PSG player and RMC Sport consultant Jérôme Rothen. “Our tactic was the right one”, welcomed the Parisian midfielder Marco Verratti.
But if this strategy turned out to be the right one, it is also thanks to a shocking attacking trio: Mbappé, Cavani and Neymar, the “MCN”. “Mbappé was good, inspired, decisive, besides that, there was a good Neymar and a good Cavani. This triplet worked very well, it was the most of Paris SG ”, thus deciphered Jérôme Rothen.
Decisive passer on Dani Alves ‘first goal, after a rush on the left side, Neymar was at the conclusion of the third Parisian goal (3-0, 63’), initiated by a Kylian Mbappé who, earlier, had been a passer decisive for Cavani on a clinical counterattack (2-0, 31 ‘). “It is certain that they are high level players …”, regretted Carlo Ancelotti.
Since September 2017, Edinson Cavani has entered the history books of Paris SG, becoming its best pyrotechnist, but is no longer Parisian. But a feat of the capital club will necessarily require a very good performance from both Kylian Mbappé and Neymar.
If Paris had managed to get out without taking a goal, it also owed it, that evening, to an Alphonse Areola of the great evenings. The French international was elected man of the match by the newspaper The team, despite the performance of the attacking trio, involved on every goal, and credited with a score of 8/10. Author of many decisive saves, he had disgusted Robert Lewandowski or Thomas Müller, who had totaled more big missed chances than goal that night. “I had a job tonight. It’s like that in all games, on actions where it happens in front of our surface, I have to be present. Bayern forced us to play a little lower. We responded present, it is the most important ”, commented the current goalkeeper of Fulham (English Premier League).
There is no doubt that Keylor Navas, sparkling and determining since the start of the season, will be just as comfortable. On the Bayern Munich side, Manuel Neuer, absent, had missed his family.
If the score was flattering, Paris SG had, however, not managed the perfect match. “The result should not hide certain shortcomings: Paris SG had shortcomings in the midfield, especially in the defensive withdrawal. Neymar and Mbappé, on the sides, did not work enough defensively, they curled up on their goals, ”contrasted Jérôme Rothen.
But the small doses of offensive and defensive successes had tipped the scales in the right direction tonight in September 2017.
PARIS SG: Areola – Alves, Marquinhos, Silva (c.), Kurzawa – Verratti (Draxler, 89 ‘), Motta (Lo Celso, 86’), Rabiot – Mbappé (Di Maria, 78 ‘), Cavani, Neymar.
BAYERN MUNICH: Ullreich – Kimmich, Süle, Martinez, Alaba – Tolisso (Rudy, 46 ‘), Alcantara, Vidal – Müller (c.) (Robben, 68’), Lewandowski, J. Rodriguez (Coman, 46 ‘).
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