PSG routs RB Leipzig 3-0, reaches Champions League final (VIDEO) - Sports Illustrated

PSG Reaches First Champions League Final After Rout of RB Leipzig

Author:
Updated:
Original:

For the first time in its 50-year history, PSG is headed to the Champions League final.

Goals from Marquinhos, Angel Di Maria and Juan Bernat put PSG in full command of the club's semifinal vs. RB Leipzig and guided the Ligue 1 champion to a 3-0 victory Tuesday in Lisbon, Portugal.

Both sides advanced with dramatic 2-1 quarterfinal victories, with PSG scoring twice after the 90th minute to stun Atalanta, while RB Leipzig advanced on the strength of Tyler Adams's 88th-minute goal vs. Atletico Madrid. The latter was arguably the most significant goal ever scored on the European club stage by an American.

Adams began on the bench again for Leipzig despite his heroics, with manager Julian Nagelsmann opting for a nearly unchanged starting lineup. PSG's Thomas Tuchel made some significant changes, though, with goalkeeper Keylor Navas out injured, replaced by Sergio Rico, and Kylian Mbappe and Di Maria back in the XI. Mbappe was limited to half an hour off the bench vs. Atalanta as he returned from an ankle injury, while Di Maria was suspended for the quarterfinal.

Leipzig fired the first warning shot, and it came through a former PSG product, Christopher Nkunku. The Paris-are native had a chance with his back to goal, turning and firing only to have it blocked and have the ball land harmlessly in Rico's waiting hands in the third minute.

PSG's first good chance went off the post. Mbappe played Neymar through down the left, and the Brazilian, who missed a pair of gilt-edged chances vs. Atalanta in the quarterfinal, toed his shot off the far post.

PSG then had a goal taken off the board. Neymar blocked a clearance attempt by RB Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi, and it fell right for Mbappe, who finished into the vacated net. Neymar was judged to have blocked it with his arm, though, and there was little hesitation in waving the goal off.

It seemed like a matter of time until PSG opened the scoring, and indeed the opener came in the 13th minute. Di Maria's free kick found Marquinhos in the center of the box, and the Brazilian, who scored the 90th-minute equalizer vs. Atalanta, headed home to make it 1-0.

PSG maintained the pressure, with Mbappe being played through by Ander Herrera only to have his chance blocked by a sliding Gulacsi.

RB Leipzig had a golden chance to equalize in the 25th minute after breaking in behind PSG's high defensive line. Konrad Laimer broke down the right-hand side before cutting back for Yussuf Poulsen. The Danish forward put his chance wide of the post, though, keeping it 1-0.

Neymar nearly made it 2-0 off a cheeky free kick. Stationed on the right-hand side, some 30 yards out, Neymar caught Gulacsi cheating away from the post and tried to bend one inside of it, only to have his chance bounce off the woodwork for the second time on the day.

That 2-0 lead came minutes later. Gulacsi gave the ball away trying to play it out of the back, and Neymar touched it for Di Maria, who added a goal to his earlier assist and padded the advantage just before halftime.

It could've easily been 3-0 before half had Neymar not put a first-time chance off Mbappe's cross wide of the right post after a clinical counterattack.

Leipzig was the more aggressive of the two sides coming out of the halftime break, with Nagelsmann's substitutes, Emil Forsberg and Patrik Schick, making an immediate impact in allowing the club to gain more control.

That control didn't last long. PSG made it 3-0 through Juan Bernat in the 56th minute, with the fullback's header trickling over the goal line just before an acrobatic Neymar came flying through to be sure. It was upheld after a VAR check, with Bernat played onside by Nordi Mukiele, who had remained down and clamored for a foul call that never came.

Adams came on in the 64th minute for Leipzig, making a bit of American history in the Champions League by becoming the first since DaMarcus Beasley (PSV Eindhoven, 2004-2005) to play in a semifinal in the competition.

RB Leipzig still went in search of a lifeline, and one nearly came from Angelino, who fired from long range at Rico. The goalkeeper spilled the rebound, but center back Presnel Kimpembe was first to it, able to clear before Leipzig could pounce.

As if it weren't a good enough day for PSG, the club also welcomed back Marco Verratti from injury as an 83rd-minute substitute, a good indication that he'll be ready for a larger role in Sunday's final.

**********

Here were the lineups for both teams:

PSG will face either Lyon or Bayern Munich in the final at Benfica's Estadio da Luz.