CL: PSG spoil Atalanta dream in stoppages
Atalanta saw their Champions League stamped on in stoppages, as after Mario Pasalic had put them in front, PSG scored twice in injury time to knock them out of the quarter-final.
La Dea were in their first ever Champions League campaign, yet already in the quarter-finals against PSG, a side who spent more on one player than it cost to put the entire Atalanta team together. Neymar’s salary alone is more than the Bergamo side’s entire wage bill.
Josip Ilicic and goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini were unavailable, so Marco Sportiello and Mario Pasalic stepped in. Marco Verratti and Layvin Kurzawa were injured, Angel Di Maria suspended, Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier already left the club. Kylian Mbappé was only fit enough for the bench after badly spraining his ankle. Curiously, even coach Thomas Tuchel was injured, having fractured a bone in his foot.
Although Papu Gomez had the first shot on goal, Neymar missed an absolute sitter within three minutes, as he ran through clear beyond defenders only to prod wide one-on-one with Sportiello.
Keylor Navas performed a stunning one-handed save on Hans Hateboer’s header into the ground at the back post, on a chipped Gomez pass. On the resulting corner, Navas was again spectacular on Mattia Caldara, but the offside flag was up.
Neymar was in more of a free role and given freedom to roam, but his pull back across the face of goal was not understood by Mauro Icardi.
Atalanta broke the deadlock with Mario Pasalic, as Duvan Zapata’s pass was intercepted, but the ricochet fell kindly for the Croatian, who curled a left-foot finish from just inside the box into the far top corner, bending it around Navas.
Moments later, Neymar nutmegged Pasalic to cut inside and drill inches wide from the D, while Pablo Sarabia ran into acres of space down the left and rolled across, but again Icardi didn’t get there for the tap-in.
Hans Hateboer got away with an awful back-pass straight at Neymar, as the Brazilian hoofed it into the stands, again getting it all wrong when one-on-one.
After the restart, Marten de Roon blasted not far wide from distance, as did Berat Djimsiti after a free kick was knocked down for his volley from 10 yards.
There were changes on the hour mark, Mbappé thrown on for Sarabia, while Papu Gomez limped off for Ruslan Malinovskyi with an injury. Keylor Navas went down with an injury too, but after several minutes of treatment with Sergio Rico ready, decided to stay on.
Mbappé sprinted down the left to force a save with Sportiello’s legs at the near post, but Neymar and Mbappé scuffed their finishes into the arms of the goalkeeper.
Navas eventually did limp off and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting nodded a corner over the bar, but Remo Freuler had to carry on in the final minutes with heavy strapping, as all the substitutions had been completed.
At the 90th minute, Neymar sprung the offside trap and rolled across for Marquinhos to get the tap-in from five yards, as PSG equalised right at the death.
Atalanta were visibly exhausted and PSG scored another almost identical goal in stoppages. Mbappé again got down the left and pulled back for Choupo-Moting to tap in.
Muriel had the chance to equalise with practically the last kick of the game, sprinting into the box, but couldn’t turn properly and ran out of pitch.
Atalanta 1-2 PSG
Pasalic 27 (A), Marquinhos 90 (P), Choupo-Moting 93 (P)
Atalanta: Sportiello; Toloi, Caldara, Djimsiti (Palomino 60); Hateboer, De Roon, Freuler, Gosens (Castagne 82); Gomez (Malinovskyi 60), Pasalic (Muriel 70); Duvan Zapata (Da Riva 82)
PSG: Navas (Sergio Rico 79); Kehrer, Thiago Silva, Kimpembe, Bernat; Herrera (Paredes 72), Marquinhos, Gueye (Draxler 72); Neymar, Icardi (Choupo-Moting 79), Sarabia (Mbappé 60)
Ref: Taylor (ENG). (By Italia Football)