PSG progress to Champions League semi-final after late drama 1 month ago

PSG progress to Champions League semi-final after late drama

Eric-Maxim Choupo-Madting

For so long it looked like they were going to do it again. From the 26th minute, when Mario Pasalić opened the scoring, until the 90th, when the first of Paris Saint-Germain's two late goals went in, it felt like another vintage Parisian bottling.

Atalanta had executed their game plan to a tee, for a while, and were helped by Neymar generously missing a gilt-edged chance in the opening few minutes. They had nullified PSG for the most part, who were too heavily reliant on Neymar to be creator and finisher.

That was until Kylian Mbappe came on for Pablo Sarabia on the hour mark, still not 100 per cent fit, but at this point, Thomas Tuchel was left with no option.

Mbappe changed the dynamic of the game, offering much more of a threat in behind, allowing Neymar to focus primarily on his role as the conductor. A delicately clipped cross from the eventual match winner Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting led to Marquinhos' equaliser in the 90th minute equalise, at which point the bubble seemed to burst for La Dea. There was no way Atalanta would last another 30 minutes. Or as it turned out, another three.

PSG had the momentum. Atalanta's back three - which had become a back five - were tiring.

And of all people to snatch the winner, it was the former Stoke man to break Atalanta hearts. It was an open goal but we all know he is capable of missing them. He made no much mistake this time though, poking the ball into the gaping net like a dagger through Bergamo hearts.

And so, PSG finally got past the mental block that had held them back for so many years at this stage in the tournament. Meanwhile, Atalanta's fairytale journey to the quarter-finals after losing their first three group games comes to an end. For the people of Bergamo it will feel like another piece of cruel fate after a devastating year - the town has been one of the worst affected in Italy by the coronavirus pandemic.

But they have given Bergamo a reason to be immensely proud of their club, and a season that offered some hope during a depressing time for their home support.