Friday 18 September, 2020

PSG advance to Champions League semifinals with two late goals

PSG's Neymar, left, celebrates with Kylian Mbappe after teammate Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored his team's second goal during the Champions League quarterfinal match against Atalanta at Luz stadium, Lisbon, Portugal, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. (David Ramos/Pool Photo via AP).

PSG's Neymar, left, celebrates with Kylian Mbappe after teammate Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored his team's second goal during the Champions League quarterfinal match against Atalanta at Luz stadium, Lisbon, Portugal, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. (David Ramos/Pool Photo via AP).

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) produced a stunning late turnaround to beat Atalanta 2-1 and reach the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 1995.

Mario Pasalic's first-half strike had looked set to settle a contest in Lisbon that will be remembered for a series of first-half misses from Neymar, the worst of which came when through on goal in the third minute.

Thomas Tuchel's side dominated large spells but looked short of sharpness after playing few games in the past five months, even following Kylian Mbappe's introduction from the bench after he shook off an ankle injury.

However, Marquinhos prodded home a fortuitous equaliser in the 90th minute before Neymar and Mbappe combined to set up Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to become the unlikely hero and break Atalanta hearts.

Keylor Navas saved from Alejandro Gomez but it was Neymar who missed the best of the early chances, combining brilliantly with Mauro Icardi only to skew a finish well wide with the goal at his mercy. 

Navas then produced two outstanding stops to keep out headers from Hans Hateboer and Mattia Caldara, although the latter had been in an offside position. 

Neymar created another opening only to fail to take advantage, but Pasalic made no mistake 27 minutes in, curling a first-time finish past Navas after the ball deflected into his path off Duvan Zapata. 

Neymar had become the only PSG player looking likely to score and yet was the reason they went into half-time behind, the Brazil star dancing his way through and rifling wide and then blazing over after an errant backpass from Hateboer. 

Berat Djmisiti flashed a shot wide following a set-piece before Tuchel turned to Mbappe with just over half an hour remaining and then threw on Julian Draxler as desperation grew. 

Mbappe drilled a shot straight at Marco Sportiello and Neymar did likewise after another mazy run, and a brilliant challenge from Jose Luis Palomino denied Mbappe from close range. 

Just as Atalanta seemed to have done enough for another famous victory, Neymar turned a deep cross into Marquinhos' path and he finished via the knee of Caldara. 

And 149 seconds later, Neymar released Mbappe into the area, the France striker drilled the ball across the box and Choupo-Moting slid in to send PSG into the last four to face RB Leipzig or Atletico Madrid.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: