“Paris Saint-Germain eased to a 3-0 win over RB Leipzig in Lisbon to reach their first-ever Champions League final and remain on course for an unprecedented quadruple and they owe a lot to Neymar”

 

If any Football club in Europe received more backlashes than their respective Governments and political decisions, then the French club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) is definitely right up there.

Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the ruler of Qatar, has been PSG’s owner since 2011 through state-owned shareholding organization Qatar Sports Investments (QSI). PSG are one of only two state-owned clubs in the world, along with Manchester City. As a result, PSG are also one of the richest clubs in the world. And for which, the exhibition of money has often dominated the news rather than footballing displays.

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They buy big names of world football, but in the end, at Europe’s top competitions, they have been a big failure and thus the backlash was evident.

When Neymar joined the club back in that eventful season 0f 2017-18, Camp Nou was frustrated whereas the Brazil fans, immediately, tagged as a wrong move – surely someone like Neymar does not suit in a club and Ligue 1, whose quality remains below-par!

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And, the fans begun to experience their worst fears – Neymar seemed to have lost his cutting-edge. His whims, injuries, clash with Cavani and return-to-Barcelona-hype hinted, the club at Paris is scripting his downfall. While the world was still looking for the star of next-generation – Neymar was lost in the forest of France – watching the world bashing and making fun of him!

Oh yes, Kylian Mbappe was there!

But when it mattered the most, Mbappe choked along with PSG in the UEFA Champions League.

PSG would return to Ligue 1 and demolish everyone – sadly, none even bothered what they were doing.

Meanwhile, Neymar decided to take things seriously.

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Enough of histrionics, party, controversy, ego, and injuries.

The time has come to show his real abilities.

In this season’s Champions League, the world started to experience the Neymar, who could run a show all his own.

He proved that against Borussia Dortmund and Atalanta and in the historic semifinal against RB Leipzig, his influence was evident, yet again!

Julian Nagelsmann has been an inspirational figure in Europe this season. At such a young age he has achieved a lot and last night he was just a few steps away from history.

He loves to build from the back and thus his three center-backs: Mukiele, Upamecano, and Kolsterman set the tempo.

Upamecano had a fantastic game against the stubborn Atletico Madrid in the quarterfinals. He was the man who had been given the task to halt Neymar.

The front three of PSG – Angel Di Maria on the right, Kylian Mbappe on the left and Neymar in the center pressed forward and a tad narrow.

Neymar pressed Upamecano and advanced beyond to put the goalkeeper Gulasci under pressure as well. Moreover, Neymar was using his cover shadow to prevent Upamecano to dictate play from the back.

This forced Upamecano to move in the midfield and pushed Sabitzer higher so that Paredes could face a 1 vs 2 situations and cannot pass the ball to Neymar, who was wandering at the center after being free from Upamecano.

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With Neymar fully occupying center, RB Leipzig targeted the flanks, where the opposite full-backs were supposed to press their free roles – but it Herrera, who pushed himself wider to press them. No sooner had the ball went to Angelino, Herrera would run and press.

The pressing forced Upamecano to remain high up the pitch and form the double pivot with Kampl. Di Maria and Mbappe kept the other two center-backs checked.

Neymar was free.

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Leipzig full-back passed the ball wide to Gulacsi and Neymar blocked his clearance.  Mbappe thumped on the half-volley. Had Neymar not been guilty of a handball then his early intelligence to push Upamecano high-up would have paid rich dividends.

But he was not finished yet.

Neymar and Di Maria played a short-corner and Lamier halted an attempted topskip from Neymar.

PSG won a free-kick courtesy of Neymar.

Di Maria curled a wicked cross from which an unmarked Marquinhos guided a brilliant header home!

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Up in front, Neymar persisted with his plan to outweigh Upamecano, who was forced to form a pivot in the midfield. Di Maria was pressing Gulacsi. Herrera intercepted the wider passes and Paredes grabbed the opportunity to carry on the ball after Gulcasi made a mistake.

The ball fizzed to Neymar, who delicately passed to Di Maria – PSG were 2-0 up thanks to the influence of Neymar.

Before that, Neymar hit the woodwork –  it was not a poor miss, but rather a wonderful effort. From a free-kick. Neymar caught Gulacsi cold by going for goal with a curling effort, but the woodwork came to Leipzig’s rescue. Again, in the sixth minute, Neymar was put through one-on-one with Gulacsi by Mbappe but prodded his effort against the upright.

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In front of the goal, the Brazilian superstar remained unconvincing, but that did not hamper his spirits to dictate the game from the front and midfield.

Leipzig’s game flew through Kampl in the center and Angelino in the wider area.

PSG were in an attacking mood and that led their defence leaving spaces behind.

Leipzig advanced forward through Kampl and noticing this, Neymar dropped deeper in between the lines with Mbappe following his moves while Di Maria occupying his usual position. PSG keeper Rico would target Neymar and throw the ball straight to him or when Neymar passing lanes were cut-off, Rico would send it to Mbappe.

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The movement of Neymar in the spaces between the high midfield and frontline disturbed Kampl who more often passed to Sabitzer. Sabitzer was pressed by Paredes and Bernat. He lost possession to a deeper Paredes and while to press him, left spaces for Neymar, which never allowed the Leipzig back to settle down.

Sabitzer left spaces behind and Neymar occupied that allowing Bernat to advance higher.

The PSG midfield noticed it and passed the ball to Neymar, who dragged the Leipzig markers towards him providing freedom for others.

The third goal was around the corner.

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Leipzig relied on their fluidity and were caught in the transition which led to a PSG counterattack in the second half – Moments after Gulsaci denied Di Maria, Nordi Mukiele slipped trying to dribble up the right. Mukiele was still appealing in vain for a foul when the ball came into the RB Leipzig area for Juan Bernat, PSG’s left-back, to head past Gulasci.

Angel Di Maria was the Man of the Match and it was a deserving, but one cannot deny the influence of Neymar who played a mental game with the Leipzig center-backs and markers to create opportunities for himself and others.

The boy from Brazil is showing his true colours.

Paris Saint-Germain eased to a 3-0 win over RB Leipzig in Lisbon to reach their first-ever Champions League final and remain on course for an unprecedented quadruple and they owe a lot to Neymar.