It was a do or die match for Paris Saint-Germain against RB Leipzig in Paris. PSG have been below-par in the Champions League and Ligue1 courtesy of injuries and COVID-19, but despite all those, this season has been the same for all, and the ones who exhibited character and found a way to advance, showed the qualities of a good side. But the runners-up of last season’s Champions League have failed to do such so far.
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) November 24, 2020
Only three matches into their Champions League campaign, the Parisians were walking a thin line and the slightest slip could see their coach, Thomas Tuchel jettisoned. Thankfully, PSG ended the game bagging full points and kept their hopes alive in a group where Manchester United have regained their composure and Leipzig are always a tough nut.
The match at Paris was decided by a penalty, scored by Neymar, and it was a debatable one.
Neymar has now been directly involved in 60 Champions League goals:
– 63 games
– 36 goals
– 24 assists pic.twitter.com/rZ7syyM1N9
— cricketsoccer (@cricketsoccer) November 25, 2020
“I don’t think Paris had a real chance in the game and the penalty was a joke,” Julian Nagelsmann fumed to Sky Germany.
“That decision at Champions League level – that’s really sad. That was a dive, there was zero contact. VAR was probably watching another game.”
“Sometimes nuances make the difference and in the end, it would have been deserved if we had rewarded ourselves. Now we are holding worse cards in the group, we have to win our two games and hope that Paris doesn’t succeed.”
But Tuchel sounded otherwise.
“We lacked luck in Leipzig [they lost 2-1 in the reverse fixture three weeks ago] and tonight we had some luck. We played with a lot of solidarity and defended with a lot of heart.”
“Always together. That’s why we won. I’m not going to apologize for that. The match demanded that we defend deep and we just did what the game demanded of us.”
Neymar also ended his longest Champions League goal drought of 5 games without scoring tonight!
Finally ?? pic.twitter.com/YOklBK1MFU
— Moleque Neymar (@Neymoleque) November 24, 2020
“Tonight it wasn’t possible to get out of pressure with the ball and we have to accept that. I accept it.”
“We want to attack. We’ve done that before. But sometimes it’s just not possible.”
PSG ended the first half with just 37.2 percent possession, their lowest total at half-time in a Champions League game since facing Bayern Munich in September 2017.
It did not get much better after the interval, with Leipzig finishing the game having enjoyed 62 percent possession and taking 15 shots to PSG’s eight.
Tuchel blamed his side’s lackluster performance on injuries and fatigue after a busy start to the season, but he is targeting an improved performance against group leaders Manchester United next week.
“We’ve played 11 league games and four Champions League games, and we’ve had around 100 injuries during that time. I saw that we average seven injured players per game.”
A HUGE win for PSG ?
Neymar and Mbappe knew it, too ? #UCL
— Goal (@goal) November 24, 2020
“We have another game in Manchester next week. I hope we’re able to recover but we have another game on Saturday [against Bordeaux in Ligue 1].”
“Marco Verratti played today practically without having trained. The same for Neymar. That’s the reality. Maybe you think it’s always an excuse.”
“The most difficult thing was to find 11 players who could make a physical impact. We’ll prepare a plan for Manchester. If the players feel better, we’ll play a better match. If we have to defend deep again, then we’ll do that.”
It was a crucial victory for PSG, who moved up to second in Group H, level on points with Leipzig who are third. Both clubs sit three points behind group leaders Manchester United.