Champions League: Bayern puts PSG on brink thanks to an overlooked Parisian

Kingsley Coman of Bayern Munich celebrates with teammates his team's first goal during the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich at the Parc des Princes in Paris, France .  , Tuesday, February 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Bayern’s Kingsley Coman celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s first goal during the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich at the Parc des Princes in Paris, France, Tuesday, February 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Over the past decade, Paris Saint-Germain has spent over $1 billion chasing glory in the UEFA Champions League. He paid ridiculous sums for the biggest names in the sport and went through expensive striker after expensive striker in search of the biggest prize in men’s club football. But his trophy box remains empty, and his final pursuit is now in danger from one of the many homegrown stars he has overlooked.

Neymar, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe lost on Tuesday in the first leg of the glamorous Round of 16 clash with Bayern Munich.

And Kingsley Coman, who spent a decade at PSG as a teenager, punished them. He scored the only goal in a wavering game at the Parc des Princes and, along with his Bayern mates, pushed his boyhood club to the brink.

PSG will go to Munich with a 1-0 deficit and they need goals to save the season. He leads the French Ligue 1, but domestic success has become a matter of course; the ninth title in 11 years will do nothing to reduce the discontent seething in the club. The Champions League is a competition that judges success and failure. European crown is necessary. And it’s already slipping away.

Mbappe, who returned from a hamstring injury, stepped off the bench to show off Tuesday’s game and give hope. He was denied by marginal offsideand the face of the goalkeeper. However, his galloping runs scared Bayern and could have turned the situation on its head in three weeks, on 8 March, in the second stage.

But Tuesday evening was at Coman’s. He left PSG at the age of 18 after several senior appearances. He had few opportunities buried under senior veterans, so when his contract expired he left to join Juventus. And he never looked back. He later established himself at Bayern. Shortly after Tuesday’s break, he found himself free at the far post and missed a volley under Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Meanwhile in Italy, Milan scored an early goal from Brahim Diaz to win 1-0 over Tottenham Hotspur. Halfway through, both matches hang in the balance and the second legs in Munich and London have everything to play for.

But in the match between Bayern and PSG, the Germans are favored, and the pressure in Paris is mounting.

Champions League online tracker: PSG-Bayern, Milan-Tottenham


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