an insipid performance and signs of hope

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Anxious and distressing since the start of 2023, Paris Saint-Germain had a great opportunity to calm their chronic anxiety on the occasion of the knockout stages of the Champions League. At the Parc des Princes, Christophe Galtier’s men welcomed Bayern Munich, leader of the Bundesliga and already executioner of the Parisians in the final of the 2020 edition. despite everything, an ambition. That of responding to the fiery anger of Ile-de-France supporters, tired of the level of play offered in recent weeks.

PSG dominated in all areas of the game!

Lined up in 4-4-2 at kick-off with Gianluigi Donnarumma in goal, PSG started this clash with a four-man defense: Achraf Hakimi, Marquinhos, Sergio Ramos and Nuno Mendes. In the midfield, Danilo, preferred to Vitinha, accompanied Marco Verratti while the young Warren Zaire-Emery, author of a new precocity record, and Carlos Soler occupied the wings. In front, Lionel Messi and Neymar were associated. Carried by a public as worried as excited, the club of the capital lived, unfortunately, a complicated start. Dominating from the first seconds, the teammates of Kingsley Coman, organized in 3-4-3, quickly pressed the accelerator and Eric Choupo-Moting, another former Parisian house, fired the first strike of this meeting.

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Video: Sergio Ramos cracks and jostles a photographer after PSG-Bayern

The tone of this shock was set and Paris, in agony, no longer managed to get out of this Munich pressure. Symbol of a collective in perdition, the service performed by Marco Verratti (13 balloons lost, only one recovered). Back after a nightmarish start to the year 2023, marked by injuries and suspensions, the Italian midfielder ran a lot in the void or at the wrong time. Apathetic, he ended up losing his lucidity and no longer controlling much in the face of Bavarian circles. If Danilo Pereira was trying to close the gaps, the lack of experience of a voluntary Warren Zaire-Emery did not help PSG. Taken by the formidable Bavarian midfield duo, made up of Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich, evening captain, not to mention the XXL performances of Dayot Upamecano and Matthijs De Ligt, the reigning French champion thus never found himself in position to attack. At least for the first 60 minutes of this match.

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A diminished group, an affected mind?

“We had a difficult hour of play against a team that deprived us of the ball, which had a big possession, which came to rush us. We expected it, on our starting lineup there was not much depth so we suspected that they were going to come and press us very high. It was. We could have hoped for more animation on the sides compared to our sides, unfortunately Achraf Hakimi was very quickly reduced during the first period. Then there may be a question of timing, just when we are preparing the changes (in the second half) and Kylian was going to be able to enter, we take this goal. It’s damaging, even if Bayern would have deserved to score during this hour of play., recognized, in this sense, Christophe Galtier in a press conference. Saved several times by a Sergio Ramos up to the challenge, the capital club still retains its chances before moving to the lawn of the Allianz Arena. The fault, too, of a sometimes sluggish and fragile Bayern Munich.

“The last 25 minutes give hope. I hope we can recover players and freshness in three weeks. I am thinking of the midfielder, of Nordi Mukiele, of Kim (Kimpembe) who only played one half. Tonight there is no eliminated, no qualified, that’s the reality. There will be a match to play in three weeks, if we have the ability to play it like the last 25-30 minutes, we can hope to win at Bayern. Winning at Bayern can take you to penalties or qualifying. I have a lot of hopes. We had a discussion in the locker room with my players.launched in this perspective the Parisian coach, also aware of the contribution of Kylian Mbappé during the last 30 minutes. “Afterwards we had 25-30 quite interesting minutes with a lot more speed, depth, connection between each other. I went back to an organization where the players have more benchmarks. Kylian’s contribution and the associations with Ney and Leo have brought. The participation of Nuno Mendes too, unfortunately we could not have the same thing on the right. Marqui was a little touched too, he had to grit his teeth on his side. We had two or three situations, unfortunately that wasn’t enough. So”.

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Kylian Mbappé, the guide of a confused PSG!

Stunned, without being knocked out, PSG also intends to strike a blow in Bavarian lands. Symbol of this determination? The union seen, at the end of the match, between the Parisian players and the supporters promising not to let them go. High ambitions also perceptible in everyone’s speech. “The grounds for hope? We only lost 1-0, there are no more away goals, if we play our attacking football and we put them in difficulty and we score once, it’s a draw, then you have to play with what you have in your pants to go and win the qualification there. All together we will be able to do something good if we work hard. We are not at all beaten down, we still have every chance to qualify.said Mbappé, back to competition.

“It was a hard-fought game. In the first half, we played too low, we were too defensive, it was a very difficult, very complicated match. I am very disappointed for the supporters, but they were there. We will have to have more character on the way back, more verticality”admitted Sergio Ramos while Danilo Pereira was already launching the round of 16 second leg: “We had a good match, but Bayern were a bit superior. We are going to Munich to win this game. It’s possible on the return, we have a big team, a big collective, we shouldn’t be afraid to be more offensive. We were very good in the last 15 minutes with Kylian. Too shy in front of its audience, PSG will indeed have to show a completely different face in front of the 75,000 spectators gathered at the Allianz Arena on March 8, at the risk of suffering another major disappointment on the European scene.

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