August 19 – It took them 110 games in the competition stretching back several years to get this far.
But at last Paris St Germain have reached their first ever Champions League final following a convincing 3-0 win over RB Leipzig on Tuesday in what was the biggest game so far for their Qatari owners.
Several thousand PSG fans converged on the Champs Elysee to celebrate as they set off flares and fireworks, linked arms and chanted though few of them wore facemasks.
Goals from Angel, Marquinhos and Juan Bernat did the damage as PSG, in the semi-finals for the first time since 1995, put paid to Leipzig to move to within one win of finally capturing the top prize in European club football. They will play either five-time champion Bayern Munich or compatriots Lyon in Sunday’s final.
Thomas Tuchel, whose team needed two last-gasp goals to end Atalanta’s brave fight in the previous round, heaped praise on his players who for once looked composed on the major stage, something they have lacked in recent seasons.
“Incredible, that’s why we’re here to play in the final and to win,” the German coach, who used to be in charge of Borussia Dortmund and could now face his former nemesis Bayern, told French broadcaster RMC.
“We showed our quality, our hunger, determination. A good mix which showed we deserved the win. The team showed once again the hunger two win, to play together, to suffer. They made the most of it.”
Having won their qualifying group, then eliminating last season’s beaten finalists Tottenham Hotspur and an experienced Atletico Madrid side in the knockout stages, Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann couldn’t hide his disappointment .
“The feelings of frustration will take a few days to get over,” he admitted. “The attitude of my players was great. We showed character on the pitch, but you have to accept when the opponent is stronger.”
Not everyone outside of the Leipzig fan base will be quite so upset, however. To say that Leipzig has split opinion in Germany is an understatement with the side, bankrolled by the Red Bull energy drink company, having been in the regional fifth tier of German football only a decade ago.
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