Thursday, November 29, 2018 6:38 am
Paris St Germain (PSG) revived their UEFA Champions League campaign with a 2-1 win over Liverpool in Group C on Wednesday.
It was a result which left the English club’s hopes of reaching the last 16 hanging in the balance.
PSG set out like a team determined finally to prove their credentials on the big European stage, and went in front in the 13th minute through Juan Bernat.
Neymar made it 2-0 eight minutes before halftime after a lightning PSG counter-attack.
Yet with the French champions in cruise control, Angel Di Maria needlessly brought down Sadio Mane to concede a penalty kick.
James Milner converted it in first-half stoppage time to give Liverpool hope.
The visitors could not find an equaliser, though, slipping to a third away group defeat.
It was the first time they have lost all three group matches away from Anfield in the UEFA Champions League.
The result sees PSG leapfrog Liverpool, with eight points to Liverpool’s six, with Napoli top of the group on nine and everything still to play for in the final round of matches.
Liverpool head into the game against Napoli at Anfield needing to win 1-0 or by two goals or more to guarantee their spot in the knockout stages.
PSG will go through with a win over Red Star Belgrade.
Desperate to make an impression on the European stage, PSG were handed a pre-match boost with both Neymar and Kylian Mbappe passed fit to play.
They have not reached a UEFA Champions League semi-final since 1995.
The duo of Mbappe and Neymar caused the Liverpool backline plenty of problems from the start.
Goalkeeper Alisson was forced into a smart save to deny Di Maria and Mbappe then fired straight at the Brazilian.
Bernat then danced into the Liverpool box after pouncing on Virgil van Dijk’s poor clearance to break the deadlock.
After Mbappe and Neymar combined down the left, the Frenchman squared for Edinson Cavani, whose effort was saved only for Neymar to convert the rebound.
He thus became the top-scoring Brazilian in UEFA Champions League history in the process.
After Milner got Liverpool back into the game, the old PSG might have let the setback get into their heads.
They have suffered plenty of UEFA Champions League disappointments against high calibre opposition.
Yet they stood firm as Liverpool pressed after the break and came closest to scoring again, when a bullet header from Marquinhos was brilliantly saved by Alisson.(Reuters/NAN)