Leipzig – PSG: Paris Saint-Germain will play in its first UEFA Champions League Final after classy Angel Di Maria led the Ligue 1’s best in a waltz past RB Leipzig 3-0 on Tuesday in Portugal.
Di Maria scored off a Neymar flick and set up goals for Marquinhos and Juan Bernat in the easy win.
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PSG will meet league mates Lyon or tournament favorites Bayern Munich in Sunday’s final. Three PSG players will be seeking a third UCL crown: Neymar, Di Maria, and injured keeper Keylor Navas.
Three things we learned from Leipzig – PSG
1. Di Maria claims high status: Manchester United did not see the best of the Argentine, who scored four times with 12 assists in his lone season at Old Trafford, and perhaps that’s colored many fans’ perceptions of the winger.
Tuesday was a reminder of his class, the 32-year-old an absolute artist. First, his free kick service provided Marquinhos’ opener and then he showed his calm in front of goal when he turned Neymar’s flick into a 2-0 halftime lead. His assist to Bernat was icing on the cake. A menace, and one who will bid for a second UCL title.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 18, 2020
2. Americans Abroad: Tyler Adams was the hero of the semifinal with his winner off the bench, but his task to flip the script Tuesday was Herculean in subbing on for Kevin Kampl down three in the 64th minute. The 21-year-old was typically tidy in Leipzig’s defeat while becoming the second American to play in a Champions League semifinal (DaMarcus Beasley in 2005 with PSV Eindhoven).
3. Neymar’s gifts undeniable: Yes, he’s an embellisher of high order and sure, his engineered presence in the transfer rumor mill is not fun, but there are few players on Earth who can conjure the clever quite like Neymar. His flicked assist to Di Maria just before halftime was magnificent and one of several moments of beauty produced by the 28-year-old.
Man of the Match
Di Maria. There is no other option.
The Parisians are running away with it…
Sorry Neymar, that one goes to Bernat 😉 pic.twitter.com/c5o2T3qAid
— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) August 18, 2020
Leipzig – PSG recap
The Parisiens nearly scored twice in the first eight minutes. Mbappe slipped Neymar through for a shot off the far post moments before the Brazilian was whistled for a handball while blocking a Peter Gulacsi goal kick into the path of Mbappe for a finish that would not count.
Leipzig wouldn’t be sparred five minutes later, as Di Maria’s free kick was turned past Gulacsi by the head of Marquinhos.
Down a goal, Julian Nagelsmann’s men found their groove. They earned but missed a dangerous free kick before Konrad Laime missed an in-tight chance off the outside of the net.
Neymar nearly produced the sublime with a viciously-spun free kick toward the near post from way wide and outside the 18, but it just missed the near post.
PSG doubled down off a second error from normally-strong Gulacsi, a wayward pass picked off and fed to Neymar for a great flicked pass that Di Maria passed home for 2-0.
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It took all of 11 minutes for PSG to put it to bed, Nordi Mukiele worked over by XXXX deep in Leipzig territory. A quick cross to the near post was nodded home by Bernat, who was onside because of the prone Mukiele.
Nagelsmann charged his men forward for the final 20 minutes and Angelino forced a save out of Sergio Rico in the 76th.