Paris Saint-Germain v Bayern Munich. 14th February 2023. Parc des Princes, Paris. This Valentine’s Day story in the City of Love would have a heartbreaking end for millions of Parisians, as they would see their side cruelly denied a late equaliser after Kylian Mbappé found the back of the net.
The Frenchman was a shock inclusion in Christophe Galtier’s squad, though he was deemed fit enough to make the bench on his return from injury.
After a moment of silence to commemorate the lives lost in Turkiye and Syria, the game got underway – and it was Bayern who got off on the strong foot. Pavard had a chance to replicate his 2018 World Cup wonderstrike early on, after Nuno Mendes’ clearance found him on the edge of the box – but the Frenchman’s strike was sent wide of the goal.
Jamal Musiala found himself through on goal after being played in by a fantastic through ball from Pavard, but Sergio Ramos’ strength was enough to keep the young attacking midfielder from attempting the shot – instead forcing the ball wide for a corner.
Coman sent a curling cross towards Choupo-Moting at the far post, but the striker’s header deflected off Nuno Mendes – flying just wide of the post, but Bayern would soon have yet another chance to open the scoring as Musiala broke into the box. That chance was forced wide by Verratti.
The best chance of the first half came in the dying minutes, as Kimmich drilled home a low shot from the edge of the box – though Donnarumma was able to dive and match it to keep his side level at the break.
16-year-old Warren Zaïre-Emery managed to get the better of Alphonso Davies down the right flank, sending a cross in towards Neymar – but Dayot Upamecano’s touch sent the ball out for a rare PSG corner.
It was Kingsley Coman who would find the back of the net first – with the Frenchman sending the ball under Donnarumma, having received it from Davies on the left wing. In hindsight, the Italian keeper should have done better.
Musiala cut the ball back to Eric Choupo-Moting as the Germans sought to double their lead – but the striker’s first-time effort was tipped over by Donnarumma to deny Bayern a second goal.
Mbappé thought he’d found the breakthrough for his side in the 73rd minute when he found the back of the net from close range, having hammered home Neymar’s rebounded effort – but the Frenchman was miles offside and the goal was quickly disallowed.
Perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be for Mbappé, who would go on to have another goal disallowed – this time by VAR after firing Nuno Mendes’ cross past Yann Sommer. However, replays showed that Mendes was fractionally offside, and as such the equaliser was ruled out!
PSG certainly gave the Bayern defence plenty of work to do in the dying minutes, and while they may not have found the goal they were looking for, they did see Benjamin Pavard dismissed for a second yellow card after dragging down Messi unnecessarily.
The return fixture is set to be an absolute cracker, as Bayern look to preserve their lead and progress to the quarterfinals. PSG won’t give up easily though, and Christophe Galtier will look to see his sider overcome the deficit on the road, when they make the trip to Munich on March 8th.