Soccer

PSG defeats Dortmund to reach Champions League quarterfinals

AP

With its fans cheering outside an empty stadium, Paris Saint-Germain finally reached the Champions League quarterfinals again by beating Borussia Dortmund 2-0 on Wednesday.

PSG trailed 2-1 from the first leg in Germany, raising the possibility of a fourth straight elimination in the last-16 stage.

Neymar headed in from a corner in the 28th minute and left back Juan Bernat made it 2-0 just before the break. PSG reached the last eight for the first time since 2016. The club has only reached the semifinals once, in 1995.

Dortmund hardly resembled the side which dominated the first leg, and midfielder Emre Can was sent off near the end after shoving Neymar over.

It led to pushing and shoving from players on each side. Neymar was shown a yellow card as was teammate Angel Di Maria, even though he was off the field.

The match at Parc des Princes was played in an empty stadium because of the coronavirus outbreak. Around 3,000 PSG fans gathered to show their support outside the Parc des Princes before the game and carried on singing during it.

Neymar went down clutching his right shoulder after falling down early on, but got back up after a few moments.

PSG striker Edinson Cavani had the first clear chance, with goalkeeper Roman Buerki poking out a foot to save his low shot in the 25th.

Moments later, Buerki failed to claim Di Maria’s corner from the right and Neymar — who netted in the first leg — dived forward to head in.

Dortmund’s defense dozed as Bernat steered in Pablo Sarabia’s cross from the right, following good work from Neymar and Di Maria.

PSG went out last year at Parc des Princes to a stoppage-time penalty against Manchester United, and there were nerves late on as Dortmund poured forward.

This time, PSG held firm.

The players’ reaction after the final whistle, with some whipping off their shirts and twirling them over their heads, made it seem like PSG had won the competition for the first time in its history.

Tuchel danced up and down, captain Marquinhos screamed, players threw themselves onto each other in a bundle. Neymar buried his head in his hands and wept, and the players rushed to greet and applaud the fans still massed outside.

However, the game itself was hardly a massive test.

Forward Jadon Sancho hit a free kick straight at PSG goalie Keylor Navas late in the first half, and then wasted a chance moments later when his angled shot was stopped when a teammate was well placed to receive a pass.

Dortmund improved after the break but some neat approach play produced little threat, and Di Maria went close to making it 3-0 when his free kick was well saved in the 54th

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