Bayern Munich advance after comfortable win over Paris St-Germain

AFP

Bayern Munich comfortably secured their spot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday night as they inflicted yet another last-16 exit on Paris St-Germain. 

The hosts opened the scoring just after the hour mark as Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, facing his former club, swept home the ball. Substitute Serge Gnabry then added a second goal to seal the victory for the German champions.

PSG have now been eliminated from the competition at this stage in five of their previous seven campaigns, and this result represented another disappointing failure for the Ligue 1 leaders and their under-pressure head coach Christophe Galtier. Despite boasting a squad filled with stars such as Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi, the Parisians failed to score over two legs and were even saved from a heavier aggregate defeat by a VAR decision and an offside flag ruling out an earlier Choupo-Moting header and Sadio Mane's stoppage-time effort.

Bayern Munich started the game nervously, defending a one-goal first-leg lead and guarding against the dual threat posed by Mbappe and Messi. However, PSG's star-studded forward line was not given the time or space to inflict any damage on a disciplined and efficient Bayern side, who ultimately emerged as comfortable winners.

The only major concern for the German champions came in the first period, with goalkeeper Yann Sommer caught in possession by Achraf Hakimi, presenting visiting midfielder Vitinha with an open goal. However, defender Matthijs de Ligt made a superb sliding intervention to save the day for the home side with a goal-line clearance.

The draw for the last eight of the competition takes place on March 17 in Nyon, Switzerland. Meanwhile, PSG's weak finish in the Champions League is a significant setback for a team that has promised so much but too often failed to deliver on big European nights. This result marks the first time they have failed to score in a knockout tie since the 1994-95 semi-finals against AC Milan.

Bayern Munich's control and strength in reserve were underlined by their substitutions, with Julian Nagelsmann able to introduce Gnabry, Mane, Joao Cancelo, and Leroy Sane while bringing off the likes of Thomas Muller and the impressive Jamal Musiala. The impact of Portugal international Cancelo, who is on loan at Bayern from Manchester City, was immediate, as he laid on a goal for Gnabry within three minutes of his introduction to put the tie beyond doubt.

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