Bayern strike first
Germany’s Bayern Munich struck first in one of the star ties of these 2022-2023 Champions League Round of 16 and took a healthy lead for the return leg at the Allianz Arena by beating French side Paris Saint-Germain 0-1, who seemed to notice too much the early absence of Kylian Mbappé.
As happened in the final of the Champions League pandemic, it had to be a Frenchman and Ligue 1 champion’s canterano, Kingsley Coman, who would return to the penalty spot with a goal that rewarded the best game overall of Julian Nagelsmann’s team, superior and with the best chances, except in the final stretch, when Christophe Galtier’s team pressed with Mbappé, but who missed something more from Leo Messi and Neymar Jr.
Mbappé did not start
The first half at the Parc des Princes, dressed in their best for the return of the Champions League dream, was not as bright as expected. Christophe Galtier did not start Kylian Mbappé and opted for the very young Zaire-Emery (16 years old), while Julian Nagelsmann put three central defenders and succeeded in suffocating Neymar and, above all, Leo Messi.
PSG surrendered dominance to Bayern
The Argentine striker was almost always surrounded by many opponents and could hardly connect with the Brazilian. PSG ceded the upper hand to the six-time European champions, who did not shy away from the favor, despite the risk of leaving space at the back, but suffered from the lackluster performance of their talents Musiala and Sané.
No defensive problems
The Parisian team could not look too dangerous in Sommer’s area, but, with a good Sergio Ramos, they did not have too much trouble except in the final stretch until the break when their rival went one more gear. Despite this, Donnarumma only had to watch out for a powerful shot just inside the post from Kimmich on the stroke of half-time, while Messi failed to capitalize on a good free-kick on the edge of the box.
Galtier wanted to tweak his team and switched to a three-man defense for the second half, but continued to do little damage despite a dangerous run by Zaire-Emery. Then, the coach decided to call on Mbappé and soon after Bayern struck. A great cross from Davies, who had come on after the break for Cancelo, was headed in by Coman and Donnarumma was not too accurate in trying to prevent the 0-1.
Mbappé arrived late
The Parisian ‘7’ came to the rescue of a team that was ‘touched’ and at times at the mercy of the Bavarian team that could have sealed the tie with two chances from Choupo-Mouting, with the second finding Donnarumma and the post, and a header from Pavard that was also answered by the Italian goalkeeper.
Opportunities to tie
PSG, pressed for time, stepped up a gear in the closing stages, led by Mbappé, whose introduction caused problems for the hitherto solid visitors’ backline. The striker had a good one to equalize, but failed to beat Sommer, and Neymar’s subsequent rebound was met by a defender.
Bayern strikes back
Bayern tried to take advantage of some counterattacks by the spaces left by the French champion, launched in the final minutes by the rides of Nuno Mendes.
One of them ended in a goal by Mbappé, but disallowed for offside, and in another, he ‘disguised’ himself as Jordi Alba to find Messi, who was tasting the goal when a saving leg from Pavard came across. PSG could do no more, while Bayern lost Pavard, who was sent off, for the return leg.