PSG Confirms Sack Of Tuchel, Pochettino Favourite To Take Over

(FILES) This file photo taken on April 29, 2019 during a press conference at the Camp des Loges in Saint-Germain-en-Laye shows German coach Thomas Tuchel who has been sacked as Paris Saint-Germain’s head coach on December 24, 2020. – The French champions declined to make any comment when contacted by AFP to confirm the reports carried by L’Equipe newspaper and RMC and German tabloid Bild. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

 

Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday confirmed the sacking of coach Thomas Tuchel, who had been at the club since July 2018, but did not name his successor.

“After an in-depth analysis of its sporting situation, Paris Saint-Germain decided to terminate Thomas Tuchel’s contract,” the French giants announced in a statement.

Argentinian Mauricio Pochettino, the ex-Tottenham coach and a former PSG player, is widely reported to be the favourite to take over.

Tuchel, whose axing was widely reported but unconfirmed last week, managed PSG 127 times in all competitions, with 95 wins, 12 draws and 20 defeats.

His trophy haul featured two Ligue 1 titles (2019, 2020) as well as the French Cup and French League Cup in 2020.

READ ALSO: Croatia Hit By Powerful 6.4 Earthquake

The 47-year-old German also led the Parisian club to their first ever Champions League final last August, which they lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich.

Despite appearing to be adept at man-managing PSG’s squad of superstar players such as Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, Tuchel reportedly upset the Qatari-backed club after complaining about an apparent lack of recognition at leading PSG to the Champions League final.

“I would like to thank Thomas Tuchel and his staff for all they have contributed to the club,” said PSG chairman Nasser al-Khelaifi.

“Thomas has put a lot of energy and passion into the job, and we will of course remember the good moments we shared together. I wish him all the best for the future.”

Less than three months on from the final defeat to Bayern Munich in Lisbon, Tuchel has become the first PSG coach to leave mid-season since Antoine Kombouare was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti in December 2011.
– Barca date looms –

Tuchel departs the Parc des Princes having secured a last 16 Champions League clash with Barcelona and PSG sitting third in Ligue 1 — a point shy of leaders Lyon — despite being plagued by injuries, suspensions and coronavirus infections.

Should Pochettino take over, his opening match in charge will be January 6’s trip to Saint-Etienne on Ligue 1’s resumption after the winter break.

Then, on February 16, the Argentinian could face his first massive test against his compatriot Lionel Messi’s Barcelona, with the return leg on March 6.

Pochettino was let go after five and a half years at Tottenham in the aftermath of leading the north London side to their first ever appearance in a Champions League final against Liverpool in 2019.

Although he has yet to win any silverware the former PSG defender’s stock is high in managerial circles.

The Parisians will be keen to complete his signing and avoid missing their man who has been linked to the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United and Barca in recent months.

Importantly, Pochettino, like Tuchel, is at ease in man-managing a dressing room crammed with a galaxy of stars.

Neymar has been at the centre of new controversy this week after Brazilian media reported that he is organising a huge New Year’s Eve party despite the coronavirus pandemic — claims his lawyers have denied.

Pochettino is the son of a farmer from Murphy, in the north of Argentina.

He is known as a stickler for detail, which coupled with his tactical acumen, devotion to an attractive style of play and his popularity amongst Parisian fans, makes him a potentially ideal fit as the new occupant of the PSG dugout.

He would have under his wing several compatriots such as Mauro Icardi, Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes.

His anticipated arrival before the winter transfer window will allow him to bring in new faces, potentially one former Spurs charge, Inter Milan’s attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen.

And looking further ahead, given their Argentine ties, Pochettino may be the catalyst for six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi to start regarding PSG as potential new employers when he is free to move from the Camp Nou at the end of the season.

AFP

PSG Sack Coach Tuchel, Pochettino Likely Replacement

This file photo taken on April 29, 2019 during a press conference at the Camp des Loges in Saint-Germain-en-Laye shows German coach Thomas Tuchel who has been sacked as Paris Saint-Germain's head coach on December 24, 2020. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP
This file photo taken on April 29, 2019 during a press conference at the Camp des Loges in Saint-Germain-en-Laye shows German coach Thomas Tuchel who has been sacked as Paris Saint-Germain’s head coach on December 24, 2020. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

 

Paris Saint-Germain have fired their coach Thomas Tuchel with former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino lined up as his replacement, according to various media reports on Thursday.

The French champions declined to make any comment when contacted by AFP to confirm the reports carried by L’Equipe newspaper and RMC and German tabloid Bild.

The 47-year-old German arrived at the Parc des Princes on a two-year contract in 2018, and guided PSG to their first ever Champions League final last season.

READ ALSO: Neymar Set For PSG Return In January

But now, if the reports are confirmed, less than three months on from that final against Bayern Munich in Lisbon, Tuchel has become the first PSG coach to leave mid-season since Antoine Kombouare was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti in December 2011.

Pochettino left Tottenham in November 2019, six months after leading them into their first Champions League final.

This season Tuchel has led PSG to a last 16 date with Barcelona in the Champions League, while on the domestic front the Qatari-backed side are one point off the top of the table in Ligue 1.

 

AFP

Neymar Set For PSG Return In January

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar reacts after being injured during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Lyon (OL), on December 13, 2020 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

Neymar is “expected” to make his return from an ankle injury next month, Paris Saint-Germain announced on Saturday.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel had said he was hoping Neymar might be fit to play a part in Sunday’s clash with Ligue 1 leaders Lille, but the Parisians said in a statement the Brazil attacker would be out until the New Year.

“There is some bruising to the bone and he continues to undergo treatment at the training ground,” the French champions said in a statement.

“He is expected to make his return in January.”

That would see the world’s most expensive player return comfortably in time for PSG’s Champions League last-16 first leg against Barcelona on February 16.

Neymar, who has scored nine goals this season, suffered a sprained ankle after a challenge from Lyon midfielder Thiago Mendes earlier this month.

PSG Wait On Neymar Return Ahead Of Lille Showdown

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar celebrates after scoring a penalty kick during the UEFA Champions League Group H second-leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and RB Leipzig at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on November 24, 2020.
FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Paris Saint-Germain are hoping to have Neymar back in time for their top-of-the-table clash at Lille on Sunday, as the Brazil superstar looks to have recovered quicker than expected from what looked like a bad ankle injury.

Coach Thomas Tuchel said “for Neymar we will do everything” after Wednesday’s 2-0 win over struggling Lorient, which put the champions second and keeps them just a point behind Ligue 1 leaders Lille.

Neymar had already revealed the injury, which came after a rough Thiago Mendes tackle during last weekend’s 1-0 home loss to Lyon, was not as bad as initially thought.

However such a speedy return still seemed unlikely until Tuchel revealed he could yet feature at the Stade Pierre Mauroy.

“I can’t say ‘No, he’s not playing against Lille’. It is possible. We can try, we will try everything,” Tuchel said.

His return would be a huge boost to PSG’s morale after a strife-ridden opening few months of the season which has led to speculation over Tuchel’s future.

A win on Sunday would put the capital city side back on top of the pile after they moved above Lyon in the midweek round of fixtures, with a five-match winning-streak for Rudi Garcia’s side coming to an end with a dramatic 2-2 draw with Brest.

PSG’s other major title rivals Marseille host Reims on Saturday as they lurk five points back but with a game in hand.

Fourth-placed Marseille go into the weekend having lost ground in the title race following a 2-1 defeat at Rennes, who have won two on the bounce after a miserable run in which they lost seven of their previous eight in all competitions.

There appears to be some tension in the Marseille camp after coach Andre Villas-Boas launched an attack on a journalist at French newspaper La Provence.

According to witnesses the Portuguese boss targeted the reporter with threats of “I’ll get you” and criticised their work during the post-match press conference.

The row, apparently over an article which slammed Villas-Boas’ career record in the Champions League following their dismal effort in this year’s competition, then carried on outside Rennes’ Roazhon Park as the reporter and coach faced each other down.

Lille, meanwhile, seem confident they can maintain their slight hold on the summit and make this a true title race in a league now used to PSG dominance.

The northern outfit seem to be unworried by a potential change in ownership, with president Gerard Lopez saying he would “completely withdraw” from the club if a bid from a Luxembourg investment fund is accepted.

“Both teams are tired, Paris might have more quality but in one game everything is there to play for,” said coach Christophe Galtier.

Player to watch: Yusuf YaziciTurkey’s Yazici continued his impressive recent form on Wednesday when he scored the opening goal in Lille’s 2-0 win at Dijon.

The 23-year-old showed the composure that has seen him score five times in just three Ligue 1 starts, and six in as many Europa League appearances, when he slotted home Zeki Celik’s cutback in the 19th minute.

Yazici signed for Lille in the summer of 2019 but this has become the attacker’s breakout season, his two hat-tricks at Sparta Prague and AC Milan helping his side reach the Europa League last 32, where they will face four-time European champions Ajax.

Key stats5 – goals that Yusuf Yazici has scored this Ligue 1 season

12 – the number of games Lyon have played since last losing

4 – PSG have already lost to Lens, Marseille, Monaco and Lyon so far this season

Fixtures (all times GMT)Saturday

Metz v Lens (1600), Marseille v Reims (1800), Nice v Lyon (2000)

Sunday

Brest v Montpellier (1200), Dijon v Monaco, Strasbourg v Bordeaux, Nantes v Angers, Saint-Etienne v Nimes (all 1400), Lorient v Rennes (1600), Lille v Paris Saint-Germain (2000)

Neymar Stretchered Off In PSG’s Defeat To Lyon

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar (C) is evacuated on a stretcher during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Lyon (OL), on December 13, 2020 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. FRANCK FIFE / AFP
Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar (C) is evacuated on a stretcher during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Lyon (OL), on December 13, 2020 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Paris Saint-Germain surrendered top spot in Ligue 1 after losing 1-0 at home to Lyon on Sunday but potentially suffered a more devastating blow as an anguished Neymar was stretchered off with an ankle injury.

Tino Kadewere’s first-half goal secured Lyon a seventh win in eight matches as they moved level with Lille, who took over first place earlier in the day following a 2-1 home victory over Bordeaux.

PSG dropped to third after losing for the fourth time in 14 games this season, but the far greater concern will be the health of Neymar after his ankle appeared to twist awkwardly under a challenge from Thiago Mendes in stoppage time.

The Lyon midfielder was sent off for the tackle following a VAR review while a distraught Neymar, in considerable pain, was taken off on a stretcher having immediately signalled for medical assistance.

“He’s with the physio and the doctors and we have to wait for the tests tomorrow (Monday),” PSG coach Thomas Tuchel told French broadcaster Telefoot.

READ ALSO: No Place For Racism In Football Or Life – Neymar

Lyon’s first win away to PSG since October 2007, the last season they won the Ligue 1 crown, provided fresh hope of a genuine title race this term with the top five teams separated by just three points.

“We defended well, we destroyed their strength, and then played well enough in attack to score at least once,” said Lyon coach Rudi Garcia.

PSG trail the leading duo by a point with Marseille, who have two games in hand on their rivals, another point back in fourth alongside Montpellier.

“Losing top spot doesn’t worry me. But we didn’t have the right approach and I have a problem with that,” said Tuchel.

“We were never mentally ready to play this match. We were shot mentally. We never found our rhythm either. We didn’t play with enough concentration or discipline.

“It was a big step backwards after the last match. I’m surprised. I was expecting a very high level.”

With Kylian Mbappe rested from the start, Moise Kean partnered Neymar in attack following the Brazilian’s hat-trick in the midweek 5-1 Champions League win against Istanbul Basaksehir — a game that was completed 24 hours later than planned after an unprecedented anti-racism protest.

Kimpembe error punished

However, it was Lyon, without any European commitments this season, who took the lead on 35 minutes after a loose pass under pressure from PSG captain Presnel Kimpembe.

Karl Toko Ekambi collected the ball in the PSG half and immediately picked out Kadewere who steadied himself before sliding low beyond Keylor Navas for the Zimbabwe international’s fifth goal of the campaign.

Alessandro Florenzi drew a sharp save from Anthony Lopes before half-time while a thumping effort from Lucas Paqueta called Navas into action midway through the second half, just after the introduction of Mbappe.

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar (L) is tackled by Lyon's Dutch defender Kenny Tete during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Lyon (OL), on December 13, 2020 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. FRANCK FIFE / AFP
Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar (L) is tackled by Lyon’s Dutch defender Kenny Tete during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Lyon (OL), on December 13, 2020 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

After Navas kept out an attempt from Lyon substitute Bruno Guimaraes, Mbappe had a late chance to rescue a point for PSG but shot wide from the edge of the area in time added on before Neymar’s unwelcome injury.

Portugal defender Jose Fonte, who turns 37 later this month, scored the winner for Lille with a bullet header just before half-time against Bordeaux.

Jonathan Bamba’s exquisite curling strike gave Lille the lead on 16 minutes at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy before Toma Basic levelled from a Hatem Ben Arfa corner.

Lille travel to bottom side Dijon in midweek before the visit of defending champions PSG next Sunday in what could be a defining week for a club chasing a first league title since 2011.

“I don’t think we can fight with Paris for the title. We need to fight to pick up points and stay at the top,” said Lille coach Christophe Galtier, keen to temper expectations.

 

AFP

No Place For Racism In Football Or Life – Neymar

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar looks on during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Istanbul Basaksehir FK at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, on December 9, 2020. FRANCK FIFE / AFP
Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar looks on during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Istanbul Basaksehir FK at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, on December 9, 2020. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar defended the decision of his team and Istanbul Basaksehir to walk off the pitch in this week’s Champions League match following alleged racist remarks by an official, as the world’s most expensive player stated racism “has no place in football or in life”.

“What happened was unacceptable. In the times we live in we cannot accept differences being made like that about colour or race,” Neymar told French broadcaster RMC Sport after scoring a hat-trick when the game was restarted on Wednesday, with PSG winning 5-1.

“It has no place in football, or in life, or in any sport, so our attitude was perfect.”

The match in Paris was halted in the 14th minute on Tuesday as a row erupted amid accusations the Romanian fourth official had used a racist term to describe Basaksehir’s Cameroonian assistant coach, Pierre Webo.

With Basaksehir refusing to come back out unless the official was removed, the game was played to a finish 24 hours later with a new refereeing team.

Meanwhile, European football’s governing body UEFA has opened an investigation into the unprecedented incidents.

“Sometimes in extreme circumstances these things need to be done to see if the world can change a little,” said Neymar, who together with other players took a knee before the restart on Wednesday in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

‘The fault of one person’

PSG had already qualified for the last 16 before the restart, but they needed to beat Basaksehir to finish top of their group and Kylian Mbappe scored their other two goals in a one-sided game.

Neymar added: “Yesterday I wasn’t very happy because we had prepared ourselves for the game, and so to go back home, then get the body warmed up again for the next day, is very hard, but we all accepted it. We all decided to do it together.”

Meanwhile, Basaksehir coach Okan Buruk accused the Romanian referee, Ovidiu Hategan, of failing to properly manage the situation after the alleged comments made by the fourth official, Sebastian Coltescu.

“The fourth official used an unacceptable word to Pierre Achille Webo. The referee should have dealt with the situation properly but didn’t. We had to show that we were with Webo,” Buruk said.

“The players decided to stop. Some of them didn’t want to come back out. We are a team and we had to stick together.”

He added: “UEFA did the right thing by making it possible to play the next day.

“Webo was upset. We all gave him our support, but it’s someone else who should feel bad and that is the person who used the words. He is the guilty one.

“We have to show that we can all live together. Humanity is the most important thing.”

The incident drew a reaction from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is understood to have close links to the Turkish champions.

However, Buruk played down suggestions that the row could spill over into a diplomatic issue.

“There are no problems between Turkey and Romania. It is the fault of one person, not an entire country,” he said.

AFP

PSG Beat Basaksehir 5-1 In Game Suspended After Racism Walkout

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar (C) is challenged by Istanbul Basaksehir’s Turkish midfielder Mahmut Tekdemir (back) during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Istanbul Basaksehir FK at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, on December 9, 2020. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

Paris Saint-Germain beat Istanbul Basaksehir 5-1 on Wednesday with Neymar scoring a hat-trick as both teams took a knee before restarting their Champions League match suspended 24 hours earlier in an unprecedented protest over an allegedly racist comment by a match official.

The teams, who had joined forces on Tuesday to walk off the pitch following the row, gathered around the centre circle prior to the resumption and were joined by the match officials as they kneeled in support of the Black Lives Matter cause.

 

 

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar (C) scores his second goal during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Istanbul Basaksehir FK at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, on December 9, 2020. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

Before that, they sported t-shirts with the slogan “No To Racism” while warming up at the Parc des Princes, where large banners in the empty stands carried the same message.

The game restarted where it had stopped the previous day, in the 14th minute, when a touchline argument erupted over accusations the Romanian fourth official, Sebastian Coltescu, had described Basaksehir’s Cameroonian assistant coach Pierre Webo as “black”, or “negru” in Romanian.

Coltescu and the other Romanian match officials were replaced for the restart by a new refereeing team headed by the Netherlands’ Danny Makkelie.

Already qualified for the last 16 thanks to Manchester United’s defeat to RB Leipzig in Germany on Tuesday, PSG still needed to win the restarted game to secure top spot in their group and cruised to victory with Neymar outstanding.

Neymar hat-trick

He curled in a stunning opener before making it 2-0 and then won a penalty which Kylian Mbappe converted for the third goal before half-time.

Neymar, the world’s most expensive footballer, completed his hat-trick with another brilliant hit after the interval, and Mbappe got PSG’s fifth following a reply by Mehmet Topal for Basaksehir.

The Turkish side had already been eliminated before this game but they have left their mark on the Champions League with their response to the alleged treatment of Webo, who was sent off as he reacted furiously to the alleged comment.

That red card was suspended by UEFA pending a probe into the matter, with European football’s governing body promising a “thorough investigation”.

Basaksehir are understood to have close ties to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and he got involved in the row on Tuesday, tweeting that he “strongly condemns the racist remarks”.

France’s sports minister Roxana Maracineanu, who was born in Romania, praised the players’ “historic decision”.

It was an unprecedented, unified response by the teams, to what Basaksehir midfielder Giuliano called a “disgraceful” comment from the official.

“As a team and a group, we decided to protest because that is unacceptable. Racism has to end,” Giuliano told Brazilian media.

The row flared after Webo was shown the red card.

Television microphones in the empty stadium — matches are taking place without spectators because of Covid-19 restrictions — picked up a furious Webo repeatedly asking why a racist term had been used to describe him.

In the exchange in question between the all-Romanian officiating team, Coltescu said: “The black one over there. This is not possible. Go and identify him. That guy, the black one.”

Basaksehir’s Senegalese forward Demba Ba, among the substitutes for the away side, could be heard remonstrating with the official in English, saying: “When you mention a white guy, you never say ‘this white guy’, you just say ‘this guy’, so why when you mention a black guy do you say ‘this black guy?'”

‘Disturbing tipping point’

The incident drew reaction from around the world, with Rio Ferdinand, the former Manchester United and England defender and now a TV pundit, saying on BT Sport in the UK: “I think we are at a disturbing tipping point. Not a week goes by without an incident involving race.

“The players walking off is a step in the right direction, but it can’t just be left to them.”

Ferdinand’s brother Anton was involved in a high-profile incident in 2012 when Chelsea player John Terry was accused of racially abusing him during a match in England.

Many athletes have taken a strong stand against racism since Black Lives Matter protests flared around the world over the death of George Floyd during his arrest in Minneapolis in May.

The Turkish champions had refused to restart the game on Tuesday as long as fourth official Coltescu was still involved.

PSG Vs Basaksehir Champions League Game Suspended Over Alleged Racist Abuse By Official

Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan (in yellow) talks to Istanbul Basaksehir's staff members past Istanbul Basaksehir's French forward Demba Ba (2ndR) after the game was suspended amid allegations of racism by one of the match officials during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Istanbul Basaksehir FK at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, on December 8, 2020. FRANCK FIFE / AFP
Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan (in yellow) talks to Istanbul Basaksehir’s staff members past Istanbul Basaksehir’s French forward Demba Ba (2ndR) after the game was suspended amid allegations of racism by one of the match officials during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Istanbul Basaksehir FK at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, on December 8, 2020. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Paris Saint-Germain’s decisive Champions League game with Istanbul Basaksehir on Tuesday was suspended in the first half as the players walked off amid allegations of racism by one of the match officials.

The row erupted after Basaksehir assistant coach Pierre Webo, the former Cameroon international, was shown a red card during a fierce row on the touchline with staff from the Turkish club appearing to accuse the Romanian fourth official of using a racist term.

Television microphones picked up a furious Webo repeatedly asking why a racist term had been used to describe him.

READ ALSO: Wolves Striker Jimenez Leaves Hospital After Surgery

The game at the Parc des Princes stopped in the 14th minute, with the players walking off around 10 minutes later.

Basaksehir’s Senegal international striker Demba Ba, among the substitutes for the away side, could be heard remonstrating with the official, saying: “When you mention a white guy, you never say ‘this white guy’, you just say ‘this guy’, so why when you mention a black guy do you say ‘this black guy?'”

The match, being played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic, is decisive for PSG who need a draw to clinch qualification for the last 16 from Group H, which also contains RB Leipzig and Manchester United.

Champions League: Neymar Double Downs Man United, Gives PSG Lifeline

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar celebrates after he scores his team’s third goal during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 2, 2020.  AFP

 

Paris Saint-Germain took a huge step towards avoiding an embarrassing early exit from the Champions League and left Manchester United with work to do to reach the last 16 as Neymar scored twice in a 3-1 win at Old Trafford.

PSG, United and RB Leipzig are now all tied on nine points at the top of Group H with one game to go.

But the French champions are in the driving seat as they host eliminated Istanbul Basaksehir on Tuesday, while United need a point when they travel to Germany.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were left to rue a host of huge chances early in the second half with the match poised at 1-1 after Marcus Rashford cancelled out Neymar’s early opener.

“We had some big chances, big moments and that’s the difference when you get to the big games,” said Solskjaer.

However, the United boss’ decision not to replace Fred before he was sent off seconds after Marquinhos scored PSG’s second was a naive mistake which cost his side.

The Brazilian midfielder had been lucky to escape a red card before half-time when he was only shown a yellow card after a headbutt on Leandro Paredes was reviewed.

“Fred shouldn’t put his head towards him, it’s either nothing or a red card, he’s a bit lucky to stay on,” conceded Solskjaer, who admitted to considering making a change at half-time.

“We spoke about staying calm, staying on your feet and the second one is nowhere near a yellow card.”

Leipzig’s late winner in a 4-3 thrillier in Istanbul earlier on Wednesday piled the pressure on PSG to win and keep their fate in their own hands going into matchday six.

The visitors started brightly in response and went in front after just six minutes when Neymar pounced on Kylian Mbappe’s deflected shot to drill low past David de Gea.

Fred’s first lucky escape came on 24 minutes as Italian referee Daniele Orsato decided a yellow card was sufficient after reviewing the headbutt incident.

Tuchel was furious when United needed just eight more minutes to make the most of that reprieve when Rashford’s shot took a wicked deflection off Danilo to wrong-foot Keylor Navas.

Fortunate Fred 

Fred was fortunate again moments later when he trod on Paredes, but it was the Argentine who was booked.

But if PSG’s luck was out before the break, they got the let-off they needed at the start of the second period through United’s profligacy.

Anthony Martial somehow blazed over with the goal at his mercy after brilliant work from Rashford and Edinson Cavani.

Cavani is PSG’s record goalscorer after scoring 200 times in seven seasons at the Parc des Princes, but the Uruguayan was allowed to leave for free when his contract expired in June.

The 33-year-old was inches away from exacting revenge with a delicate chip over Navas that came back off the crossbar before Marquinhos’s brave block denied Martial again.

Tuchel’s future as PSG boss would be plunged into doubt by a failure to progress from the group stage, but he made a telling contribution with a change of system to shore up his side’s susceptibility on the counter-attack as Ander Herrera and Mitchel Bakker were introduced.

De Gea produced an incredible save from Bakker low to his left, but that only delayed PSG retaking the lead by a few seconds as, from the resulting corner, the ball broke for Marquinhos to prod home from close range.

“We knew the little details would make the difference,” Marquinhos told RMC Sport. “They didn’t take their chances, we took ours and we are delighted tonight.

“In the second half, we had the courage and personality to play and take risks. The coach gave us confidence, telling us to take risks. It worked and we are really pleased.”

Less than a minute after the goal, United were finally down to 10 men as Fred’s luck ran out despite playing the ball before tripping Herrera.

United still came close to salvaging the point they needed to qualify as substitute Paul Pogba’s sweetly struck volley flew just over before Bruno Fernandes headed too close to Navas.

But PSG gained some measure of revenge for their stunning Champions League elimination to United in 2019 by sealing a huge win with a third in stoppage time when Neymar rolled home Rafinha’s cut-back.

AFP

Neymar Penalty Keeps PSG On Course In Champions League

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar celebrates after scoring a penalty kick during the UEFA Champions League Group H second-leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and RB Leipzig at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on November 24, 2020. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

A nervy Paris Saint-Germain were outplayed for long spells but held on after an early Neymar penalty to beat RB Leipzig 1-0 on Tuesday and revive their Champions League campaign.

Last season’s runners-up had lost two of their opening three matches in Group H and would have been staring at an early exit from the competition had they lost again to the Germans behind closed doors at the Parc des Princes.

Yet Neymar’s 11th-minute spot-kick proved enough for PSG as Leipzig failed to convert any of the chances that came their way.

Both sides are now level on six points with two games still to come, with Manchester United three points clear at the top of the section after easing to a 4-1 victory over Istanbul Basakeshir on Tuesday.

Crucially, PSG have the head-to-head advantage over Leipzig, thanks to an away goal, if the two teams end level on points. They lost 2-1 when the teams met in Germany three weeks ago.

Thomas Tuchel’s team go to Old Trafford next and the feeling is that the French champions could still just as easily advance to the last 16 in the first place as they could fail to qualify at all.

They brushed Leipzig aside in the semi-finals of last season’s competition in Lisbon in August but collapsed worryingly in their last meeting with Julian Nagelsmann’s team after taking an early lead.

Here they again went in front and then succeeded in seeing the game out despite struggling desperately to maintain possession and stop the waves of Leipzig attacks.

The spot-kick was awarded when Marcel Sabitzer was rather harshly adjudged to have fouled Angel di Maria just inside the area.

Neymar stepped up to roll the ball home from 12 yards for his first Champions League goal of the season on what was his first start in almost a month after injury.

Alongside him, Kylian Mbappe saw his European goal drought go on — Ligue 1’s leading scorer has still not scored a Champions League goal in 2020 in eight appearances.

Nevertheless, PSG did not need their French World Cup-winning superstar to be at his best as Leipzig — who have not managed to replace Timo Werner since the Germany striker left for Chelsea — were unable to turn their dominance of possession into goals.

Dayot Upamecano saw his header tipped over by Keylor Navas and Emil Forsberg turned a Dani Olmo cross over the top in the first half.

The pressure continued at the start of the second half, but Forsberg and Sabitzer notably missed the target and the chances dried up after the home side reverted to a three-man central defence in the closing stages.

AFP

Bayern Munich Sign Ex-PSG Forward Choupo-Moting As Costa Returns

In this file photo taken on August 12, 2020 Paris Saint-Germain’s Cameroon forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Atalanta and Paris Saint-Germain at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon.  David Ramos / POOL / AFP

 

Bayern Munich confirmed Monday the transfer of former Paris Saint Germain forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and the return of Brazil winger Douglas Costa on loan from Juventus, with both players signing for a year.

Having already completed the transfer of Espanyol midfielder Marc Roca on Sunday on a five-year contract, Bayern also added Choupo-Moting on a one-year deal as back-up to Robert Lewandowski.

Costa, 30, will compete with Serge Gnabry, Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sane for a place on the flanks.

Choupo-Moting, 31, was out of contract after his PSG deal expired and returns to the Bundesliga following stints with Hamburg, Nuremberg, Mainz and Schalke.

“It’s a great feeling to come back to the Bundesliga — and then to the biggest club in Germany,” said Cameroon international Choupo-Moting in a statement.

“Who wouldn’t want to play for FC Bayern?

“It’s an honour. The aim at Bayern is always to win everything, and I am highly motivated to achieve these goals.”

Bayern also annouced that Costa, who played for Bayern from 2015 until 2017, netting 14 goals in 77 matches, is returning to Munich, where he won Bundesliga titles in 2015/16 and the following season.

“I’m very happy to be playing for Bayern again, I had a wonderful time in Munich, with lots of successes and I’m sure we’ll win titles again,” said Costa, who has made 31 appearances for Brazil.

 

File photo: Bayern Munich’s German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and his teammates celebrate with the trophy after the UEFA Super Cup football match between FC Bayern Munich and Sevilla FC at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, Hungary on September 24, 2020.  BERNADETT SZABO / POOL / AFP

 

According to reports, Bayern also want to sign right-back Bouna Sarr from Marseille before the transfer window closes in Germany at 1600 GMT.

The Bavarian giants are said to have tried again to sign Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, 19, but the German media reports that the two clubs could not agree a fee.

Bayern coach Hansi Flick has made no secret that he needs new signings after losing Philippe Coutinho, Ivan Perisic and Thiago Alcantara from the squad which won the Champions League title last August.

AFP

PSG Sign Portugal Midfielder Pereira On Loan From Porto

Photo Credit: Paris -Saint-German

 

French champions Paris Saint-Germain on Monday announced the loan signing of Danilo Pereira from Porto.

The 29-year-old midfielder, who has won 39 caps for Portugal, has signed until June 30, 2021, with an option to buy.

Pereira made 202 appearances for Porto, scoring 19 goals and winning the Portuguese league twice (2018 and 2020), the Portuguese Supercup (2018) and the League Cup (2020).

“It’s a new challenge for me, and to be part of Paris Saint-Germain fits my ambitions,” Pereira said.

“Joining one of the biggest clubs in Europe and in the world is a huge moment in my career, and I hope to be able to bring a lot to Paris and its supporters.”

-AFP