Bayern top PSG, AC Milan edge Tottenham
Sports Desk, Feb 14 (EFE).- Bayern Munich beat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 Tuesday at the Parc des Princes in the first leg of their Champions League knockout stage duel and AC Milan prevailed over Tottenham Hotspur by the same margin at the San Siro.
PSG suffered a third straight defeat in all competitions, while Bayern remained perfect in the 2022-2023 Champions League, winning seven out of seven by a cumulative score of 19-2.
Neither team has been on great form since the World Cup. The perennial Bundesliga champions lead upstarts Union Berlin by just 1 point and PSG are looking over their shoulders at Olympic Marseille.
One encouraging sign for PSG supporters was seeing Kylian Mbappe named to the squad 11 days after he suffered an injury that was supposed to keep him out of action for three weeks.
But the striker began the game on the bench.
The visitors were dominant in the first half and nearly took the lead in the 43rd minute on a shot by Joshua Kimmich, who forced an impressive save from Gianluigi Donnarumma.
PSG’s only genuine chance of the opening period came on a free kick just before the break and the Bayern wall kept Lionel Messi’s shot from troubling Yann Sommer.
Bayern’s breakthrough came eight minutes into the second half courtesy of PSG academy product Kingsley Coman, who refrained from celebrating out of respect for his former club.
Four minutes later, Mbappe came on for PSG, but before he could make an impact, Donnarumma produced a trio of great stops, denying Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting twice and Benjamin Pavard once, to keep the hosts in the contest.
The game had entered the final 20 minutes when Mbappe put the ball in the net after Sommer turned aside successive shots from the France international and Neymar, but the flag went up quickly.
Mbappe went on to win a corner that Marquinhos nearly transformed into an equalizer in the 77th before seeing a second goal disallowed for offside in the 82nd.
Messi would have scored in the 84th minute if his shot hadn’t taken a deflection off Pavard, who was sent off in the 92nd after picking up a second yellow card for a tackle on the Argentine great.
Bayern hung on for the win and are well-placed to reach the quarterfinals for the 10th time in the last 11 years.
Reigning Serie A champions AC Milan have been struggling of late in Italy. They trail current league leaders Napoli by 18 points and were eliminated from the Coppa Italia.
Even so, the crowd at the San Siro were excited about the Rossoneri’s first Champions League round-of-16 tie in nine years and the hosts grabbed the lead in the 7th minute.
Spurs keeper Fraser Forster – playing for the injured Hugo Lloris – made a pair of good saves against Theo Hernandez and Brahim Diaz, but couldn’t stop a second effort by Diaz.
The visitors struggled to convert their edge on possession into chances and only Harry Kane created any anxious moments for Ciprian Tatarusanu.
Charles de Ketelaere and Junior Messias squandered chances to extend the lead for Milan, but one goal proved to be enough. EFE lmpg-tfc/dr