Paris Saint-Germain reached their first-ever Champions League final with a comfortable 3-0 win over Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig on Tuesday to end a 16-year wait for a French side to reach European football’s summit clash.
Goals from Marquinhos, Angel di Maria and Juan Bernat helped the Parisians ease to win victory at Lisbon’s Estadio da Luz stadium.
Thomas Tuchel’s men were dominant from minute one pressurising Leipzig who struggled to play out from the back. Neymar’s early effort came off the upright but shortly after Marquinhos headed PSG in front from a set-piece delivered by Di Maria.
PSG missed more chances in the first half but profited right at the end of it with Di Maria finding the net.
It was a cruise for the French champions in the second half as they sealed a 3-0 victory after Bernat’s goal.
The stats of the game show how dominant PSG were.
When PSG take to the field at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon on Sunday, it will only be the sixth time that a French team will appear in a European Cup final. The last time a French side managed to do so was AS Monaco who lost 3-0 to Jose Mourinho’s FC Porto in 2004.
However, only one French side has ever won an European Cup. The win came in 1992-’93 when Marseille beat AC Milan to win the first-ever Champions League title (it was called the European Cup before).
Top performances of French teams in UCL
|Team to reach final||Year||Result|
|Stade de Reims||1958-'59||Lost 2-0 to Real Madrid|
|Saint-Etienne||1975-'76||Lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich|
|Marseille||1990-'91||Lost to Red Star Belgrade on penalties|
|Marseille||1992-'93||Won 1-0 against AC Milan|
|AS Monaco||2003-'04||Lost 3-0 to FC Porto|
PSG are also the first French team in 44 years to reach a European Cup final without any involvement of Didier Deschamps. The last three French clubs to reach the Champions League final had Deschamps either as a player or as a manager.
When he captained Marseille to Champions League glory in 1993, he became the youngest captain to guide a team to Europe’s top honour. In 2004, he also became the youngest coach to take a team to a Champions League final.
The Frenchman had a truly stunning career both as a player and coach as he also captained France to their first-ever World Cup win in 1998 and then coached them to their second World Cup title twenty years later in 2018. He’s achievements are simply unmatched in French football.
PSG would look to replicate the success of Deschamps by winning the Champions League but it would be a tough task with either Bayern Munich or Lyon facing them in the final on Sunday.
It was a good game for PSG centre-backs who rarely gave the German side a sniff in the game.
Neymar, who was once again lively and at the heart of most things PSG created, was uncharacteristically generous in front of goal. Just like in the match against Atlanta, the shooting boots seemed to be missing for the Brazilian star.
However, the true star for PSG was Angel di Maria. He has been the team’s silent hero this season in the Champions League.
Di Maria is now only behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in top active assist makers in Champions League history
Most assist makers in UCL (all-time)
|Position||Player||Number of assists|
|4||Angel di Maria||30|
There were more Di Maria milestones:
For PSG it was a truly historic moment even though it took its time to arrive.
PSG have been eliminated before the semi-finals stages in the last few editions but they have been prolific in front of the goal through it all.
(With AFP inputs)