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regular-article-logo Monday, 24 June 2024

Immobile edges out 10-man Bayern: Enrique pep talk works well as Mbappe & Barcola clinch it for PSG

Immobile converted his spot-kick after Bayern defender Dayot Upamecano’s clumsy challenge on Gustav Isaksen for which the France international was sent off with a straight red card

Reuters Rome Published 16.02.24, 10:18 AM
Ciro Immobile

Ciro Immobile File image

Ciro Immobile scored a 69th-minute penalty to earn hosts Lazio a 1-0 victory over 10-man Bayern Munich on Wednesday in their Champions League Round-of-16 first-leg clash.

Immobile converted his spot-kick after Bayern defender Dayot Upamecano’s clumsy challenge on Gustav Isaksen for which the France international was sent off with a straight red card.

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In the other match, second-half goals from Kylian Mbappe and Bradley Barcola secured Paris Saint-Germain a hard-fought 2-0 win over visitors Real Sociedad.

The Basque club, who arrived at the Parc des Princes unbeaten in this year’s competition after topping Group D, were arguably the better side until Mbappe fired home a volley after he pounced onto Marquinhos’ corner to give PSG the lead in the 58th minute.

Toothless Germans

Disciplined Lazio stifled the German side’s attacks and Bayern were toothless throughout, failing to get a single effort on target in the match.

The Bavarians, favourites going into the game, were desperate to bounce back from Saturday’s 3-0 Bundesliga loss to leaders Bayer Leverkusen which left them five points off the top. They will return to Munich with more pressure piling on coach Thomas Tuchel and his team after their second straight defeat. They have failed to score in their last two games.

“We had the game under control in the first half,” Tuchel said. “But in the second our performance dropped inexplicably. We made too many individual errors and we lost concentration. We lost our rhythm.”

Bayern created early chances for Joshua Kimmich and Harry Kane, who both narrowly missed the target. The Italians responded with a fierce Luis Alberto strike that flew wide of Manuel Neuer’s goal.

The tempo gradually dropped, Bayern struggled with the disciplined Italian back line and had to wait until the 40th minute to threaten again when Musiala fired over the bar from close range.

Lazio should have taken the lead two minutes after the restart when Isaksen only had Neuer to beat but the keeper stood his ground to block his shot. The Dane won a penalty when Immobile passed to Isaksen in the box and Upamecano arrived late and stepped on his ankle.

Immobile kept his cool and sent Neuer the wrong way to give Maurizio Sarri’s team the advantage going into the return leg in Munich on March 5. “We worked and prepared for this match to have a say in it,” said Immobile. “We had some opportunities and we had to be good at exploiting them ahead of the return match and we did just that.”

Enrique’s advice

PSG took control of the game and in the 70th minute, Barcola extended their lead as he nudged the ball through the legs of the goalkeeper Alex Remiro.

“We struggled a lot in the first half. We spoke to each other at halftime and the coach (Luis Enrique) pulled our strings. He was really upset,” PSG captain Marquinhos told Canal Plus.

“Our attitude was much better in the second half. He (Enrique) gave us some advice and that worked well in the second half. The first part of our objective has been achieved. It’s important to win at home.”

PSG were lucky to go into the break with the match scoreless. A resilient Mbappe took advantage of Real Sociedad being temporarily down to 10-men after defender Hamari Traore was on the sidelines receiving medical treatment.

Mbappe’s strike into the the top corner sparked wild celebrations among the Parc des Princes crowd. Barcola extended PSG’s lead in the 70th minute with a fine individual display as he burst through from the halfway line to net a tidy finish.

Mbappe ‘leaving’

Mbappe has informed Paris Saint-Germain that he is leaving the club in July as a free agent seven years after joining the side, The Athletic website reported on Thursday.

“Mbappe has communicated his decision to PSG but the terms of his exit are yet to be fully agreed. An official announcement is expected once the situation is finalised in the next few months,” the report said. Reuters

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