Can Neymar lead PSG to Champions League glory?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the French league came to an end earlier than usual and earlier than most other leagues across Europe. PSG were crowned French champions with still 11 fixtures left to be played in the league, as they were holding a 12-point advantage over second-placed Olympique Marseille and they still had one game in hand. At that point of time, if we had to gamble on any online casino canada real money, we’d put all our chips on PSG winning the league. It was only more than a month later, on April 28, that the French prime-minister announced that both the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 were not going to be resumed this season. A few days later, the French football authorities awarded PSG the championship title…
With the Ligue 1’s challenge solved even before we entered May, Neymar and his teammates had more than enough time to refresh energies and to focus on their biggest objective: winning the Champions League. In fact, that would always be their main objective, regardless of how things would have gone down with in the Ligue 1, since no one in Paris even attempts to hide that what matters the most is clinching the first Champions League trophy in the club’s history.
Unlike some of their other rivals in Europe, PSG have already confirmed their presence in the Champions League quarter-finals, after having knocked out Borussia Dortmund in the last-16 round. The French champions lost the first leg in Germany by 2-1, but they completed the perfect comeback in the return leg in Paris, when a 2-0 victory sealed their passage to the competition’s next round. Neymar was the key player for the Parisiens in both legs, as not only he scored the vital goal at the Signal Iduna Park, but he also broke the deadlock when both teams met again at the Parc des Princes, on March 13.
Just a few days after PSG beat Borussia Dortmund, UEFA called off all upcoming games and put both the Europa League and the Champions League on hold until further notice. That meant that several ties had to be postponed, including the clashes Napoli and Barcelona, Chelsea and Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Manchester City, and finally Juventus and Olympique Lyon. The second legs for these ties will be played on August 7 and August 8, while the quarter-finals will kickoff on August, precisely with the PSG and Atalanta game.
In the Champions League quarter-finals, the French champions will have to go through one of the most surprising teams of the seasons: Atalanta. The Italian club, who is on an impressive 19-game unbeaten run, got rid of Valencia in the previous round by defeating the Spanish side twice. In the first leg, they grabbed an easy 4-1 win in Bergamo and as if that wasn’t enough of a statement, they visited Spain and beat them again this time by 4-3.
Nevertheless, PSG are the heavy favorites going into this tie and that’s mainly because of two players: Neymar and MbappĂ©. The French forward however, has suffered an ankle injury in the French cup final and shouldn’t start against Atalanta. With his absence, it’s inevitable that most of the pressure will now be on Neymar’s shoulders, as the Brazilian is expected to lead the French side all the way to the final.
Sources: besoccer.com / theguardian.com