Sports

UCL: PSG Optimistic Despite Dortmund Defeat

Paris Saint-Germain coach Luis Enrique was hopeful his side would still reach the Champions League final despite a 1-0 defeat away to Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their last-four tie on Wednesday.

“It’s football. Very often it is marvellous and other times it is like this. We would have preferred to be in a different situation, but I think when you look at it it was a very even game,” the Spaniard told broadcaster Canal Plus after his side were undone by a solitary Niclas Fuellkrug goal in the first half.

The French champions had more possession and more attempts on goal but were hindered by wayward finishing and perhaps a lack of luck — Kylian Mbappe and Achraf Hakimi hit separate posts in the same move at one point in the second half.

“Nobody ever said it was going to be easy in the semi-finals of the Champions League. The boys in the dressing room are a bit down. We had one chance where we hit both posts,” Luis Enrique added.

“You have to say this is an exceptional stadium but I am sure we will be very strong in Paris and we have nothing to lose.”

It is just the fifth game PSG have lost all season, and the first time they have been beaten under Luis Enrique without scoring.

However, they can take heart from the fact they have already defeated Dortmund at home in the current campaign, winning 2-0 at the Parc des Princes when the teams met there in the group stage in September.

They also overturned a 3-2 first-leg deficit to knock out Barcelona in the quarter-finals by winning 4-1 in the return.

Going further back, PSG knocked the German club out of the Champions League in the last 16 in 2020 with a 2-0 win at home after going down 2-1 away in the first leg.

– Hernandez injury fears –
“We are two teams who like to get forward, who like to have the ball, who press. It was a very physical match,” PSG captain Marquinhos — who produced one crucial lunge to deny Julian Brandt late on — told Canal Plus.

“In terms of the result it is true we had lots of good chances, especially in the second half, clear chances that we can’t afford to miss if we want to get to the final.

“At home we will really need to make sure we convert chances like that.”

The Brazilian added: “It is always very difficult to play here. We wanted to come here and win. We didn’t manage to do that but it is only 1-0.

“We have managed to do it in the past. We have shown we can do it, especially at home with the energy of our supporters. You can be sure it will be a different scenario there.”

Meanwhile, Luis Enrique said he had no news about the injury which forced defender Lucas Hernandez off late in the first half but admitted it “doesn’t look at all positive”.

Hernandez appeared to hurt his knee while trying to stop Fuellkrug’s goal and attempted to carry on before crumbling to the ground and having to be replaced by Lucas Beraldo.

AFP

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