Cameroon’s Choupo-Moting sends PSG into Champions League semis

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Neymar celebrate Paris Saint-Germain’s victory in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal against Atalanta in Lisbon, Portugal. COURTESY: TWITTER/Paris Saint-Germain

Cameroon striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting came off the bench to score the winning goal as Paris Saint-Germain came from behind to defeat Atalanta 2-1 at the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon on Wednesday to advance to the Champions League semifinals.

Despite PSG seeing more of the ball in the first half, Atalanta, famed for their attacking prowess, created more chances but were kept out following excellent saves by Costa Rican keeper Keylor Navas.

Atalanta was rewarded with a goal in the 26th minute when Mario Pašalić curled in a first-time left-foot shot from just inside the penalty box after Duvan Zapata’s block fell to him.

As the match wore on, both sides pushed for the next goal but efforts from Atalanta’s Berat Djimsiti and Neymar, who was guilty of a number of misses, went begging.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel then sent on Choupo-Moting in the 79th minute for Mauro Icardi and the Cameroonian made an impact which swung the game in the Parisians’ favour.

With the clock hitting 90 minutes, Choupo-Moting cut inside on the right and floated a pass to Neymar at the far post and his scuffed effort was turned in by fellow Brazilian Marquinhos.

The French champions then turned the game in added time when Neymar released Kylian Mbappe with a sublime through pass and the Frenchman squared for Choupo-Moting to tap the ball into the net from close range to make it 2-1.

Choupo-Moting’s goal was the latest regulation-time game-winning goal in Champions League quarterfinals history.

After the game, Neymar, who was named man of the match, decided to give Choupo-Moting the trophy in a tribute to his impact.

“When I came on, I thought to myself, ‘We can’t lose, we can’t go home like that.’ I was confident in myself, confident in the team and then the rest is the history of Paris. We had a good feeling in the team. We’re enjoying good moments on and off the pitch,” Choupo-Moting said after the match.

PSG’s win banished painful memories of quarterfinal appearances in 2017 against Barcelona and 2019 against Manchester United where they were eliminated despite holding strong first-leg advantages.

The result saw PSG reach the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 1995, where they will face either RB Leipzig or Atletico Madrid at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon on Tuesday.