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Champions League: PSG, uninspired, sinks in Newcastle

The meeting between Newcastle and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), Wednesday October 4, presented strange similarities with the clash between Lens and Arsenal the day before. Like the Bollaert-Delelis stadium in Lens, St James’ Park had not heard the Champions League anthem echo through its aisles for more than twenty years (2-0 defeat against Barcelona, ​​March 19, 2003) . Like the blood and gold supporters in France, the “Toon Army” – nickname given to Newcastle fans – is renowned for bringing one of the best atmospheres in England within its confines.

And like the Lens players, after having had a checkered start to the season, the Magpies had recovered perfectly in recent weeks before facing a European big name for the second day of the C1 group stage. The English notably won 8-0 on the pitch at Sheffield in the championship – the club’s biggest victory away from home – on September 24, and eliminated Manchester City from the League Cup (1-0), three days later.

Unfortunately for PSG, Newcastle experienced the same victorious outcome as the Artésiens the day before (2-1 victory against the Gunners). The Parisians never managed to contain the English offensive armada (4-1), strongly supported by 52,000 wild spectators.

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“Matches of this type are difficult for coaches to cope with, explained the Spanish coach of Paris Saint-Germain after the match, speaking to Canal+. At the start of the match, our attitude was very good. We resisted their pressing well, we created the first opportunity with Ousmane Dembélé. I find the result to be a little unfair. But in front of us, it was Newcastle, they played very well, but I find this result excessive. »

Luis Enrique feared, already before the meeting, Bruno Guimaraes and his partners. “It’s a team that works well when it has the ball, and presses well when it doesn’t. Newcastle are the fourth hat team that no one wanted to face,” told the man who scored at Newcastle in 1997 with the Barcelona jersey.

Devastating English pressing

Unlike the Dortmund players during the first day of the UCL (2-0 victory for PSG), the English did not give the Parisians the opportunity to implement their style of play based on possession. This high pressure on the pitch, imposed from the start of the match, allowed Miguel Almiron to open the scoring for his team (1-0, 16e). The Paraguayan midfielder benefited from a recovery error from Brazilian defender Marquinhos, who did not wish to extend his ball against the Magpies’ pressure.

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To the great dismay of Paris Saint-Germain, the anger of the Newcastle players is far from having calmed down after their first goal. Twenty minutes later, the left side, almost 2 meters tall, Dan Burn made the break by propelling a ball into Gianluigi Donnarumma’s net with an angry header (2-0, 38e). Dissatisfied, the Parisians demanded a hand in the mess preceding the English goal and even a “stroller” from Dan Burn on PSG defender Milan Skriniar. Although divisive, this goal highlighted a very weak first period for the Parisians, only dangerous on a volley from Ousmane Dembélé in the 4the minute of play.

Returning from the locker room, the capital team began the second half as it had finished the first: with defensive errors, midfielders dominated in duels and attackers exempt from any defensive return. The Magpies were quick to take advantage and widen the gap further, through Sean Longstaff (3-0, 49e).

Kylian Mbappé transparent

In difficulty since the start of the match, Lucas Hernandez, perfectly served by Warren Zaire-Emery, allowed PSG to maintain a tiny hope just before the hour mark (3-1, 56e). The French defender’s subtle header ended a series of five games without conceding a goal for the English.

But, like Kylian Mbappé who was invisible during the entire match – the French striker struck only once on goal in the 84the minute of play – the Parisians never again managed to really worry Nick Pope. Even when they moved into the English camp at the end of the game, they were too messy to shake St James’ Park. And on the contrary it was Swiss defender Fabian Schär who scored a final goal for the Magpies in added time (4-1, 90e). An achievement that concluded the “magic night” desired by coach Eddie Howe the day before the match.

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“We made a lot of mistakes, explained Warren Zaire-Emery, the young PSG midfielder, after the match, speaking to Canal+. They played with their qualities. They came looking for us very high. We will look at the mistakes we made to improve and become the strongest team possible. »

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With this defeat, Paris Saint-Germain is second in Group F (3 points), behind their opponent of the day (4 points). They are ahead of AC Milan (2 points) and Dortmund (1 point), who were held in check on Wednesday evening (0-0). The Parisians will try to bounce back in the Champions League against AC Milan on Wednesday October 25, at the Parc des Princes. Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan, goalkeeper of the France team and former PSG player, will be present to oppose it.

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