Football PSG beat Leipzig 3-0 to reach Champions League final
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PSG beat Leipzig 3-0 to reach Champions League final

Juan Bernat's header crosses the line before teammate Neymar can get to it as PSG defeat RB Leipzig 3-0. Photo: Getty
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Paris Saint-Germain were on fire as they crushed RB Leipzig 3-0 to reach the Champions League final for the first time.

Angel di Maria scored once and set up the other goals from Marquinhos and Juan Bernat as the star-studded Parisians tormented Leipzig’s defence with their attacking might led by Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

The French champions were far less troubled by inexperienced Leipzig behind closed doors at the Estadio da Luz than they were in the quarter-finals where they had trailed Atalanta until the 90th minute before winning 2-1.

PSG have amassed 40 French titles and the 1996 European Cup Winners Cup title but Champions League success has been their top priority ever since they came under Qatari ownership in 2011 and hundreds of millions were invested to fulfil this ambition.

There were many failures over the years after a first semi-final berth in 1995 but now it all came together as they became only the fifth French league team to reach the final of the elite event – with the lone title coming from Olympique Marseille in 1993.

PSG will return to the Estadio da Luz on Sunday to meet Olympique Lyon or Bayern Munich who contest the other French-German semi-final.

“We ate them up from minute one. We worked hard all game and we showed we deserve to be here. It doesn’t matter who we face: either Bayern or Lyon, we’ll give our all,” di Maria said.

“We succeeded tonight and we’re in the final – that’s very important. We have to continue like tonight to make our dream come true.”

Mbappe returned into the starting 11 of Thomas Tuchel’s team from an ankle injury after being only used as a sub against Atalanta and di Maria was back from suspension.

Sergio Rico meanwhile deputised in goal for injured Keylor Navas and Leandro Paredes came on for not fully fit Idrissa Gueye in midfield.

PSG were in command right away and the favourites broke the deadlock in the 13th minute when Marquinhos was left unmarked to head home di Maria’s free-kick from the left into the far corner.

They threatened with almost every attack and got their second in the 41st.

Another poor clearance ended up with Paredes who instantly fed Neymar in the area and the Brazilian flicked the ball on with his heel for di Maria to slot into the bottom right corner.

The third came in the 56th when Mukiele slipped and di Maria crossed to the diminutive Bernat whose glancing header went into the far right corner.

“Our opponent was simply better. The first dead-ball situation was bad for our confidence. The second and third were sort of gifts, this is punished at this level,” Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann said.

-AAP