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Monday , December 6 2021

PSG edge Bayern as solid Chelsea close in on semis

MUNICH, April 8, (AP): Kylian Mbappé scored twice to lead Paris Saint- Germain to a 3-2 win at defending champions Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final. Mbappé was a constant threat while Neymar had two assists as the French champions responded to their 1-0 loss to Bayern in last year’s final by seizing the advantage going into the second leg in Paris next week. Marquinhos scored the other goal as the visitors went 2-0 up inside the first half hour, but the PSG captain went off injured shortly afterward and Bayern responded through headers from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Thomas Müller. Mbappé sealed the win with his eight goal of the competition in the 68th. The visitors had four shots on target altogether.

Porto’s Pepe, (right), heads the ball during the Champions League, first leg, quarter-final soccer match between FC Porto and Chelsea at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium in Seville, Spain.

The visitors also had absences due to COVID-19, with Marco Verratti and Alessandro Florenzi both infected. Coach Mauricio Pochettino was also without forward Mauro Icardi and the suspended Leandro Paredes, as well as Layvin Kurzawa and former Bayern player Juan Bernat. In the other quarter-final, Chelsea beat Porto 2-0 in a game played in Seville, Spain, because of travel restrictions. Bayern made a good start amid heavy snowfall with Choupo-Moting hitting the crossbar with a header from a corner in the second minute. Mbappé scored the next minute, set up by Neymar on a quick counterattack, when his shot from the right squirmed between Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s legs.

The visitors had the ball in the net again in the 12th, but Julian Draxler’s goal was ruled out through VAR as Mbappé was just offside in the buildup. Bayern responded with sustained pressure. Keylor Navas was alert to deny Leon Goretzka in the 19th, then Benjamin Pavard a minute later. Choupo-Moting went close from another corner before Marquinhos scored with the visitors’ second legitimate effort on goal. Neymar beat Bayern’s offside trap with a brilliant ball over the top for his Brazilian compatriot to make it 2-0 in the 28th. Solid defensively and precise in attack, Chelsea took a big step toward returning to the last four of the Champions League by defeating Porto.

Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell scored their first Champions League goals to give Chelsea a great chance of making it to the semifinals for the first time in seven years. Mount scored after a nice turn past a defender at the edge of the area in the 32nd minute and Chilwell added the second following a blunder by Porto’s Jesús Corona in the 85th. The goals came off the only three attempts on target by Chelsea in Seville, where the game was played because of travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. Next week’s second leg will also be played at Sevilla’s Ramón Sánchez- Pizjuán Stadium. Porto were considered the home team . The winners will face either Real Madrid or Liverpool. Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1 at home in their first leg.

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