Champions League quarter-finals: Shocks, sitters, drama and genius

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Champions League quarter-finals: Shocks, sitters, drama and genius


Pep Guardiola has again failed to reach a Champions League final with a team other than Barcelona

For the first time in 24 years, there will be no English or Spanish sides in the Champions League semi-finals afterLyon stunned Manchester City in Portugal.

Not since the 1995-96 season, when Marcello Lippi’s eventual champions Juventus and Louis van Gaal’s Ajax overcame Nantes and Panathinaikos respectively, has the Premier League or La Liga failed to be represented in the final four.

But following four enthralling last-eight match-ups, Germany and France provide two clubs apiece in the battle for European club football’s greatest prize in 2020.

The semi-finals will see Bayern Munich face Lyon on Wednesday with RB Leipzig in action against Paris St-Germain the night before.

After enduring mockery as a lowly ‘Farmers League’ by fans from elsewhere, PSG striker Kylian Mbappe had something to say about all that…

The late, late drama

PSG hero Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting had not scored since facing amateur side Linas-Montlhery in the French Cup on 5 January

Game 1: Atalanta 1-2 Paris St-Germain

The first hint at what was to come in this mini-tournament was offered in sensational style, as Paris St-Germain – victims of some stunning Champions League comebacks themselves in recent years – scored twice in the dying moments to break Atalanta hearts.

Marquinhos’ 90th-minute equaliser rescued PSG, who had trailed since the 26th minute, before former Stoke City frontman Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s 93rd-minute winner sealed the French side’s first semi-final appearance for 25 years.

The goals were separated by just 146 seconds. Champions League debutants Atalanta were speechless. The one-game quarter-final shootouts were well and truly under way.

The big surprises

RB Leipzig have risen from the fifth tier in Germany to the Champions League semi-finals in 11 years

Game 2: RB Leipzig 2-1 Atletico Madrid

The new one-legged ‘final-eight’ format in Portugal, introduced to bring a swifter end to an interrupted Champions League campaign a mere 414 days after the qualifying rounds for the 2019-20 edition began, always had the potential to deliver seismic shocks.

RB Leipzig’s progression to a first Champions League semi-final just 11 years after the club was formed duly delivered on that promise – arriving at the expense of Diego Simeone’s steely Atletico Madrid who had outmanoeuvred reigning champions Liverpool en route.

To the delight of neutrals there was more late drama to digest, as Tyle

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