PSG players celebrate with supporters their victory against AC Milan, on October 25, 2023, at the Parc des Princes, in the group stage of the Champions League. FRANCK FIFE / AFP
It was imperative to redress the situation after the rout on the banks of the Tyne. Beaten (1-4) by Newcastle in a bustling St. James’ Park on October 4, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) knew that the two matches against AC Milan would be crucial for their future in the Champions League. A “turning point”in the words of the coach, Luis Enrique.
If the person concerned repeated in vain, at a press conference, that “nothing will be decided before the last day [des phases de groupe, le 13 décembre] regarding qualification »he nevertheless conceded that the said meetings had the air of “double knockout showdown”.
Wednesday October 25, at the Parc des Princes, PSG got off to a good start in their first turn, inflicting on the Rossoneri the fourth defeat – only – in their history against a French club in seventeen clashes in the most prestigious of European competitions. Final score: 3-0. The thing is all the more beautiful, recalled the stadium announcer, as Paris had never before beaten AC Milan.
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However, Luis Enrique admits, the first twenty minutes of the match were not good. We had to wait before Kylian Mbappé tried his luck from the edge of the area and got the first opportunity of the game. The attempt was without much danger for the Milan goalkeeper, Mike Maignan, but it had the merit of waking up the troops. Served by a dazzling Warren Zaire-Emery, the same Mbappé opened the scoring in the 32nd minute.
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According to the Parisian coach, his group was no longer quite the same when they returned from the locker room. In the 48th minute, Ousmane Dembélé found the net with a low left shot. After resorting to video refereeing, the goal was finally canceled for a foul by Manuel Ugarte on Yunus Musah at the start of the action.
The Parc des Princes did not have long to wait before exulting again since, a few minutes later, Randal Kolo Muani took advantage of a shot from Dembélé, poorly repelled by Mike Maignan, to double the lead (53rd). In the 89th minute, on a decisive pass from Zaire-Emery, the South Korean Kang-in Lee drove the point home.
“A benchmark in terms of atmosphere”
Luis Enrique is convinced of this: “Playing at home really allowed us to rev up. » If his men found their smile again, the Parc des Princes had found its voice: the Auteuil corner, which was closed the previous Saturday for the reception of Strasbourg in Ligue 1, after a sanction for homophobic chants during the classic of the French championship against Olympique de Marseille, end of September.
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