Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) players on Wednesday celebrated with supporters gathered outside the ground after Neymar set them on their way to a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund behind closed doors, taking them through to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals 3-2 on aggregate.
PSG needed to overturn a 2-1 defeat in the first leg of their last-16 tie in Germany, but Neymar’s 28th-minute header put them ahead on the night in the second leg amid a surreal atmosphere, as banned supporters congregated outside the Parc des Princes instead.
Juan Bernat then deflected in a Pablo Sarabia assist to make it 2-0 and PSG — for whom Kylian Mbappe was only fit enough to appear as a substitute — go through to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2016.
Dortmund finished the night with 10 men after Emre Can was sent off.
The game was played behind closed doors after the French government banned all gatherings of more than 1,000 people due to the coronavirus pandemic, but many still gathered outside.
Those supporters brandished flares as the team bus arrived before the game, and sang and set off fireworks throughout the match.
PSG players rushed to a concourse at the back of the stadium to celebrate with them at the end of the game after breaking a run of three straight exits in the first knockout round of the competition.
“We played like a team. It was a pleasure to be their coach tonight,” PSG coach Thomas Tuchel told broadcaster RMC Sport. “The atmosphere was great coming here in the bus, with all the ultras singing. We were all singing together and it was a special atmosphere. It needed a huge effort from us — playing without spectators made it all the more difficult.”
Neymar was caught on camera in tears after the match, having shaken off desperate disappointment in the competition in the past two years, with injury preventing him from playing in the second leg against Real Madrid at this stage in 2018 and in both legs against Manchester United last season.
Dortmund were disappointing, with Erling Braut Haaland never looking like he might repeat his first-leg heroics when he netted twice.
Dortmund defender Mats Hummels admitted that his team struggled with the atmosphere.
“It was really bizarre, but for both teams,” Hummels said. “The start of the game was really strange, like a friendly.”
Mbappe’s absence from the starting lineup was just the latest blow for Tuchel, who was also without the suspended Marco Verratti and injured centerback Thiago Silva.
That meant that Edinson Cavani and Pablo Sarabia started through the middle of the attack, while Leandro Paredes was selected in midfield.
Cavani was denied the opener in the 25th minute when Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki stretched out a leg to tip his shot around the post.
The opening goal followed soon after, Neymar stealing in front of his marker to stoop and head in Angel di Maria’s corner.
The PSG supporters outside responded to the Brazilian’s second goal in the tie by exploding more fireworks in celebration.
PSG scored again in first-half stoppage-time. This time Di Maria laid the ball out to Sarabia on the right side of the penalty area, and his low ball was diverted into the far corner by Bernat.
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