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Champions League roundup: Kylian Mbappé nets PSG’s winner, 10-man Bayern falls to Lazio

champions-league-roundup:-kylian-mbappe-nets-psg’s-winner,-10-man-bayern-falls-to-lazio
Champions League roundup: Kylian Mbappé nets PSG’s winner, 10-man Bayern falls to Lazio

A day after the 2023-24 UEFA Champions League campaign resumed with the start of the knockout stage, Tuesday featured two more marquee round of 16 first leg matches. 

Kylian Mbappé scored the game-winner for Paris Saint-Germain in a 2-0 victory over Spanish side Real Sociedad in the French capital:

In Rome, Germany’s Bayern Munich were upset by Lazio 1-0 on Ciro Immobile’s second-half penalty kick. 

Bayern center back Dayot Upamecano was shown a red card on the play that sent Immobile to the spot, ruling him out of the decisive second leg of the home-and-home match on March 5.

Here are three quick takeaways from Tuesday’s contests. 

Mbappé’s goal paces PSG after an unconvincing start 

For close to an hour at the Parc des Princes, the home side had no answers despite their clear status as the favorites to advance to the quarterfinals of the world’s most prestigious club competition for the first time since 2021. Sure, PSG had the better of the play. They had more of the ball. They had more shots, including a first half effort by Mbappé that was acrobatically turned around the post by Sociedad keeper Álex Remiro:

What the Parisians’ high octane attack couldn’t do was turn one of their chances into a lead. That lack of ruthlessness almost cost them dearly; Sociedad had its chances, too, and came inches away from converting one that would’ve given them a shocking halftime advantage. 

Whatever PSG boss Luis Enrique told his squad during the break worked. PSG began the second half with a clear sense of urgency, and the precision that was lacking earlier was forgotten the moment Mbappé pounced on a corner kick that had been deflected by teammate Marquinhos and stabbed the ball past Remiro to make it 1-0. 

The goal changed everything. It’s no secret that PSG is under immense pressure to make a deep run this spring in what could be Mbappé’s final few months with his hometown club. That tension was evident before PSG went ahead. The outcome never seemed in doubt afterward, though, with Bradley Barcola doubling the aggregate advantage just 12 minutes later. 

Bayern Munich’s season on the brink 

It’s not an insult to suggest that Bayern Munich’s fans have gotten a little spoiled through the years. Winning the Bundesliga title 11 consecutive times will do that. Success is expected in European play, too, and Bayern — which last won the Champions League in 2020 – are one of the favorites this year alongside holders Manchester City and 14-time winner Real Madrid

But Bayern is languishing five points behind German leaders Bayer Leverkusen in domestic play. And now that they trail Lazio 1-0 on aggregate following Tuesday’s loss at Stadio Olimpico, Thomas Tuchel’s side – which already has been eliminated from the German Cup — is facing the unthinkable: a season without a single piece of silverware. 

Things seemed to be going well enough early in Rome. Jamal Musiala came close to giving Tuchel’s team the lead with what was probably the best chance for either foe in the first half. 

But things went sideways quickly when Upamecano was sent off for a sliding challenge inside his own 18-yard box – one that also sent Lazio to the penalty spot. Immobile stepped up and beat Manuel Neuer and, with a man advantage for the final 20-plus minutes, the hosts held on for a famous victory. 

Meantime, Bayern’s defeat marked its first in a round of 16 opener since 2012. 

Plenty at stake when these teams meet again 

Make no mistake: a 1-0 lead is hardly insurmountable for a team as stacked as Bayern. They’ll be playing in front of their own fans when the decisive match kicks off on March 5. A multi-goal triumph is entirely possible. 

Still, there’s an unmistakable sense of doom among Bayern supporters currently. Hired just one year ago, Tuchel has been heavily criticized and surely will be shown the door if the club crashes out of the competition next month. And it won’t help that Upamecano will now miss the second leg through suspension. 

For PSG, the return match in Spain might seem like a formality. But after consecutive exits at this stage of the tournament, Mbappé & Co. can’t take anything for granted. Only another decisive win will be enough to keep the pressure at bay ahead of the quarterfinals — assuming, of course, that the Parisians don’t squander the 2-0 lead they eventually earned on Tuesday.

 Doug McIntyre is a soccer writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and he has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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