Football

Bayern Munich beats PSG to win Champions League title

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Bayern Munich won the UEFA Champions League 2019/2020 title after a 1-0 win over PSG with Kingsley Coman’s 59th-minute goal in Lisbon, Portugal on Sunday.

The title is Bayern’s sixth European Cup, and it cements a repeat of the club’s feat in 2013 when it won the treble (domestic league, domestic cup, European cup).

Bayern won every match from the group stage through the final, and it survived a valiant challenge from PSG, which was looking for its first European title to validate its abundance of spending since its Qatari ownership took over.

Bayern made one significant change to its starting XI, swapping Coman, an ex-PSG youth product, in for Ivan Perisic on the wing. That was a move that proved to be wise for manager Hansi Flick. PSG, meanwhile, stuck with its semifinal starters save for goalkeeper, where Keylor Navas is back after a one-game injury absence.

PSG was fortunate after giving the ball away in its own half in the second minute. Bayern’s press forced the early turnover, but Leon Goretzka misplaced his pass in trying to turn that opportunity into an early goal.

Bayern kept the ball in PSG’s half for the vast majority of the opening stages, boxing the French side into its half as it continued to insist on building forward methodically as opposed to hoofing it long for Kylian Mbappe or Neymar to chase.

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A Bayern turnover, for a change, gave PSG its first moment of danger in the ninth minute, with Mbappe drawing a foul on Thiago Alcantara and winning a free kick in a dangerous spot. Neymar opted to play the free-kick to the back post, though, and Davies was able to defend it cleanly.

PSG finally did ping a long diagonal in Mbappe’s direction in the 14th minute, and good things nearly came from it. Mbappe hit Juan Bernat on the overlapping run with a backheel pass, and after the return, ball powered a shot that was blocked before it could trouble goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. A second block on a Mbappe shot came a minute later after Leandro Paredes bent a perfect cross in the French star’s direction.

Neuer was called into action for the first time after Neymar got in behind down the left-hand side, making a save with the back of his heel and then diving to prevent Neymar from keeping the rebound alive in the 19th minute, but at this point, PSG had begun to assert itself after Bayern’s early dominance.

The momentum tilted back in the red side’s favour in the 22nd minute, with Robert Lewandowski nearly opening the scoring. He turned and put his chance from inside the box on target, beating Navas but hitting the post as the match stayed scoreless.

PSG then came close on the other end, with Angel Di Maria firing just over the bar on his look from the right after being set up by Neymar and Ander Herrera on the counter.

Bayern was forced into an injury substitution after 25 minutes, with veteran defender Jerome Boateng needing to be helped off the field. Niklas Sule replaced him for the first of Bayern’s five allotted subs.

Navas was called into action in the 31st minute, with Lewandowski contorting his body to turn a header on frame, only for the Costa Rican goalkeeper to make the stop.

Bayern got away with one just before halftime, after David Alaba’s giveaway instantly turned into a PSG chance in the box. Mbappe wound up with a clear look on goal from about 12 yards, but he hit it right at Neuer.

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Coman celebrates after scoring against PSG in the Champions League final in Lisbon
Coman celebrates after scoring against PSG in the Champions League final in Lisbon

The first moment of true controversy came just before halftime. Coman was on his way around right back Thilo Kehrer, when the defender put his hands on the Bayern winger. Coman went to ground, but referee Daniele Orsato swallowed the whistle, and the play was not reviewed by VAR.

After the high-level play in the first half, both teams were a bit disjointed and chippy coming out of the locker room. The physicality bubbled over in the 51st minute when Gnabry clipped Neymar’s ankle and players from both teams stood toe-to-toe, with Gnabry seeing a yellow card for his foul and Paredes getting booked for his actions in the scrum.

The opener finally came in the 59th minute. After a lovely passing sequence that started in Bayern’s half, Joshua Kimmich lofted a pinpoint curling ball from the right to the far post, where Coman burned his former team with a header to make it 1-0.

Neuer made the lead stand up with another kick save, denying Marquinhos, whose late-surging run met Di Maria’s inventive setup in the 70th minute.

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After what happened before halftime, PSG had a penalty shout of its own with a quarter of an hour to go. Mbappe got played in behind the Bayern defence on the right, and though Bayern’s players recovered en masse, Mbappe still danced his way into the box and went down under apparent contact, looking for a penalty. The referee didn’t give it, though, and Bayern maintained its lead.

PSG kept surging for that equalizer, and it nearly came in stoppage time. Mbappe got in behind down the left on the counter yet again, and he found Neymar in the box. With the shooting angle cut off, Neymar whizzed a ball across for substitute Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, but he couldn’t redirect the chance on goal.

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