Mbappe Shines as PSG Cruise Past Real Sociedad to Return to UEFA Champions League Quarterfinals

Kylian Mbappe led Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) back to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over Real Sociedad that kept alive the French club’s hopes of winning the European title in its last season with the France forward.

PSG advanced 4-1 on aggregate, with Mbappe also scoring one of the goals in the 2-0 win in the first leg in Paris three weeks ago. Mbappe has already told PSG he will not stay with the club after this season, the Spanish MARCA newspaper reported.

Despite huge spending to try to win the UEFA Champions League for the first time, PSG had been eliminated from the last 16 five times in the last seven seasons, including the last two. It had made it to the semifinals in 2021 and was runner-up in 2020.

Mbappe was the difference-maker again, opening the scoring with a beautiful goal in the 15th minute after a couple of nifty moves inside the area to cut back from near the touchline and fire a firm right-footed shot into the far corner. The shot broke the netting
by the far post, prompting a short stoppage in play so it could be fixed.

Mbappe’s second goal came in the 56th with a run that started from near the midfield line. He sped to the open space to collect a long pass by Lee Kang-in and calmly found the net from inside the area.

At 25 years and 76 days, Mbappe became the second-youngest player to reach 45 Champions League goals, from group stage to final. Lionel Messi reached that mark at 24 years and 257 days. Mbappé stands at 46 goals.

Mbappé hadn’t scored in his last two appearances with PSG but had eight goals in his last eight matches with the club. He had been replaced in the last two matches but played through the final whistle.

PSG had won 10 of its last 13 matches in all competitions but was coming off consecutive draws against Rennes and Monaco in the French league.

Mikel Merino scored Sociedad’s lone goal in the 89th.

Sociedad was trying to advance past the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time. The Basque Country club hadn’t played
in Europe’s top club tournament since 2013-14. Its best European campaign was in 1982-83, when it reached the semifinals of the European Cup.

Sociedad started the season strong and won its Champions League group for the first time, but it has been going through a slump recently. It has lost six times in its last seven matches in all competitions, and has only one win in its last nine games.

The Spanish club had outplayed PSG during most of the first leg before conceding twice in the second half. Sociedad had a goal by Ander Barrenetxea disallowed for offside in the 63rd.

Source: Oman News Agency