Saturday, December 5, 2020
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UEFA Champions League Final: Bayern Munich beat wasteful PSG by solitary goal to win sixth European title

UEFA Champions League Final 1
Bayern Munich players celebrate winning the Champions League with the trophy

LISBON, August 24: Bayern Munich were crowned European champions for the sixth time after beating Paris St Germain 1-0 thanks to a second-half header from former PSG youth academy graduate Kingsley Coman in an absorbing Champions League final on Sunday.
France international Coman appeared at the back post to head the decisive goal in the 59th minute as Bayern became the first team to lift the Champions League with a 100% record.
There were no fans to witness the triumph but Bayern celebrated as though 80,000 were cheering and, even as the lights went out nearly two hours after the final whistle, three players still sat in the centre circle, savouring the moment.
The victory at the Estadio da Luz, deserved after a dogged display once Bayern got in front, secured a second treble for the Germans, the Bundesliga and German Cup winners, and completed a remarkable first season for coach Hansi Flick.
Flick took over a struggling side in November, after a 5-1 hammering by Eintracht Frankfurt led to the sacking of Niko Kovac with the club fourth in the Bundesliga.
“It feels fantastic, we have a long journey behind us,” said Bayern midfielder Thomas Mueller.
“We came from very low, at least that is what it felt like, in the autumn and put in a sensational run. We had a bit of luck tonight and had (Manuel) Neuer in goal,” he added.
PSG, who were playing in their first Champions League final, paid the price for wastefulness in the first half as Neymar and Kylian Mbappe failed to beat Neuer from close range.
The French club has benefitted from huge investment by Qatari Sports Investments but, while dominant in their domestic league, they fell short at the final hurdle in Europe.
“We’re sad but we don’t forget all the positive things we did this season,” said PSG’s Qatari president Nasser al Khelaifi.
INSPIRED DECISION
Flick opted to start with Coman instead of Croatian Ivan Perisic on the left flank and it was an inspired decision.
Jerome Boateng was deemed fit to start in Bayern’s central defence, having recovered from a knock picked up in the semi-final win over Olympique Lyonnais.
After a cagey opening, Neymar burst into life in the 18th minute, scampering into the box and firing off a left-foot shot but Neuer’s outstretched leg foiled the Brazilian.
It was hardly an easy chance but it was the kind of opportunity that PSG fans were hoping their 222 million euro ($261.89 million) striker would turn into a moment of glory.
Four minutes later Bayern’s goal threat, Robert Lewandowski, was found in the box by a left wing cross from Alphonso Davies and given too much room to turn but his shot struck the post.
PSG were certainly asking questions of the Bayern defence and the livewire Angel Di Maria, after a quick exchange on the edge of the area, created space for a shot but his effort, with his weaker right foot, flew high and wide.
Bayern’s gamble to start Boateng looked misplaced when he hobbled off in the 25th minute, being replaced by Niklas Suele.
PSG’s industrious midfielder Ander Herrera then had a fierce effort from distance deflected wide, while at the other end Lewandowski’s stooping header from close range forced a fine reflex save out of Navas.
Mbappe, PSG’s talented French World Cup-winning striker, should have done better just before the break when, after a smart one-two with Herrera, he shot straight at Neuer.
COMAN HEADER
It was a scrappy start to the second half with both sides struggling to find any composure but the game came alive just before the hour mark.
After a well worked move down the right Joshua Kimmich picked out Coman at the back post and he got behind Thilo Kehrer to head firmly into the bottom corner.
Coman threatened in the same area again moments later, after Mueller found him with a cross, and Thiago Silva had to block the volley.
Bayern were starting to look in control and PSG coach Thomas Tuchel responded by throwing on his Italian midfielder Marco Verratti in a bid to change the momentum.
But Flick’s side were in no mood to give up their lead and they fought for every ball with tenacity, reducing any chance PSG had to find openings for their expensive strikeforce.
One final opportunity did come, in stoppage time, when Mbappe broke down the inside-left channel and found Neymar who turned sharply but saw his shot go harmlessly wide.
The PSG dream was over, the debutant finalists defeated by the determination, organisation and remarkable consistency of the formidable and now six-times champions of Europe.
Over 150 arrested as PSG fans riot after defeat
More than 150 people were arrested as Paris Saint-Germain fans set cars ablaze, smashed shop windows and clashed with police in the French capital after their team’s Champions League final defeat to Bayern Munich, police said Monday.
The violence occurred around the Parc des Princes stadium and on the Champs-Elysees avenue during and after the match on Sunday night, police said on Twitter.
Thousands of supporters had gathered at the Parc des Princes to cheer on PSG, lighting flares and chanting as they watched the 1-0 defeat in Lisbon on a big screen.
Even as it battles a resurgence of coronavirus infection, France allows up to 5,000 people to attend big events such as sports matches, provided social distancing and other protective measures are in place.
The trouble lasted several hours, as groups of fans threw bottles and fireworks at police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, an AFP reporter said.
On the Champs-Elysees, vehicles were set on fire, windows broken and shops vandalised.
Police said 151 people were arrested on charges including violence against law enforcers, theft, possession of stolen goods, damage to property and refusing orders to disperse. They include 49 minors.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Twitter that 16 police were injured, 12 shops attacked and about 15 vehicles damaged in the rampage.
In a tweet on Sunday night, he condemned the “unacceptable” violence and thanked the police who arrested “small violent groups, troublemakers.”
Burned-out cars and broken glass still littered the Champs-Elysees Monday morning, where rioters had vandalised and broken into a flagship branch of French sports goods chain Decathlon.
Far-right National Rally (RN) leader Marine Le Pen, in a tweet, accused the government of failing to “prevent scenes of rioting that tarnish sport and ridicule the authority of the state.”
Social distancing measures were ignored inside and outside the Parc des Princes among fans who had hoped to see their Qatar-owned team’s first triumph in Europe’s top club competition.
Police said 404 people were stopped for not wearing face masks, now mandatory in parts of the city as part of measures to curb the coronavirus outbreak.
Anne Souyris, deputy Paris mayor in charge of health issues, said supporters who followed the match in groups should all take coronavirus tests.
“All those who stayed together all the evening and the night need to go and do a test,” she told Franceinfo radio.
“We see hundreds upon hundreds of people who are not wearing a mask and that’s a real problem,” she said. “I firmly urge all those who were on the Champs-Elysees to get tested,” she added.
There has been growing concern in recent days over a surge in coronavirus cases in France which authorities have blamed largely on young people not observing social distancing rules.
Almost 4,900 new cases were recorded on Sunday, a new post-lockdown record.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo had called for “mature celebrations” should PSG beat Bayern, after supporters clashed with police following their 3-0 win over RB Leipzig in the semi-finals.
“I’m gutted! They wasted too many chances and unfortunately in the final that just doesn’t fly,” said Nicolas Mounier as he left the stadium peacefully.
“We are disappointed but we weren’t dreadful,” another PSG fan, Anne Vaneson, told AFP.
“In the first half, we were on a level playing field but we paid for a dip in performance in the first 20 minutes of the second half.”
In the Mediterranean city of Marseille emotions were different. Supporters of local favourites Olympique de Marseille could not hide their glee over the downfall of their Paris rivals.
“It is time to party, they have lost!” said Samir M’Kirech, watching the match at a pub in the Vieux-Port waterside area of the city where a huge cheer had gone up as Bayern scored the winning goal.
Police urged any PSG supporters in Marseille to remain discreet and even banned supporters from wearing PSG shirts around the Vieux-Port. That decision was rapidly reversed after an outcry. (Reuters/AFP)

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