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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Luis Enrique’s PSG emerges from the crisis thanks to Dortmund | Soccer | Sports

The effervescent Group F of the Champions, probably the most powerful quartet of teams in the competition, began to settle their fate in the same way in San Siro as in the Parc des Princes. To the south, as to the north, visitors came to the first European event of the course formed like musk oxen, huddled together, shoulder to shoulder in 100 square meters to defend themselves from the attack of the wolves. Against Giroud and Leao’s Milan, Newcastle emerged victorious from the San Siro (0-0). The Dortmund herd had less luck, surrendered by Mbappé, Dembélé and the arts of Vitinha (2-0).



Gianluigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi, Skriniar, Marquinhos, Lucas (Danilo Pereira, min. 87), Manuel Ugarte, Vitor Ferreira (Lee Kang-In, min. 80), Warren Zaïre-Emery, Ousmane Dembélé, Kylian Mbappe and Randal Kolo Muani (Goncalo Ramos, min. 79)


B. Dortmund

Gregor Kobel, Hummels, Nico Schlotterbeck, Niklas Süle, Brandt (Marco Reus, min. 61), Marius Wolf (Rami Bensebaini, min. 77), Julian Ryerson, M. Sabitzer (Felix NMecha, min. 13), Emre Can ( Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, min. 76), Malen (Füllkrug, min. 61) and Karim Adeyemi

Goals 1-0 min. 49: Kylian Mbappe. 2-0 min. 57: Achraf Hakimi.

Referee Jesus Gil Manzano

Yellow cards Nico Schlotterbeck (min. 66), Emre Can (min. 67) and Julian Ryerson (min. 90)

The outcome of the day was a relief for Luis Enrique. The Spanish coach was going through critical hours. The defeat against Nice (2-3) last Friday called into question the very foundation of a project radically different from the one that characterized the Parisian club in the last decade. Without Neymar, without Messi, without Verratti, without Ramos, and with Mbappé seriously questioned, the team looked into the unknown. It took him a while to see the light. Almost an hour. The fissure opened on the right, thanks to a raid by Dembélé.

Dembélé broke from the outside and Mbappé responded to his violent center with a sublime shot. With one touch, adjusting the supports to turn without giving the defender time to react, he did not find the goal, but forced the heavy Süle into such an unexpected change of direction that he fell to the ground. As he fell, the ball hit his hand and the referee, Gil Manzano, declared a penalty. The second half had started a few minutes ago. It was PSG’s first shot on target and it was 1-0. A goal that decompressed the boiler at the Parc des Princes and freed the local team’s footballers, overwhelmed after a hesitant start to the season. They had just won two games out of five in Ligue 1. A pittance for the richest club in France.

Dortmund appeared in Paris in its most conservative version. Edin Terzic, the house coach, proverbially prudent, knows himself so much that he usually inhibits himself at the slightest threat. The mere presence of Mbappé and Dembélé pushed him to transform what he had been practicing this summer to play with five defenders, the de rigueur solution when it comes to protecting Hummels. In reality, since his return to the Ruhr, fired by Bayern, the decadent German central defender has conditioned the construction of the team. Hummels seemed so rigid and slow that this Tuesday he required Can, Süle and Schlotterbeck to cover all four sides. Schlotterbeck gave an exhibition. But Dortmund retreated so much that there was no way. Their structure deformed against the nature of the majority of their good players, the German team bowed to PSG. Vitinha stood out at the head of the harassers.

Ubiquitous Vitinha

The little Portuguese circulated throughout the field with an eagerness to participate. He was the leader of the pressure and governor of the distribution in the last third of the field, where the good are threshed from the excellent. Vitinha was the loosest of a group of players evidently nervous in front of an impatient fan. Where others thought twice, like Ugarte, or where they were obsessed with transferring, like Zaïre-Emery, he came to ask for the ball and passed it punctually and calmly. Along the way he sent a ball to the post and invented a shot from outside, which would have gone into the net if Wolf did not deflect it. Around him, PSG established itself with and without the ball. Because Luis Enrique’s team shook off their nerves by dint of a tenacious and orderly defense in the opponent’s field. The pressure was overwhelming.

Without honor and without the ball, Dortmund found very soon that their fortification would not hold out. Coming back from the break, somewhat accidentally, PSG struck the first blow. Terzic had not reacted at 1-0 when Vitinha put the final nail in the coffin of the visiting team. His double wall on Hakimi between the legs of Hummels and Can, spread out, concluded with a subtle definition of the Moroccan. After a pause before goalkeeper Kobel.

The 2-0 score put PSG on track to qualify for Group F, probably the most competitive of the first phase. What remained of the game was a succession of gallops by Mbappé culminated with a crooked look in front of a grateful fan who already seems to have forgotten his summer whims.

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