Mbappe double fires PSG past Real Sociedad to Champions League quarters

AFP , Wednesday 6 Mar 2024

Kylian Mbappe lethally fired Paris Saint-Germain into the Champions League quarter-finals with a brace in a 2-1 win at Real Sociedad on Tuesday, his team cruising through 4-1 on aggregate.

Paris Saint-Germain s French forward #07 Kylian Mbappe (L) celebrates scoring his team s second goal during the UEFA Champions League last 16 second leg football match between Real Sociedad and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Anoeta stadium in San Sebastian on March 5, 2024. Photo: AFP


Coach Luis Enrique has slashed Mbappe's minutes in recent weeks after the player told the club he would leave at the end of the season, but the France captain proved he will be vital if PSG are to finally win the competition for the first time.

The electric Mbappe was impossible for Real Sociedad to shackle and his strikes after 15 and 56 minutes left the Ligue 1 leaders with a simple night in the north of Spain.

Heavily linked to Real Madrid, the determined Mbappe gave La Liga's defences a glimpse of what horrors may await them next season.

The forward fired over in the opening stages and then blazed past Hamari Traore to set up Bradley Barcola, but Alex Remiro denied him from point-blank range.

It was not so much that Real Sociedad did not heed the warning but simply could not stop him.

Played into the box but wide of goal, Mbappe produced the opener from thin air.

With a couple of clever touches he sent Igor Zubeldia scrambling and opened up enough space for a shot, which he whipped into the far corner from a tight angle.

Mbappe's vicious strike pulled part of the netting away from the post and players had to wait until it was fixed for play to resume.

They might not have bothered -- the contest was effectively over.

Mbappe stretched PSG's lead 11 minutes into the second half, racing in behind the defence from the halfway line.

The striker shaped another shot to the far post but then tricked Remiro by sweeping home at the near for his sixth goal in eight Champions League matches this season.

Real Sociedad substitute Ander Barrenetxea had a goal ruled out for a tight offside moments after coming on.

Gianluigi Donnarumma made a superb save to thwart Benat Turrientes, as the hosts finally began to threaten consistently, in search of a consolation goal which finally came at the death.

Donnarumma palmed away a cross into the middle of the box and Mikel Merino was in the right place at the right time to fire home.

Another of the few negative notes for PSG was a booking for defender Achraf Hakimi, which will rule him out of the quarter-final first leg.

PSG will worry about that later -- this was a night to celebrate Mbappe's genius, despite the clock ticking down on his days in Paris.

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