Top-seeded Celtics, Thunder win second round playoff series openers

Top-seeded Celtics, Thunder win second round playoff series openers
Top-seeded Celtics, Thunder win second round playoff series openers

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - PARIS: Mats Hummels headed in the only goal as Borussia Dortmund stunned Kylian Mbappe and Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League semifinal second leg on Tuesday, winning 1-0 on the night and advancing 2-0 on aggregate to next month’s final at Wembley.

Hummels struck five minutes into the second half at the Parc des Princes and PSG were unable to muster a response, the home side all out of luck as they hit the woodwork four times in total.

Dortmund, who sit fifth in the German Bundesliga, were never expected to go so far and will be underdogs in the June 1 showpiece regardless of whether they face their old rivals Bayern Munich or Real Madrid, who meet on Wednesday.

It will be their first final since 2013 when, remarkably, the match was also played at Wembley and Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund lost to Bayern.

Hummels played in that final and here, 11 years later, he was the hero as Dortmund built on the advantage given to them by Niclas Fuellkrug’s goal in the first leg.

“It’ll take us a bit of time to realize that, but we’re looking forward to it extremely,” Dortmund coach Edin Terzic told broadcaster Amazon Prime of getting to the final.

“We did it somehow, making it to London.”

The story of this semifinal, however, is as much about PSG’s failure in another crunch knockout tie in the competition.

They have still never won the trophy despite all the money invested by their Qatari owners since the 2011 takeover, and there will be no dream send-off for Mbappe.

He will leave when his contract expires after this season and had been hoping to play his last game for the club in the June 1 final.

Instead PSG will be left to reflect on how they failed to get their hands on the biggest trophy of all during Mbappe’s seven years at his hometown team.

“We were not clinical enough. They scored two goals, one from a corner and one from a long ball. We created lots more chances, many more than them, but we didn’t take them,” PSG captain Marquinhos told Canal Plus.

“We got so close and we wanted to get to the final. But we had to win tonight and be more clinical, and we were not.”

PSG’s last two semifinal appearances both came during the pandemic, meaning this was the first time they had hosted a match at this stage of a European competition with fans in 29 years, since losing to AC Milan in 1995.

Luis Enrique’s team had won 2-0 at home against Dortmund in the group stage and were safe in the knowledge that a repeat of that performance would be enough.

The PSG coach made one major selection decision, dropping Bradley Barcola and bringing in Portuguese striker Goncalo Ramos. That meant moving Mbappe from the middle onto the left wing.

Dortmund would have been bracing themselves for an onslaught from kick-off, but that did not transpire.

Mbappe took only seven minutes to produce his first attempt, yet his volley was easily saved by Dortmund goalkeeper Gregor Kobel.

The hosts had most of the possession but struggled to get Mbappe into the game, the France captain often looking isolated on the wing.

In fact it was Dortmund who had the best chance of the first half, when Karim Adeyemi led a counterattack before seeing his shot saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

It felt as though the hosts needed to change something or risk going out with a whimper.

They should have been ahead two minutes after the restart, when Ramos touched on a ball driven into the box by Mbappe, but Warren Zaire-Emery contrived to hit the post from close range.

That was to prove crucial as Dortmund struck moments later.

PSG cheaply conceded a corner, and Julian Brandt’s delivery from the Dortmund right was headed in by Hummels.

Ramos swept a shot over on the hour mark before Nuno Mendes became the second PSG player to strike the right-hand post, this time with a powerful shot from distance.

It was starting to look as if it would not be PSG’s night, and Luis Enrique realized he had to act as he sent on Barcola and Marco Asensio for Ramos and Fabian Ruiz, moving Mbappe through the middle.

Dortmund sent on an extra defender in the hulking Niklas Suele and they withstood everything PSG threw at them while also being helped by the frame of the goal.

Kobel turned Mbappe’s shot onto the bar on 86 minutes and Vitinha also rattled the woodwork but Dortmund hung on to book their date in London.

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