Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting had scored only eight goals in just under two seasons since joining Paris Saint-Germain from Stoke but he was in the right place to tap home the winner against Atalanta in a Champions League quarter-final the Ligue 1 side looked set to lose.
Choupo-Moting arrived in the box to turn home a Neymar cross in injury time, just minutes after Marquinhos had equalised after Mario Pasalic had scored the opener for Atalanta before the break. The striker, who came on with 11 minutes to play, could not hide his delight but his gaze has already turned to the prospect of winning the final.
“It was all in all a crazy game, a tough game, tough opponent and I think we showed such good morale until the last second. We believed in us,” Choupo-Moting told BT Sport. “It wasn’t easy for us, we has some good occasions, they had a great game, unbelievable game.
“When I came on I thought to myself ‘we can’t lose, we can’t go home like that’. I was confident in the team, in myself and the rest is a little history of Paris.”
Next up in the abridged version of the knockout stages will be RB Leipzig or Atlético Madrid in the semi-finals. No team in PSG’s side of the draw have won the competition before, so the momentum earned with the late win over Atalanta could be important.“It seems like a long time that we have never won the Champions League. With such a team, you have to have this ambition. It’s such a big club. We will give everything in the next game and continue to believe. Football has its stories.
“We have won already four titles this season, but the most important is this one. We really believe in ourselves and we did it today. Everybody knows we have individual top quality but we wanted to show it also as a team and it is a big step today against a very good opponent. Respect to Atalanta and I’m very happy that we did it today.”
For Atalanta the result was heartbreaking but the midfielder Marten de Roon hoped tey will be able to look back on their Champions League campaign with pride once the hurt has subsided.
He told www.uefa.com: “At this moment, it’s quite painful. Tomorrow, I will be proud of our team and club. We played a good first half where we made if difficult for Paris, we put them under some pressure and had some minor chances. In the second half, we sat a little deeper. You have to defend with 11 men and we did it so well until this unfortunate moment in the last minute.”