After all the wrong turns, all the heartache and disappointment, the humiliations and the turnarounds and the gut-wrenching collapses, Paris St.-Germain has finally done what it was designed and built to do. Nine years after it became home to one of the most expensive and ambitious projects in world soccer, the French champion has reached the Champions League final.
Given the club’s recent history in this competition — its ability to snatch defeat when victory seemed assured, its many and varied ways of falling at the last hurdle — it did so in the most uncharacteristic manner imaginable: with no drama, no tension, and while barely breaking a sweat.
P.S.G. cruised past its overmatched and inexperienced German opponent, RB Leipzig, by 3-0 in the first of the competition’s two semifinals on Tuesday night in Lisbon. Manager Thomas Tuchel’s team seized control with an early goal — a wonderful header from Marquinhos, its Brazilian defensive midfielder — and then doubled its advantage when Angel Di Maria seized upon a loose pass from Peter Gulacsi, Leipzig’s goalkeeper, and completed a quick sequence of passes involving two teammates.
Leipzig’s vanishing hopes of a comeback disappeared early in the second half, when another defensive error allowed Juan Bernat to stretch P.S.G.’s lead to three. Though Leipzig offered an improved display in the second half, P.S.G. rarely seemed threatened; Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, the team’s twin stars, could afford to smile at missed chances or wasted opportunities.