Sancho stars as Dortmund edge PSG in first leg of CL semi-final

Jadon Sancho was the star of the show as Borussia Dortmund edged PSG 1-0 in a pulsating Champions League semi-final first leg through Niclas Fullkrug’s fine winner.

The England winger, cast out at parent club Man Utd, gave Nuno Mendes a torrid time throughout at the Westfalenstadion and could easily have had a hat-trick of assists had his team-mates had their shooting boots on.

Instead, it was only Fullkrug’s first-half thunderbolt which found the back of the net, the Germany striker firing in at the near post after a fine ball over the top from Nico Schlotterbeck.

Dortmund dominated the opening period and deserved their win, but their lead remained only by the narrowest of margins as Kylian Mbappe and Achraf Hakimi were denied by either post in the same move, before Fabian Ruiz headed a golden chance wide.

Sancho teed up Fullkrug for a simpler finish than his goal soon after but the striker spooned a simple chance over the bar, before the Man Utd loanee played a fine one-two with Julian Brandt whose poor touch denied him another significant opportunity.

Dortmund will still be up against it in France in six days’ time given the Ligue 1 champions’ quality, but Edin Terzic’s unfancied side have taken another step on their unlikely route to the final – and now know even a draw in Paris would be enough to see them there.

Player ratings

Dortmund: Kobel (7), Ryerson (7), Hummels (7), Schlotterbeck (8), Maatsen (7), Can (7), Sabitzer (7), Sancho (9), Brandt (7), Adeyemi (8), Fullkrug (8).

Subs: Wolf, Reus, Nmecha, Moukoko (n/a).

PSG: Donnarumma (7), Hakimi (6), Marquinhos (5), Hernandez (5), Mendes (4), Fabian (5), Vitinha (7), Zaire-Emery (6), Dembele (5), Mbappe (5), Barcola (4).

Subs: Beraldo (5), Kolo Muani (6).

Player of the match: Jadon Sancho

How Dortmund notched deserved first-leg victory

Much of the game at a typically deafening Westfalenstadion was played like a basketball match, with PSG boss Luis Enrique’s prediction of ‘fireworks’ looking likely to come true.

But for the first half, the sparks were only flying towards Gianluigi Donnarumma’s goal, with Marcel Sabitzer first denied on the angle after fine build-up from Sancho and Brandt.

Sancho turned provider again for Brandt who had a go himself soon after, with Marquinhos feeling the full force of his shot before Dortmund struck at the third time of asking.

Fullkrug’s perfectly-timed run was found by Schlotterbeck’s brilliant ball in behind and after a fine touch took him away from Lucas Hernandez, a rasping drive was enough to beat Donnarumma at his near post.

The goalkeeper was given more of a chance from another Sabitzer effort before the break, with Fullkrug’s deft lay-off teeing up the midfielder who gave the huge ‘keeper too much opportunity to keep out his effort.

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Riath Al-Samarrai and Sam Dean heap praise on Jadon Sancho after his brilliant performance in Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League semi-final and question whether parent club Manchester United will want him back next season

PSG had yet to register a shot on target but finally did so two minutes into the second period as Bradley Barcola curled a 25-yard strike straight at Gregor Kobel, moments before the French giants went even closer.

Mbappe cut in from the left and left Kobel helpless with a curling shot towards the far corner, which rebounded off the post and only just away to safety. Even still, it still only reached Hakimi, whose own effort smacked the base of the goalframe before also squirming away.

The chances kept coming for PSG as Fabian was found by a beautiful deep cross from the right and timed his run to perfection to meet it, but somehow headed well wide of the gaping goal from eight yards.

Brandt was less wasteful as he saw a tricky opportunity flash wide, but Fullkrug had little excuse for joining the profligate party when he blazed over after fine work from Sancho on the flank.

Team news

  • Borussia Dortmund reverted to the same team who had beaten Atletico Madrid in their last Champions League game, making four changes from the weekend defeat to RB Leipzig.
  • Newly crowned Ligue 1 champions PSG made six changes from the side who secured the league title at Brest, after resting much of their squad for that game.

A smart Kobel save denied Ousmane Dembele before Fullkrug lifted a header over the bar, before the former then copied the latter in somehow firing over when well-placed after leaning back too far.

Sancho was again denied a goal involvement as his flowing move with Brandt went to waste as the German was denied by a Marquinhos block, before Fabian added to his growing list of personal misses with another from an inviting Vitinha delivery.

Finally, that was the lot as Dortmund held on for a 1-0 victory which could have seen several more goals – but either way, still gives them a priceless victory to take to Paris for the return leg.

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