Champions League: PSG and Borussia Dortmund land in the semifinals after two exciting comebacks

Despite starting with the advantage achieved in the first legs, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid were eliminated from Europe's most important club tournament.

The return leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals began with two comebacks on Tuesday afternoon. Both Paris Saint Germain (PSG) and Borussia Dortmund, coming from two respective defeats, reached the semifinals of the most important club tournament on the 'old continent,' knocking out FC Barcelona and Atlético Madrid.

The French team had not reached this stage of the competition since 2020, when they were finalists and lost to Bayern Munich, while the Germans had not done so since 2013, when they were also finalists and lost against the Bavarians.

Thus, awaiting the matches on Wednesday, the first semifinal of the tournament was confirmed: PSG against Borussia Dortmund. Both teams had already faced each other in the group stage, where they drew, and PSG won 2-0.

Mbappe will play another Champions League final

Despite being superior in the first leg, PSG lost at home to Xavi Hernandez's team, who managed to leave the City of Light with a 3-2 lead. However, they wouldn't be able to hold on to the advantage.

Everything seemed rosy with Raphinha's initial 1-0 goal, perhaps the best player for Barcelona in the series, who opened the scoring twelve minutes into the first half. With this result, Luis Enrique's team had to score three goals to qualify, which seemed unlikely until the 29th minute when Ronald Araujo was sent off for bringing down Bradley Barcora as he was about to go solo against Marc André Ter-Stegen's goal. Since the foul was outside the area, the referee opted for a straight red, leading to the substitution of Lamine Yamal, a key player in Barça's attack.

The Parisian club quickly equalized through Ousmane Dembélé's left foot, who once again celebrated the law of the former against his former team. The temporary draw still favored Barcelona, who had to hold on for 45 minutes.

PSG turned the tie around in the 55th minute after Barcelona's defensive lapse, which ended with a precise shot from Vitinha, who had also scored in the first leg.

Kylian Mbappe, rumored to be joining Real Madrid next season, was responsible for sealing the tie. First, in the 61st minute, a penalty was awarded for a foul on Dembélé, and then, in the 89th minute, he put a rebound into the net to seal the series.

The French star will play his second Champions League semifinal and already has his sights set on the trophy he was denied in 2020.

"My dream is to win the Champions League with PSG. Tonight, we have beaten a great team, and we will try to reach Wembley. We played a great game as a team, as a collective. We worked for six days since the first leg with the idea that we were going to do it that we were going to win here. It's a great day for everyone at the club," he declared after the match.

The elimination extended Barcelona's agony in Europe, where they have not competed since the 2017/2018 season, when they reached the semifinals and lost to Liverpool in the memorable comeback at Anfield Road. This is the only exception since the 2015/2016 season, as they have failed to advance past the quarterfinals since then. In other words, out of the last 9 Champions Leagues, they have only surpassed the quarterfinals once.

Dortmund surprised Simeone in Germany

On the other side, Atletico Madrid arrived with a 2-1 advantage at Signal Iduna Park, one of the most intense stadiums in Europe. Despite having a better squad than the third-placed team in the Bundesliga, the Spanish team followed Barcelona's fate and was also eliminated in the quarterfinals.

In hindsight, the series began to turn a few minutes into the game when Álvaro Morata wasted an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. The former Chelsea striker crossed with his left foot, but the ball kissed the left post of Gregor Kobel.

After exchanging approaches for thirty minutes, Borussia Dortmund took the lead in the series with two goals in five minutes, scored by Julian Brandt and Ian Maatsen.

Diego Simeone's side was not going to give up easily. After a triple change at halftime, Atlético regained the lead thanks to an own goal by Hummels and a goal from Ángel Correa. However, the joy would be short-lived after five minutes.

After seventy minutes, Marcel Sabitzer found Niclas Füllkrug's head, who put his team back in the game. Relief would come quickly for the German fans, as three minutes later, Sabitzer himself would seal the 4-2 final score and Dortmund's first semifinal since 2013.