Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) won 2-0 in the first Group F match of the 2023-24 UEFA Champions League (UCL) against Dortmund at Parc des Princes in Paris, France, at 4 a.m. on the 20th (Korea time). PSG started UCL fresh at the top of the group due to the same group Newcastle United and AC Milan being tied.
The starting list was released ahead of the game. PSG started Kylian Mbappe, Randal Kolo-Muani, Usman Dembele, Warren Jair Emery, Manuel Ugarte, Vitinha, Ashraf Hakimi, Marquignos, Milan Shkriniar, Luca Hernandez and Gianluigi Donnarumma. Lee Kang-in, who returned from injury, started off the bench with Gonzalo Hamus, Keylor Navas, and Fabien Lewis.
In Dortmund against this, Karim Adeyemi, Julian Luersson, Marcel Javicher, Emrejan, Julian Brandt, Marius Wolf, Nico Schlotterbek, Mats Hummels, Niklas Jules, and Gregor Kobel played as starters, with Donny Marlon at the center.
Mbappe threatened Dortmund from the start. Mbappe, who dug into the penalty box with speed in 1 minute and 20 seconds in the first half, delivered the pass to Kolo-Muani, but Jules blocked it first. PSG have clearly set the tone for the beginning. Dembele delivered a sharp free-kick in the fourth minute of the first half. Luca continued to shoot in front of the gate, but failed to set the direction properly due to the defender’s interference.
Dortmund also fought back with a set piece. Hummels, who overcame Schriniar’s check in the eighth minute of the first half, attempted a header but headed over the net. Dortmund had a bad situation from the beginning of the game. In the 11th minute of the first half, Javicher complained of pain after avoiding Hakimi’s tackle, and was eventually replaced by Felix Nmecha.
Dortmund took advantage of the chaotic atmosphere caused by the injury. In the 14th minute of the first half, Malen momentarily entered the penalty box with his speed and tried to shoot, but he headed straight to Donnarumma. After overcoming the crisis, PSG began to set the tone again.
PSG, who showed good pass play at the penalty box in the 19th minute of the first half, left Vitinha to finish the attack. Vitinha’s powerful shot hit the post, so PSG swallowed the disappointment. PSG continue to press Dortmund. This time, Colomuani dropped Mbappe’s pass with his head. Hakimi hit in an instant and tried to shoot, but Schlotterbek blew himself away and blocked it.
Dortmund were in a hurry to stop the PSG attack. Even when the build-up was carried out from the back, it did not show stability. PSG’s wave of attacks followed. In the 30th minute, Dembele pulled the ball back from a corner kick. When the defenders did not run, Vitinha tried to shoot a powerful shot, but the defender cleared it with his head.
Dortmund continued to falter. In the 33rd minute of the first half, Colomuani advanced from the center this time. He attempted a bold shot, but Dortmund held on with a hand-to-hand defense. PSG also threatened set-pieces. In the 39th minute of the first half, a pattern leading to Mbappe, Hakimi, and Dembele penetrated Dortmund. Dembele’s shot was blocked by Kobel. PSG finished the first half without scoring despite their overwhelming performance.
PSG had a perfect scoring chance at the start of the second half. Mbappe connected Dembele’s cross with a nonstop shot. Mbappe’s shot hit the hand of Jules, who flew away. A VAR review declared a penalty kick. Mbappe took the lead as a kicker himself, and PSG took the lead with a clean success.
PSG, which began to falter, collapsed one after another. In the 13th minute of the second half, Vitinha and Hakimi exchanged perfect one-two passes from outside the Dortmund penalty box. Hakimi, who entered the box, calmly penetrated the defender and succeeded in finishing lightly.
Dortmund began to be aggressive, but PSG began to have fun with counterattacks as it exposed space. Feeling a crisis, Dortmund tried to make a change by putting in Niklas Fülcruk and Marco Lewis. Dortmund’s attack, however, did not easily cook PSG’s defense.
Dortmund took a chance for the first time in a long time. In the 34th minute of the second half, Jamie Baino-Gitens, who just came in as a substitute, flashed. Baino-Gitens made PSG nervous by leading to a threatening shot on the pass given by Pülcruc.
PSG also tried to replace it when it changed the mood. In the 35th minute of the second half, Hamus replaced Kolo-Muani and Lee Kang-in replaced Vitinha. As a result, Lee Kang-in returned to the war of stars for the first time in four years. Lee Kang-in came out as a left central midfielder where Vitinha played.
Lee Kang-in started the play with a pass that saved Mbappe’s movement. The play shown in the 38th minute of the second half was even cleaner. When Shkriniar handed over the pass, he turned around at once and delivered the pass to Mbappe, who was running.
The defense in the 45th minute of the second half was also excellent. When Jamie Vaino-Gitens hit in, Lee Kang-in only touched the ball and succeeded in defending. Furious Baino-Gitens pushed Lee Kang-in roughly, and Lee Kang-in even got a foul as he fell smartly. In the subsequent build-up scene, he also showed his unique de-pressurization ability with leisurely turn movements.
In the second half of the extra time, he even showed a fantastic technique of turning the long pass with his heel. Lee Kang-in checked his breathing as he continued to score a pass toward Mbappe. Lee Kang-in could not show much because the game was already leaning toward PSG, but he clearly proved why Lee Kang-in was used as a midfielder.
Lee Kang-in, who played for about 17 minutes including extra time, still had an excellent pass sense. Tried pass 12 times and all succeeded. He had been off the game for about a month, so his sense of the game was very low, but it was no problem for Lee Kang-in. He had an easy game with a 6.7 rating from soccer statistics media “Sofascore.”
Lee Kang-in’s watch is busy after returning from injury. Without a break, Lee Kang-in immediately puts himself on a plane heading to Hangzhou, China. Lee Kang-in was called by Hwang Sun-hong, who leads the Hangzhou Asian Games soccer team.