Warren Zaire-Emery sends PSG into Champions League last 16 after Dortmund draw

By Sports Desk December 13, 2023

Warren Zaire-Emery’s second-half strike salvaged a 1-1 draw for Paris St Germain at Borussia Dortmund to ensure his side advanced to the Champions League last 16 as Group F runners-up.

A wild first half at Signal Iduna Park, where the hosts secured top spot in the group, somehow ended goalless after what felt like an unending stream of missed chances for both sides.

Dortmund, who had already qualified, finally took the lead via Karim Adeyemi after the break, when results elsewhere also began to swing in PSG’s favour.

It was not long before 17-year-old Zaire-Emery opened his Champions League account just when it mattered most to book PSG a trip to the knockouts, becoming the youngest French goalscorer in the history of the competition.

The missed opportunities started early, Zaire-Emery scuffing a close-range effort and Vitinha missing from 25 yards after Marco Reus had tested his luck from a similar distance for the hosts moments earlier.

Marius Wolf was in a good position to open the scoring but instead succumbed to pressure from Lucas Hernandez’s well-timed tackle, and the Germans were fortunate when Kang-In Lee missed a golden opportunity from six yards, though Randal Kolo Muani might have been offside in the build-up.

PSG looked certain to take the lead when Kylian Mbappe rounded Gregor Kobel and found himself facing an open net, but Niklas Sule scrambled in for an incredible clearance on the goal-line to preserve the deadlock, which remained intact after Bradley Barcola curled an effort off the post and Kolo Muani poked wide despite finding himself through on goal.

Gianluigi Donnarumma was also kept busy, denying Reus and Salih Ozcan as the half somehow marched to a close without a goal after Kobel denied Kolo Muani and Mats Hummels headed into the side-netting with the final touch before the break.

Lee fired directly into Kobel’s awaiting arms after the restart as PSG desperately looked for a way to avoid an unceremonious exit, but instead gave the ball away at the edge of their own area, with Dortmund eventually working it to Adeyemi, who slotted the opener past the keeper after 51 minutes.

It took just five minutes for Zaire-Emery to issue a reply via a slight deflection through Adeyemi’s legs and over the hand of an outstretched Kobel, while Donnarumma denied Donyell Malen just after the hour mark.

PSG were hungry for another but instead saw Ramy Bensebaini first clear away Kolo Muani’s chance to head home, then Mbappe fired just wide of the right post.

He thought he had turned the contest on its head when he put the ball in the back of the net in the 76th minute, but referee Glenn Nyberg turned to VAR Dennis Higler and, with semi-automated offside tech in play, ruled out the would-be winner.

Soon word seemed to spread amongst the visitors that a draw would be enough to see them through, and while Dortmund at times looked keen to challenge for another both sides were satisfied to split the points.

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