Football

Mbappe ready to start against Leipzig, says PSG coach Tuchel

Kylian Mbappe is fit to start for Paris Saint-Germain against RB Leipzig in their Champions League semi-final in Lisbon on Wednesday morning (Aug 19, Singapore time), coach Thomas Tuchel has confirmed.

“He played for 30 minutes against Atalanta and had no reaction. He has had six days since then to work on his fitness so, of course, he can start,” Tuchel told reporters during a virtual press conference on the eve of the game.

He added: “We will decide after training whether he can play 90 minutes.”

Mbappe started on the bench in the quarter-final against Atalanta after spending the weeks leading up to that match struggling with an ankle injury. But the France superstar had a major impact as PSG came from behind to win 2-1 at the Estadio da Luz, setting up Eric Choupo-Moting for the decisive goal in stoppage time.

The club from the French capital are now through to their first Champions League semi-final since 1995.

“We are living in the moment. We deserve to be here because we have had an extraordinary season,” said Tuchel, whose team won a domestic treble in France.

“We are absolutely ready, the hunger is there, but this is not a historic moment, it is a semi-final and we are here to make the most of all the hard work we have put in and to win it.”

While Mbappe is in line to start the game, Angel di Maria can also return after serving a suspension against Atalanta. However, PSG have selection problems elsewhere.

Goalkeeper Keylor Navas, previously a Champions League winner with Real Madrid, is out with a thigh injury after coming off hurt late in the quarter-final. Spaniard Sergio Rico is therefore set to replace him.

In addition, midfielder Idrissa Gueye is a major doubt, according to the club, because of a muscle injury. – AFP

FootballChampions LeagueParis Saint-GermainRB LeipzigAtalantaKYLIAN MBAPPEThomas Tuchelsemi-finals