Football

Mbappe taunts 'farmers league' critics, after PSG & Lyon reach semis

PSG star Mbappe mocks fans' jibe over Ligue 1's lack of quality, as two French clubs reach Champions League semi-finals

Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe congratulated Lyon for joining them in the Champions League semi-finals and couldn't resist taking a swipe at those who called the French Ligue 1 a "farmers league".

Lyon booked a last-four date with Bayern Munich after a 3-1 upset victory over Manchester City yesterday morning (Singapore time), while PSG will meet another German side RB Leipzig.

Following Lyon's victory, Mbappe inserted a clown emoji next to his tweet "Farmers League" - which was a jibe by fans who believe that the French league lacks quality. The 21-year-old then added three claps for his compatriots.

City's exit, along with that of Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Valencia earlier in the knock-out stage, means this will be the first time since the 1995/96 season that there will be no English or Spanish team in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

While Thomas Tuchel's PSG will be favourites to get past Julian Nagelsmann's Leipzig, Lyon have the monumental task of tackling Hansi Flick's Bayern Munich, who beat Barcelona 8-2 in their quarter-final.

But Lyon's win over City, in which they capitalised on lacklustre defending to score through Maxwel Cornet and Moussa Dembele (two), has given them optimism.

"I'm experiencing a lot of happiness right now... when I see the joy in the dressing room, I tell myself that I'm right," said Lyon coach Rudi Garcia.

"You can't stop when you're on such a good path. It's not the night to talk about Bayern, but we're only in the semi-finals, we've still got a few steps to go."

Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes told RMC Sport that they relish the underdogs' tag.

"No one expected us to be at that level. We've got the right to continue to dream, to believe in what we can do," he said.

The Portugal international also suggested that coach Garcia deserves credit for what the club have achieved.

"Our system is helping us enormously, playing with five at the back," he said.

"We knew that we would have chances and that we would have to take them."

Unfancied Lyon, whose scalps included Juventus in the Round of 16, had played only one competitive game since March, when the French season was halted and, unlike most European leagues, did not resume.

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Garcia, whose side finished seventh in Ligue 1, said they had made the most of that situation.

"We adapted to the suspension of Ligue 1, we had eight weeks of pre-season, it's massive. Our fitness coach really came up with the perfect solution for our players," he explained, while also conceding that his players felt tired towards the end.

"We're developing a taste for things, but our confidence levels are growing in this squad, our results have shown that, but we'll still be the outsiders, the underdogs against Bayern Munich," Garcia said.

"We'll need to pull off a shock result, just as we did against Juventus and tonight against Manchester City." - REUTERS

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