Mon, 28 Sep 2020

LISBON, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Paris Saint-Germain are looking to celebrate their 50th anniversary in style when they take on surprise package Atalanta in Wednesday's UEFA Champions League quarterfinal at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon.

This is the tournament's first quarterfinal, which this year will be played in a single-game format at a neutral venue, due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The French team has two major problems: the confirmed absence of midfielder Marco Verratti and doubts over the presence of striker Kylian Mbappe, who is still recovering from an injury and will likely start the game on the bench.

In addition, PSG coach Thomas Tuchel will not be able to count on versatile midfielder Angel Di Maria, who faces a one-match ban due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

With all these difficulties, the biggest hopes of the French club lie at the feet of Brazilian striker Neymar, who has not yet won a continental title for PSG since joining from Barcelona in 2017, and Argentinian striker Mauro Icardi.

Atalanta arrive in Lisbon dreaming of continuing their fairytale journey on what is the Italian club's debut Champions League campaign.

Like their opponents, Atalanta also has significant absentees, such as trusted goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini and inspired striker Josip Ilicic, who has scored 21 goals this season.

The biggest doubt, however, is whether the team from Bergamo can continue their ultra-attacking style of football against a PSG side full of global stars who will pounce upon any defensive frailties.

In the event of a draw, the quarterfinals will be decided with extra-time and then penalties, with the winner set to face either Atletico Madrid or RB Leipzig, who face off on Thursday.

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