LISBON — After a night of frustrating misses, Neymar finally found a way to come through for Paris Saint-Germain.

The world’s most expensive player helped set up two late goals as PSG staged a stoppage-time comeback to beat Atalanta 2-1 on Wednesday in the Champions League quarterfinals.

Relief for the Brazilian, who has often been criticized for failing to lead the big-spending French club to Europe’s most coveted trophy. Agony for Atalanta, which had been so close to reaching the semifinals in a remarkable Champions League debut season.

The Italian club on a modest budget had led through Mario Pašalić’s curling strike in the 27th minute.

But Neymar set up Marquinhos for the 90th-minute equalizer and was involved in the build-up to Eric Choupo-Moting’s winner in the third minute of stoppage time.

That goal meant PSG returned to the last four of European football’s elite after a 25-year absence.

“I never thought we’d be back home tomorrow, Neymar said. “At every moment, we just went for one thing: progress to the last four.”

The substitutes helped transform PSG’s fortuntes — first with Kylian Mbappé’s arrival with 30 minutes remaining and then Choupo-Moting 20 minutes later.

“When I came on, I thought I can’t lose,” said Choupo-Moting, whose high, diagonal pass reached Neymar on the left flank in the 90th minute. The Brazilian’s scuffed shot was turned in by Marquinhos.

Atalanta was stunned, PSG re-energized.

It was another run by Neymar that unpicked a tiring Atalanta before feeding Mbappé, who squared across for Choupo-Moting to slide the ball over the line.

It was a painful collapse for Atalanta, ending an improbable run in a season when the team’s home city of Bergamo had been among the hardest hit regions of Europe from the coronavirus.

The lack of access to the stadium could not deter Atalanta fans flying from northern Italy to the Portuguese capital, even if it was just to cheer for the fleeting moments when the team bus passed beneath them.

They will have another chance next season. A second consecutive third-place finish in Serie A gives Atalanta a return ticket to the Champions League.

“At this moment, it’s quite painful,” Atalanta midfielder Marten de Roon said. “Tomorrow, I will be proud of our team and club, but at this moment I feel disappointment. ”


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