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Semi-finalist profile: Paris Saint-Germain

Paris Saint-Germain have made the semi-finals for the first time and in Nyon will face a Real Madrid team they need no introduction to, having come up against them in the group stage.

Yakou Meïté celebrates after his quarter-final goal against Roma
Yakou Meïté celebrates after his quarter-final goal against Roma ©Getty Images

After opening the group stage with a goalless draw with Malmö, Paris Saint-Germain made a statement of intent with successive 4-1 wins against Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Madrid, their eventual semi-final opponents. The result against the Spanish side was particularly impressive because they struck twice in the closing minutes after Madrid had threatened a comeback.

Paris's subsequent 2-0 defeat in the Spanish capital a fortnight later will now be scrutinised ahead of April's Nyon rematch, but given they bounced back from that result by beating Malmö and Shakhtar to qualify as Group A winners, one point clear of Madrid, there was still cause for celebration.

"Every team starts their best players [in this competition] and wants to shine," said Paris coach François Rodrigues. "If we go far in the competition, it shows we have talented players who can reach high levels and that PSG's academy has something to offer. Our work is starting to pay off. Our team has quality, that's for sure."

Highlights: Paris 4-1 Real Madrid

The campaign was certainly a marked improvement on 2014/15, when the French club did not get out of their group, finishing third behind Ajax and the previous year's winners Barcelona.

Jean-Kévin Augustin has been Paris's main weapon this time with four goals, earning him a call-up to the senior squad for their UEFA Champions League victory at Malmö on matchday five.

Midfielder Christopher Nkunku has followed a similar trajectory. He made his debut for Paris's first team against Shakhtar in December, signed his maiden professional contract the same month and was handed his first senior league start versus Montpellier Hérault SC in March. Four days later Nkunku helped the U19s – who in the meantime had disposed of Middlesbrough in the last 16 – qualify for the UEFA Youth League semi-finals with a fine free-kick in the last minute of the 3-1 triumph over Roma.

Coach: François Rodrigues
Date of birth: 10/12/69
Rodrigues joined Paris in 2013 after ten years in charge of the U19s at Le Havre, where he trained players such as Florent Sinama-Pongolle, Anthony Le Tallec, Charles N'Zogbia, Steve Mandanda and Lassana Diarra. Rodrigues, who also coached for four years at Caen, was a defensive midfielder with Montceau Bourgogne in France's second division before turning to technical matters at 27.

Odsonne Edouard top scored at the 2015 U17 finals
Odsonne Edouard top scored at the 2015 U17 finals©Sportsfile

Academy spotlight
Players of the calibre of Kingsley Coman and Mamadou Sakho have come through the Paris academy, as has Adrien Rabiot, whose recent goal against Chelsea shone a spotlight on the work the club are doing at youth level. New academy director Carles Romagosa worked in Barcelona's junior set-up for 20 years and under his guidance Paris will expect more talent to emerge.

Number: 5
Alec Georgen, Lorenzo Callegari, Mamadou Doucoure, Odsonne Edouard and Nanitamo Ikone won the 2015 UEFA European Under-17 Championship with France.

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