Man City reach their first CL Final as they see off PSG
A brace from Mahrez sends Manchester City to Istanbul as Pep Guardiola’s side saw off a lacklustre PSG side whose dream of lifting the Champions League goes on.
Following a superb team performance in Paris last week, Guardiola knew nothing less is required in the return leg in Manchester on Tuesday night. They welcomed a PSG team that were without their main goalscoring threat, Kylian Mbappe.
The French outfit started brightly, and they thought their high press was rewarded with a penalty that Bjorn Kuipers initially gave, but VAR overruled the decision after the ball evidently deflected off the shoulder of Zinchenko.
Following a bright ten minutes from PSG, their high press was ripped up by a trademark Ederson pass that picked out the on-rushing Zinchenko who picked out De Bruyne on the edge of the box. The Belgian’s effort was blocked into the path of Riyad Mahrez who calmly slotted past Keylor Navas.
PSG didn’t let their heads drop and just like the first leg, Marquinhos showed the threat he holds aerially in the City box as he headed onto the crossbar following a looping cross from Neymar.
Manchester City almost paid the price for being uncharacteristically sloppy in possession as Ederson threw the ball straight into PSG’s pathway and Di Maria instantly tried to punish Ederson but his long-range effort travelled narrowly wide of an empty City net.
On the half hour mark, City showed a real sense of calmness in their bid to reach Turkey with a long spell of possession that resulted in an effort from De Bruyne that travelled high and wide.
As half time lingered, City aimed to double their lead as Bernardo Silva’s effort required a crucial touch to carry the ball marginally wide of the post.
The second half’s first real chance was for the home side as Phil Foden, who excelled on the big stage once again, saw his volley parried out from Navas. PSG soon countered with Neymar who skipped away from a couple of City defenders but a heroic block from Zinchenko denied the Brazilian. A block that was certainly appreciated by his fellow defenders.
On the hour mark, Pochetino brought Kean on to try and add some fear to the Manchester City defence, but the Premier League Champions elect responded with a swift counterattack as Foden picked out Mahrez across the box who had the simple task of firing past Navas.
Many have proposed the PSG mentality as their biggest reason to why they’ve never hit the heights in Europe and that proposal was reinforced following Mahrez’ brace. Di Maria saw red for a stamp on Fernandinho that ended up being the agonist for many more reckless tackles from the Parisians.
City played the game out in emphatic style and unlucky not to get a third with Foden striking the post from long range with the young Englishmen and De Bruyne having efforts that on another day, with their quality, hits the back of the net.
Ederson (8), Walker (8), Stones (8), Dias (9), Zinchenko (8), Fernandinho (8), Gundogan (7), Bernardo Silva (7), Foden (8), De Bruyne (8), Mahrez (9)
Subs: Aguero (6), Jesus (6), Sterling (6)
Navas (6), Diallo (5), Kimpembe (5), Marquinhos (6), Florenzi (5), Verrati (7), Herrera (5), Paredes (5), Di Maria (3), Icardi (4), Neymar (6)
Subs: Bakker (6), Dagba (6), Draxler (6), Kean (5), Pereira (6)