PSG vs Manchester City: Match Report

Manchester City took a huge step towards a first Champions League Final after coming from a goal down to beat the French champions, with Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez efforts in the space of seven minutes turning the tie around.

Marquinhos’ header from Angel Di Maria’s inswinging corner had given the Parisians a deserved lead on 15 minutes, but City were much the better side in the second half, with the loss compounded by a straight red card for Idrissa Gana Gueye following a horrendous lunge on Ilkay Gundogan.

Although City initially settled well, the game was quickly being bossed by the PSG midfield as Neymar and Di Maria found space in and around the City box.

Neymar had the first clear chance, as his deflected effort was tipped over by Ederson, while Alessandro Florenzi was unlucky that his powerful, goal-bound shot struck Marco Verratti following the corner.

Some wonderful skill by Di Maria took him past Joao Cancelo, with his shot deflecting behind off Rodri. From the corner, PSG took the lead.

The ball was fizzed in brilliantly, and Marquinhos timed his run perfectly to get in-between the City centre backs and deftly flick the ball into the far corner past a motionless Ederson.

It was deserved, and City were struggling to repel the waves of attack. It is difficult to remember a 45 minutes where this side has been so outplayed- the 3-1 home defeat to Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich, maybe.

PSG had further openings, but a combination of excellent last-ditch defending and on occasion poor control saw Ederson making only basic saves.

Despite being outplayed, City had a huge chance to equalise just before halftime, as Kyle Walker robbed the ball high up the pitch, with the ball worked to Phil Foden. With only Keylor Navas to beat, Foden struck his shot well but straight at the keeper, who easily palmed it away.

It was arguably the clearest chance of the game for either side, and one that had gone begging.

Half time: PSG 1-0 Manchester City

It only took around two minutes of the second period to see that City were back.

Having been on the front foot for so long, it was remarkable how PSG suddenly could not get a toe on the ball, as City’s trademark possession and passing circles finally appeared in the Parc des Princes.

As the ball kept circling the Paris defence, it felt certain a good chance would materialise eventually. Kevin De Bruyne sent a bicycle kick inches over as City pressed, and on 64 minutes they found a priceless equaliser.

No surprise, it came from the boot of Kevin De Bruyne- but it was a cross, not a shot, as the ball skipped past everyone including Navas to nestle right inside the far post.

Lucky? Yes. But do not discredit how good a ball in it was, with both John Stones and Ruben Dias close to glancing home past a static defence- one probably unused to the quality that so few can produce.

The home side were losing their heads as they chased shadows, and a foul 25 yards from goal on Phil Foden, dead centre, saw De Bruyne standing menacingly over the ball.

It had to be De Bruyne. Yet Riyad Mahrez was the one to step forward and smash the ball through the wall and past the helpless Navas to send City into jubilation.

From clinging on in the first half to two goals in seven second half minutes, it was a remarkable turnaround.

PSG’s misery was sealed on 77 minutes, as Gueye lunged in on Gundogan from behind with the ball 20 yards away, and was rightly shown a straight red. The replays were shocking, with the German very lucky to escape serious injury.

Foden had a header saved by Navas but City seemed content to hold onto the win, and prevent any counterattacks from the lightning Kylian Mbappe jeopardising their strong position.

As the whistle blew, City had their first away win in a European semi-final, with PSG requiring at least two goals at the Etihad next week to stand any chance of progressing.

What a chance for City to make the final. Whatever happens, it will be very, very tense.

Full time: PSG 1-2 Manchester City

Man of the Match: Riyad Mahrez

He is in wonderful form, but it was his defensive work that was notable tonight, with a tackle inside his own six yard box denying Neymar at 1-0 proving vital. De Bruyne once again was excellent, but Mahrez takes it for his all-round performance.

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