It took 51 years from the first, but finally Manchester City are back in the final of a European cup, as Riyad Mahrez’s double gave the home side a fully deserved win on the night and an emphatic 4-1 aggregate scoreline overall.
PSG failed to have a shot on target after the 28th minute of the first leg, and once more finished with 10 men following a horrible stamp by Angel Di Maria on Fernandinho as the Parisians again lost their heads under pressure.
It looked like being a nervy night for the hosts after PSG were awarded a penalty for handball against Oleksandr Zinchenko on eight minutes, but VAR correctly intervened once replays showed the ball hit the Ukrainian on the back.
In fact, the replays left huge questions over the referee Bjorn Kuipers’ eyesight. Not only was Zinchenko’s arm glued to his side in any event, but the ball literally hit him on the back.
It was not even close to a penalty. What exactly was he looking at?
Happily, City very quickly drew attention away from that debacle thanks to a bit of magic by Ederson.
The Brazilian hit an incredible long ball into the feet of Zinchenko, in behind the PSG defence, with Kevin De Bruyne’s shot from the cutback deflecting to Mahrez. He made no mistake, burying low past Keylor Navas to give City a clear cushion.
PSG came back strongly in truth, with the dangerous Marquinhos planting a header against the bar and Di Maria curling narrowly wide of an unguarded net following a mistake by Bernardo Silva.
Mahrez almost made it two on the stroke of halftime, but Navas did well to kick away the attempt.
Half time: Manchester City 1-0 PSG
City looked more controlled at the start of the second half, with PSG being forced to come forward in search of goals and leaving space in behind.
On the occasions they did fashion promising positions, City’s back four repelled them brilliantly, with Ruben Dias masquerading as a brick wall as he blocked everything going near him.
The counter was always on, and in the 63rd minute City ended the tie thanks to more fantastic play by De Bruyne. His pass into Foden’s feet to complete the one-two was perfect, and the cross by the youngster found Mahrez arriving unmarked at the back post to hammer high into the net.
As in the first leg, PSG could not stomach defeat.
Di Maria was soon off, as he stamped on Fernandinho with the ball off the pitch in full view of the referee. Braindead, in other words.
Presnel Kimpembe was lucky not to receive red after a horrendous tackle on Jesus, while Danilo Pereira also could have gone with a lunge on Mahrez. Marco Verratti, meanwhile, should have received a second yellow following a hack on the same player.
It was embarrassing. Fortunately, City players escaped without injury.
Foden hit the post from another surging run, and Navas did well to hold another late attempt by the same man. City were strolling to victory, however, and Neymar’s late freekick just about avoiding the second tier summed up the Parisians’ night.
Ander Herrera said after the match that he thought PSG had been the better team until the red card. Genuinely, he said that. Following that match. On live TV.
Then footballers wonder why they get a bad reputation regarding their intelligence.
Full time: Manchester City 2-0 PSG
Man of the Match: Ruben Dias
Vincent Kompany at his finest here tonight. Nothing got past him, the ball included. He was flawless, and without him City would have had a far harder task in advancing to the final. What a signing.