Manchester City grabbed a crucial 1-2 win against PSG in the semi-finals of the Champions League. The 2 away goals scored by Manchester City will be of great advantage when they host their opponents for the second leg next week at the Etihad Stadium.
This was one of the most anticipated matches as it was a clash between 2 of the richest clubs and also the strongest. It was a display of two halves. The first half was dominated by PSG, however, the second half saw the Cityzens add the special magic to their performance. And along with some luck favouring them, they won at Parc des Princes.
Mauricio Pochettino featured a side with 4 changes from the team that defeated Metz a few days ago. Mitchel Bakker, Idrissa Gueye, Marquinhos, and Angel Di Maria were the players who were back into the squad.
Pep Guardiola on the other hand, used his so far successful tactics of using the false nine and omitted the striker position. He also made 4 changes from the team that faced Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao Cup final. Ederson was back in goal. John Stones partnered with Ruben Dias in the formidable defence. Bernardo Silva and Rodri were back in the midfield.
The Ligue 1 giants were handsomely rewarded for their intensity in the first half with a brilliant goal headed in by their captain Marquinhos. However, Kevin De Bruyne showed his masterclass as he put up a man-of-the-match display along with scoring the equaliser for his team. A few minutes later, Riyad Mahrez scored the winner for City.
PSG were on the driving seat in the first-half
PSG were patient. Although both the teams started equally great, the Premier League side were enjoying slightly more possession. The hosts were waiting for the right moment to pounce. Once they got the ball, they pushed the throttle and pressurised City’s strong defence.
A great shot by Neymar after the Brazilian toyed with a one-two along with Verrati inside the opposition’s box ended up being blocked by Dias and eventually fingertip saved by Ederson. However, that save lasted only a few seconds as PSG scored from that corner.
A precisely put corner from Di Maria was headed by their skipper Marquinhos who came out of nowhere to head the ball into the far corner. City were trying their best to get the equaliser but that last line didn’t let them. Keylor Navas made a string of great saves to keep his side ahead.
Superb second-half display and a few PSG howlers gifted Manchester City the comeback win:
We are not sure what Guardiola injected into that team at half-time, but fair to say it was effective. They made a bright start to the second half and had PSG confined to their box. It was only a matter of time when the equaliser came.
In the 64th minute, De Bruyne scored the equaliser while he was curling a cross into the opposition box. No one was close enough to convert it. However, Navas was expecting a touch from someone. And to his surprise, it bundled into the bottom corner before he could even react.
The second goal was also due to a defensive error. City had earned a free-kick just outside the box. As Mahrez took the shot, a gap big enough for the ball to pass through was formed between Paredes and Kimpembe and the keeper had no chance of stopping it. PSG went blunt after they conceded. And to make things even worse, they were down to 10-men when Gueye made an awful challenge on Gundogan. Although PSG were pushing for an equaliser, they were playing as not to concede another goal.
With the win, City became only the second Premier League team after Manchester United to defeat PSG at home. Manchester City will be hoping to take advantage of the away goals and deliver another similar performance. As it is the first time they have reached so far under Pep’s reign, they will hope to grab their first Champions League trophy this time. However, they will be tested by a PSG side. They will be giving everything they got to get their name on the prestigious trophy. They overcame Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the previous rounds.