Riyad Mahrez scored twice as Manchester City produced an outstanding team performance to beat 10-man Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 and reach their first ever Champions League final.
Mahrez opened the scoring on 11 minutes after the visitors had an early penalty award for handball against Oleksandr Zinchenko correctly overruled by VAR.
The French giants poured forward in response but could not find a way to unlock City’s brilliant defensive unit.
Opinion: The importance of Mahrez to Guardiola’s City system clear in PSG win
28/04/2021 AT 22:21
Mahrez then made sure of City’s first European final in 51 years when he finished off a stunning counter-attack just past the hour.
PSG, who left injured forward Kylian Mbappe on the bench, inevitably allowed their frustration to boil over and were reduced to 10 men 21 minutes from time when Angel Di Maria was sent off for lashing out at Fernandinho.
City deservedly eased through the latter stages to clinch a 4-1 success on aggregate and somewhat fittingly clock up a seventh straight Champions League/European Cup win to set a new record for the longest ever run by an English team in the competition.
Pep Guardiola’s men will now meet Real Madrid or Chelsea in the final at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul on May 29.
TALKING POINT – City come of age in Europe
This was exactly what Manchester City’s ownership brought Guardiola to the club for. They are on the brink of another Premier League title, but the Champions League remains their holy grail and ultimately what Pep’s tenure will be judged on. They are finally going to be part of club football’s biggest showpiece occasion in Istanbul and are 90 minutes away from achieving their goal of lifting the trophy.
It remains a big, final step but winning this type of tie will only help their quest. For the last few years Guardiola has been accused of over-thinking big European matches but he’s got it spot on now and knows exactly which of his star-studded squad to call upon for these types of occasions. The defensive brilliance that has served them so well all season heroically frustrated PSG with Neymar cutting a forlorn figure without Mbappe to help shoulder the burden. The French giants have come up short again in this competition and you wonder what next for their individual stars.
Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City celebrates
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH – Ruben Dias (Man City)
Quite simply a rock at the back. The defender was part of a magnificent defensive unit and threw his body on the line on countless occasions. He has been a revelation since joining the Citizens but it shows just how good the home side were that he was just one cog in a brilliant collective effort.
Man City: Ederson 8, Walker 8, Dias 9, Stones 9, Zinchenko 8, Fernandinho 8, Gundogan 8, Mahrez 9, Bernardo Silva 8, Foden 8, De Bruyne 8. Subs: Sterling n/a, Jesus n/a, Aguero n/a.
PSG: Navas 7, Florenzi 6, Kimpembe 6, Marquinhos 7, Diallo 6, Verratti 5, Paredes 6, Herrera 6, Di Maria 4, Icardi 5, Neymar 6. Subs: Kean 6, Draxler 6, Dagba 5, Danilo 5, Bakker n/a.
Ángel Di María is shown the red card – Manchester City vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Image credit: Getty Images
7’ – VAR DENIES PSG PENALTY! A cross from the left hits Zinchenko on the shoulder. The referee points to the spot! Zinchenko insists it’s not handball. VAR intervenes and overturns the award. That’s the correct call.
11’ – GOAL! Man City 1-0 PSG (Riyad Mahrez): Mahrez slots a low shot underneath Navas after De Bruyne’s effort from the edge of the box deflected into his path. The opportunity arose after Ederson had sent a long ball down the left for Zinchenko to charge after and cut back for KDB. City lead 3-1 on aggregate.
17’ – PSG CHANCE! Marquinhos sees a header from a deep cross clip the crossbar.
61’ – PSG CHANCE! Di Maria’s dinked cross drops for Herrera on the edge of the box but his goal-bound volley is brilliantly blocked by Dias.
63’ – GOAL! – Man City 2-0 PSG (Riyad Mahrez): Mahrez at the double! The Algerian forward arrives on cue to slam home Foden’s low cross after a quite brilliant counter attack. City lead 4-1 on aggregate.
69’ – PSG RED CARD! Di Maria is shown a straight red for kicking out at Fernandinho. PSG are imploding.
78’ – MAN CITY CHANCE! Foden almost puts the seal on victory but sees his low strike come back off the far post.
- Mahrez is only the second player to score in both legs of a Champions League semi-final tie for an English club after Sadio Mane in 2017-18.
- PSG are the third team to receive a red card in both legs of a Champions League semi-final tie, after Deportivo v Porto in 2003-04 and Lyon v Bayern Munich in 2009-10.
- Manchester City are the first English side to win 11 games in a single European Cup/Champions League campaign.
- Manchester City are the ninth different English team to reach the European Cup/Champions League final; three more than any other nation (Germany and Italy – 6 sides).
- Phil Foden is the sixth different Premier League player to record double figures for both goals (14) and assists (10) in all competitions this season, and the only Manchester City player to do so this term.
Mahrez free-kick gives City away win as PSG fall to pieces
28/04/2021 AT 18:08
Real Madrid target ‘jewel’ signing from Man City – Euro Papers
09/03/2021 AT 13:18