Riyad Mahrez free-kick gives City away win as ten-man PSG fall to pieces in chaotic second-half
Champions League semi-final first leg, Parc des Prince - PSG 1 (Marquinhos 15') Manchester City 2 (De Bruyne 64', Mahrez 71')
Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City celebrates with team mates after scoring their side's second goal during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final First Leg match between Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City at Parc des Princes
Manchester City flipped the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on its head against Paris Saint-Germain and will take a 2-1 lead back to the Etihad Stadium in a week’s time thanks to goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez.
Rarely have City been made to look as pedestrian as they were during a thrilling first half at the Parc des Princes that PSG largely dominated. But Guardiola’s side hit their stride after the break and will fancy their chances now of reaching a Champions League final for the first time in the club’s history.
PSG could have scored plenty in a brilliant and breathless opening 45, and they did carry a lead into half-time thanks to a glancing Marquinhos header from Angel di Maria’s devilishly whipped corner. Neymar, Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe were causing City’s defence no end of headaches, while an aggressive pressing game was seeing Mauricio Pochettino’s side controlling the centre of the park.
But City recovered well in the second half and got the equaliser that their pressure deserved on 64 minutes when De Bruyne’s cross curled all the way through into the far corner, leaving the PSG defenders looking at their goalkeeper Keylor Navas accusatorily. And the accusations were reversed seven minutes later when a Mahrez free-kick curled straight through a flimsy PSG wall to give City the lead and leave Navas with no chance.
PSG faltered badly in the face of such a complete and chastening turnaround, and the second half went from bad to worse for Pochettino’s side when Idrissa Gueye lunged in on Ilkay Gundogan and was shown a straight red card.
Two away goals and a 2-1 lead leaves City ahead in the tie, with the teams scheduled to meet for the second leg in Manchester next Tuesday.
Talking Point: Money Talks
More than a billion pounds in transfer fees were spent bringing the 22 starting players to Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. And while that sort of figure may be obscene and an indication of the financial advantage these two clubs have over many, what it produced on the night in Paris was a game played at an extraordinarily high standard. Whichever one of these teams progresses to the final in Istanbul will be favourites to lift the big-eared trophy on May 29.
'We cannot play shy again' - Guardiola
Man of the Match – Kevin de Bruyne (Man City)
The Belgian’s goal may have had a touch of fortune about it, but he was the player who did more than any other in a sky-blue shirt to take control of the game for City. When his side needed it De Bruyne stepped up, bossing midfield in a superb second-half display.
Paris Saint-Germain: Navas 5, Florenzi 7, Marquinhos 8, Kimpembe 8, Bakker 8, Paredes 7, Gueye 5, Di Maria 8, Verratti7, Neymar 7, Mbappe 6. Subs: Danilo 6, Herrera 6
Manchester City: Ederson 7, Walker 8, Stones8, Dias 8, Joao Cancelo 6, Gundogan 7, Rodri 7, De Bruyne 8, Bernardo Silva 7, Mahrez 8, Foden 8. Subs: Zinchenko 6
15’ GOAL! – PSG take the lead and it’s Marquinhos who’s got it. Di Maria’s delivery from the corner was superb, and the Brazilian made a good run across the front post to glance a header across the keeper and into the far corner. It’s a good goal and a deserved lead for the hosts on the balance of play. 1-0.
28’ – So close to a second! This time it’s Neymar who delivers the corner and Paredes fires his header fractionally wide.
42’ – That’s the chance for City. PSG give the ball away and City work it brilliantly to Foden on the edge of the box. He has time to pick his spot, but hammers it too close to Navas and the keeper makes the save.
64’ GOAL! – Manchester City are level as the PSG defenders stare accusatorily at goalkeeper Keylor Navas. It was Kevin de Bruyne’s in-swinging cross that did the damage, with the stopper waiting for a touch that never came, allowing the ball to curl all the way through into the far corner. 1-1!
71’ GOAL! – Riyad Mahrez picks out a hole in the PSG wall and curls a free-kick past Navas. This time it’s the Paris goalkeeper who’s casting angry glances at his defenders – that wall was a shambles. It’s 2-1 and the City comeback is complete.
77’ – He’s off! Gueye goes in hard and late on Gundogan and is shown a straight red. He dived in late the PSG midfielder, with his studs raised, and he caught Gundogan too. PSG will play the rest of this game with 10 men.
Stats and Facts
In the 47 times prior to this fixture that an English club has won the first leg of European Cup knockout tie away from home, they have progressed to the next round all 47 times.
Man City have now won all of their last 18 away matches in all competitions.
Idrissa Gueye has been sent of twice in the Champions League this season – the first player to receive two reds in the same UCL campaign since Alvaro Arbeloa for Real Madrid in 2012/13.