Paris St-Germain 1-2 Man City: Kevin de Bruyne & Riyad Mahrez give City advantage in Champions League


Mahrez’s winner was his second direct free-kick goal in the Champions League – his first coming for LeicesterManchester City produced a superb display to come from behind and take control of their Champions League semi-final with victory against Paris St-Germain in France.

Pep Guardiola’s side fought their way through a scintillating early PSG surge when they fell behind to Marquinhos’ header, glanced in from Angel di Maria’s corner after 15 minutes, to dominate after the break and turn this first leg tie in Paris on its head.

City, who had threatened before the break when Phil Foden missed a great chance, were much more positive and got the reward they deserved after 64 minutes when Kevin de Bruyne’s menacing cross evaded everyone in the penalty area and drifted beyond motionless PSG keeper Kaylor Navas.

PSG, with Neymar fading and Kylian Mbappe subdued, were ragged and Riyad Mahrez put City in a great position to reach their first Champions League final when his left-foot free-kick went through the wall to beat Navas seven minutes later.

And to complete PSG’s misery, former Everton midfield man Idrissa Gueye was rightly shown a red card late on for a dreadful challenge on Ilkay Gundogan.

‘Landmark night in Paris can lay ghosts of past Champions League failures’Relive action and reaction from PSG v Man City’We were so shy’ – Guardiola reflects on Man City’s first-leg win over PSGMan City’s dream comes closerManchester City have craved triumph in the Champions League as confirmation they are a European superpower – and this magnificent display brings that ambition closer than it has ever been before.

The Premier League leaders had to show all their qualities before finally overpowering their hosts, who ran out of steam after showing real class in the first half, with Neymar and Di Maria pulling the strings.

Ruben Dias and John Stones were prominent as City held firm in the first half, while after the break, as they showed greater ambition, Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker carried real attacking threat, and the visitors played with enormous maturity as they pinned PSG back in their own half.

Their menace grew throughout and it was no surprise when De Bruyne levelled then Mahrez put them ahead – indeed PSG ended so beaten and disorganised they may almost feel grateful they only lost 2-1.

City’s Champions League history is littered with disappointments in the latter stages of the tournament, often mired in tactical confusion or ill-luck – not so here.

Those experiences mean they will take nothing for granted when this dangerous PSG side come to Etihad Stadium in six days but City have never been in better shape to reach a Champions League final.

PSG still pose a threat – but City in chargePSG showed in the first 45 minutes exactly why nothing can be taken for granted by City. But former Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino will know his side are underdogs in the fight to face either Chelsea or Real Madrid in the final in Istanbul on 29 May.

It took all of City’s resolve and character to ride out PSG’s first-half storm, with Neymar outstanding and while Mbappe was a surprisingly marginal figure, they still have the capability and danger to turn the tables on City at Etihad Stadium.

What will disturb PSG, another club chasing the Holy Grail of a first Champions League crown, is the manner in which City dictated terms to them in the second half, depriving Neymar and Mbappe of any service.

And to add to their troubles they lost their discipline, exemplified by Gueye’s reckless late challenge on Gundogan which made a red card a formality.

Manager reaction – ‘Sometimes you need to be more relaxed’Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola to BT Sport: “Sometimes you need to be more relaxed and be ourselves. The first half is normal – you don’t want to lose the ball [so] you don’t play free. We changed a little in the way we press. We were passive [earlier on]. Then we were more aggressive. It’s not easy against Mbappe, Neymar, Di Maria.

“Afterwards we found goals and could have scored another. I’m so satisfied with the performance but we’re only halfway. There are 90 more minutes. Anything can happen.

“We didn’t have good possession in the right positions. This club don’t have much experience in the semi-finals of this tournament. This will help us. In the second half we were aggressive and played really good.

“Against Dortmund, we conceded and came back. Today the same. [We were] ourselves in the second half. We are good playing in a certain way – we can’t do a different way.”

PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino to BT Sport: “There were two different halves – we did well in the first half but it is difficult to eliminate a team like City. We deserved to be ahead but they were better than us and dominated the second half. The two goals were accidents, but they created more than us. It was one half for each team.

“The two goals are very disappointing. It is difficult to accept but that can happen, and it has happened in a semi-final. It is very painful.

“It is difficult to explain why they were better but we were better in the first half. It was difficult to cope, their physical condition, they were more aggressive. We didn’t show the energy you need. The red card could be yellow, could be red.

“The second leg – in football you need to believe. They have the advantage.”

Match stats – 47/47 success rate for English teamsManchester City have won their past 18 away matches in all competitions, scoring 46 goals and conceding just nine.Paris St-Germain suffered defeat when leading at half-time in the Champions League for the first time since March 2001 against Deportivo La Coruna.PSG centre-half Marquinhos is only the third player in Champions League history to score in the quarter-final and semi-final in consecutive seasons, after Cristiano Ronaldo (2011-12, 2013-14) and Antoine Griezmann (2015-16, 2016-17).In the history of the European Cup/Champions League, there have been 47 instances of an English side winning the first leg of a two-legged knockout tie away from home, and on all 47 occasions the English side has progressed.Kevin de Bruyne has been directly involved in nine goals in his past eight Champions League appearances in the knockout stage (five goals, four assists). He became the fourth City player to reach double figures for Champions League goals after Sergio Aguero (36), Raheem Sterling (21) and Gabriel Jesus (16).He became the fourth different player to score in three consecutive Champions League matches against PSG, after Lionel Messi, Marcus Rashford and Neymar (four).In the past two seasons, Angel di Maria is the only player to register double figures for assists in the Champions League (10). Since his debut season in 2007-08, only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo (34 each) have more assists than Di Maria (31).Idrissa Gueye is the first player to be sent off twice in a single Champions League campaign since Alvaro Arbeloa in 2012-13 for Real Madrid.

Player of the match

De BruyneKevin De Bruyne

with an average of 8.15

Paris Saint GermainSquad number11Player nameDi María

Squad number5Player nameMarquinhos

Squad number10Player nameNeymar

Squad number6Player nameVerratti

Squad number7Player nameMbappé

Squad number25Player nameBakker

Squad number3Player nameKimpembe

Squad number24Player nameFlorenzi

Squad number8Player nameParedes

Squad number1Player nameNavas

Squad number15Player nameDanilo Pereira

Squad number21Player nameHerrera

Squad number27Player nameGueye

Manchester CitySquad number17Player nameDe Bruyne

Squad number26Player nameMahrez

Squad number47Player nameFoden

Squad number8Player nameGündogan

Squad number3Player nameRúben Dias

Squad number2Player nameWalker

Squad number5Player nameStones

Squad number20Player nameBernardo Silva

Squad number11Player nameZinchenko

Squad number31Player nameEderson

Squad number16Player nameRodri

Squad number27Player nameJoão Cancelo

Line-upsPSGFormation 4-2-3-1




11Di María10Neymar6Verratti


1Navas24Florenzi5Marquinhos3Kimpembe25Bakker27GueyeBooked at 77mins8ParedesBooked at 70minsSubstituted forHerreraat 83’minutes11Di MaríaSubstituted forDaniloat 80’minutes10NeymarBooked at 74mins6Verratti7MbappéSubstitutes4Kehrer9Icardi12Rafinha15Danilo16Rico18Kean19Sarabia20Kurzawa21Herrera22Diallo23Draxler31DagbaMan CityFormation 4-3-3


2Walker5Stones3Rúben Dias27Cancelo

20Bernardo Silva16Rodri8Gündogan

26Mahrez17De Bruyne47Foden

31Ederson2Walker5Stones3Rúben Dias27CanceloBooked at 31minsSubstituted forZinchenkoat 61’minutes20Bernardo Silva16Rodri8Gündogan26Mahrez17De BruyneBooked at 86mins47FodenSubstitutes6Aké7Sterling9Gabriel Jesus10Agüero11Zinchenko13Steffen14Laporte21Torres22Mendy25Fernandinho50García85TraffordLive TextMatch ends, Paris Saint Germain 1, Manchester City 2.

Second Half ends, Paris Saint Germain 1, Manchester City 2.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Ander Herrera.

Attempt blocked. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Foul by Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City).

Marco Verratti (Paris Saint Germain) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ilkay Gündogan (Manchester City).

Ander Herrera (Paris Saint Germain) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Bernardo Silva (Manchester City).

Ander Herrera (Paris Saint Germain) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Rodrigo (Manchester City).

Ander Herrera (Paris Saint Germain) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Ilkay Gündogan (Manchester City).

Neymar (Paris Saint Germain) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt saved. Phil Foden (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City).

Danilo Pereira (Paris Saint Germain) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

Substitution, Paris Saint Germain. Ander Herrera replaces Leandro Paredes.

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