Manchester City and Riyad Mahrez put an end to PSG’s dream

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A match for history. This Tuesday, 6 days after the semi-final first leg of the Champions League won by Manchester City against Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes (2-1), the two teams met at the Etihad Stadium for the second round. The Cityzens, authors of a second period of great quality in Paris, had the opportunity to reach the final of C1 for the first time in their history while the club of the capital could play a second final in a row after that of 2020 lost against Bayern Munich in Lisbon (0-1). To do this, Pep Guardiola aligned his traditional 4-3-3 with the central hinge Stones-Dias, Zinchenko, Fernandinho or even the Mahrez-De Bruyne-Foden triplet in attack. For his part, Mauricio Pochettino, deprived of Mbappé, replacing at kickoff due to a calf discomfort, or Gueye, suspended after his red card received in the first leg, composed a 4-2-3-1 with Marquinhos-Kimpembe in central defense, Diallo on the left, while Herrera integrated the midfielder alongside Paredes and the offensive animation was entrusted to Neymar, Verratti, Di Maria and Icardi. On a lawn covered by hail and downwind from Manchester, the Parisians narrowly lacked in their transmissions despite good intentions, like Neymar (3rd) while the locals put intensity in the duels in order to take the psychological advantage. But the PSG players started the meeting better. They had control of the leather and, on two occasions, Neymar (5th) then Di Maria (6th) saw their shot in the area blocked by an opposing foot, before a penalty initially whistled for a hand from Zinchenko did not or finally canceled after intervention of the VAR, the ball having touched the top of the shoulder of the Ukrainian (8th). Despite everything, on their first opportunity and against the course of the game, the Cityzens struck a blow behind the head of the Ile-de-France by opening the scoring. On a sublime opening from Ederson, Zinchenko overflowed on the right lane neglected by Florenzi and sent a ball back for De Bruyne, whose strike countered by Florenzi returned to Mahrez, who deceived Navas closely despite the return of Kimpembe (1- 0, 11e).

Paris did not let down but was unlucky, as evidenced by this header from Marquinhos crashing over the top of the crossbar of Ederson (17th), while Di Maria missed the target after a dangerous loss of ball on a raise fast by Bernardo Silva (19th). Manchester City did not bend under the Parisian pressure and displayed their quality of play with the ball to regain control of the game, while imposing high pressing to stifle PSG. Mauricio Pochettino’s men struggled to be dangerous in the end of a first act where they lacked success, except on this strike from Herrera not on target (36th), where Navas repelled an attempt by Mahrez (45 + 2nd) . Upon returning from the locker room, the two teams surrendered blow for blow in a rhythm progressing over the minutes, like Foden defeated by Navas (54th) and Neymar colliding with Zinchenko in stride (55th). Finally, Mahrez, again him, showered the last hopes of PSG by concluding at close range a nice collective movement initiated by De Bruyne and Foden, the latter becoming a decisive passer (2-0, 63rd). The Parisians were totally losing their footing and let their frustration be expressed, like this gesture of humor from Di Maria on Fernandinho, which earned him to be expelled by Björn Kuipers (69th). Navas was then saved by his left post on this strike from Foden after a number against Kimpembe (78th) before saving the furniture, still against the English (80th), in the last moments of the meeting. After this new victory (2-0), acquired in particular thanks to the 3rd and 4th goals of Riyad Mahrez this season in the competition, Manchester City puts an end to the European adventure 2020-2021 of the PSG and will play the first final of C1 of its story on May 29, at the Ataturk Olimpiyat Stadı in Istanbul, against Chelsea or Real Madrid. 10 years later, Pep Guardiola will find himself in the final of the most prestigious of competitions while he can still dream of an incredible treble with the Mancunian club this season: the Premier League, where City can be crowned this weekend against Chelsea, the League Cup, already won against Tottenham, and therefore the Champions League. A competition in which PSG will have to try again in 2021-2022, after a more than honorable journey this year. But the march was probably too high for Paris against this Mancunian team, which qualifies logically at the end of these two confrontations (4-1 in aggregate score).

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