Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain meet in the semi-finals in 2021 in the Champions League, and both countries desperately want to finally fulfill their dreams and become European champions after a decade of investment.
Despite the pandemic, which does everything possible to hinder the competition, the match between City and PSG is always destined to deliver some of the best football offers. Two of the most exciting and talented countries in Europe are facing the square, but also two countries that were not close to that level just a decade ago.
Les Parisiens reached the final in 2020 and sent the current champion Bayern Munich on the road to the last four so far, so the exit now would be no less catastrophic. Meanwhile, City could not build a fuller squad, if they try at all – if they can’t do it this season, how else is it destined to win the European Grand Prix?
The two sides have only met five times in the past, with City holding an impressive undefeated record against PSG in all their meetings.
Here’s a look back at these four clashes so far, spanning 2008.
The first match between the two countries came in the group stages of the UEFA Cup 2008/09 – now known as the Europa League.
City, in its first season under Abu Dhabi, had already reserved its place in the next stage of the competition and will finish at the top of Group A.
Mark Hughes’ alternate side is fighting against PSG, which endured in defense and disappointed the home fans, as names like Elano, Joe and young Daniel Sturridge failed to impress.
An aging Claude Makelele patrolled the defense of Les Parisiens, keeping Cityzens in port with a textbook performance after he left Chelsea in the summer.
While Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and Vincent Kompany came out on the field for City, the real heroes of the team were present in Tal Ben Haim, Stephen Ireland and Darius Wasel. Football heritage.
Eight years later, the two sides drew again, but in a much more fun and much more expensive way.
With the two clubs already at ease with the luxury of financial dominance, PSG hosted City in the first of the two-time quarterfinals of the European elite competition.
Kevin De Bruyne gave Manuel Pellegrini the lead with a beautiful free kick after 38 minutes, but Joe Hart’s free kick had been saved by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Ibrahimovic pulled out his side level in the 41st minute when Fernando made a mess of Hart’s pass. PSG then took the lead by an hour, but Fernandinho equalized again after 72 minutes to send City in a second match with two away games.
The game was from end to end, but not in the best way, as the two richest clubs in Europe played 90 minutes, which were bitten for lack of the highest quality.
The second stage of this quarterfinal match saw a much more conservative result.
Sergio Aguero of all people missed a penalty in the first half of the Etihad, sending fans crazy at the thought that he could throw everything from such a strong position.
Ibrahimovic again forced two great saves from Hart, who consistently outscored the Champions League, but PSG were otherwise toothless and the wrong performance eventually saw City capitalize after 76 minutes through De Bruyne.
The Belgian’s goal ensured a safe passage to the semifinals of the Champions League for the first time in the history of the club.
After failing to reach the semi-finals after beating PSG in 2016, City met the French side in 2021, after finally making the last four of the race once again, after years of shortcomings.
PSG garnered an incredible performance in the first half; a header from Marquinhos put Mauricio Pochettino’s side ahead, who then played smoothly through the City press for 45 minutes and had Pep Guardiola’s numbers all the time.
It all fell apart faster than it started. City galvanized after the interval and adjusted the group, as Guardiola’s Cityzens set up a clinic and forced a goalkeeper error by Keylor Navas to equalize through De Bruyne, who at the moment loves a goal against PSG.
Riyad Mahrez returned in the 71st minute, ensuring that City had the overall lead and two goals from the Etihad guests with a free kick that was enough to break beyond the questionable wall and again leave Navas looking pretty stupid.