May 10, 2021

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Mahrez double sends Man City to the first Champions League final ever


Manchester City play either Chelsea or Real Madrid in their first Champions League final ever after beating PSG 2-0 at night, 4-1 overall in the semi-finals of the Etihad.

Riyad Mahrez’s double secured City’s way to Istanbul on May 29 in an uncomfortable game in which Angel Di Maria was sent off when PSG lost the plot late.

Pep Guardiola’s men appear in their first European final in 51 years after winning the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1970.

It was a well-deserved victory, with City’s midfield duo Ruben Dias and John Stones everywhere sensational.

A promising PSG start was rewarded with a penalty kick in the seventh minute when Dutch referee Björn Kuipers gave a handball to Oleksandr Zinchenko.

However, the decision was quickly overturned by VAR, after repetitions clearly showed that the ball had been hit to the top of the left back’s shoulder.

City gave themselves further breathing in the draw as Mahrez gave them the lead at night and an overall advantage of 3-1.

Zinchenko broke down on the left after a brilliant ball from Ederson and pulled the ball back for Kevin de Bruyne. The midfielder’s shot from 16 yards was blocked but fell kindly for Mahrez to sweep home from a close angle.

The visitors came close to a quick response when Marquinos hit the crossbar with a tower head from the head. And City had lucky moments later when Ederson tried to play from the back, Di Maria jumped before curling an attempt just wide – with the City stopper pushing to get back.

The home side came close to wrapping up a draw in stoppage time in the first half as Mahrez’s cross shot was kept out of the feet of Keylor Navas at his nearest post.

By show silk and steel

Pep Guardiola’s men started the second period on the forefoot and were close to doubling their lead at night when a brilliant Foot volley was pushed out of the Navas.

At the other end, an ingenious Neymar race was stopped superbly by a brilliant combination block from the Stones and Zinchenko.

Moise Kean and Julian Draxler were introduced from the bench by Mauricio Pochettino to try to find a route back in a draw with 30 minutes left.

But PSG’s hopes suffered a stab in the heart on the counter-attack as De Bruyne played in the Foot to the left and his post to the far post was driven home by Mahrez.

It got worse for the French side with just over 20 minutes to go when former Man Utd striker Di Maria looked red to kick out against Fernandinho.

The foot was so unfortunate not to add a third at night as his drive over Navas hit the far post.

But that was done when City booked their place in the final and now await the winners of Wednesday night’s clash between Chelsea and Real.