Manchester City reserved their place in a first-ever Champions League final as a brace from Riyad Mahrez claimed a 2-0 victory over Paris Saint Germain for the elected English champions.
PSG got off to a good start, passing it confidently over what was snow-covered ground in East Manchester with referee Bjorn Kuipers forced to reverse his decision to give the Parisians an early penalty after reruns showed that the ball hit Oleksandr Zinchenko’s shoulder as opposed to his arm.
The visitors – who needed at least two goals the night following their 2-1 loss last week – pressed high, although they would be exploited by the rapier-shaped passing of Man City goalkeeper Ederson, the Brazilian throwing a ball forward with his trademark precise precision towards Zincheko. The Ukrainian chased the ball down the left sideline before returning it to Kevin de Bruyne on the edge of the box, his blocked effort falling perfectly on Riyad Mahrez who slipped it under Keylor Navas.
Last season’s beaten finalists would continue to create chances, with Marquinhos seeing a header return from the bar as Angel di Maria drilled a terribly wide effort from a distance with the goal at his mercy following a City mistake.
PSG would continue to probe in the second half, with City forced to embark on a number of superb defensive blocks, although the Premier League side scored a second with a crafty counterattack in the 63rd minute. Phil Foden fled to the left, traded passes with Kevin de Bruyne, before the city academy graduate rolled the ball through the area to the wait Mahrez who blasted Navas down close .
After seeing Idrissa Gana Gueye sent off in the first leg, ex-Manchester United winger Di Maria would suffer the same fate 21 minutes into the game with the Argentinian frustrated and going after Fernandinho on a touchdown.
PSG attempted 14 shots against Man City:
◉ x3 blocked by Rúben Dias
◉ x2 blocked by John Stones
◉ x1 blocked by Zinchenko
◉ x1 blocked by Fernandinho
◉ x1 blocked by Riyad Mahrez
◉ x1 blocked by Bernardo
And none of them hit the mark. 🧱 pic.twitter.com/ldY0wv7GWX
– Football Squawka (@Squawka) May 4, 2021
With one more man, City comfortably saw the game end, and although PSG ended the game with more possession and more attempts, they failed to get a single shot on target – that was the point. City’s excellent defensive display.
The result saw Man City reach a first European final in 51 years since lifting the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1970, while also ending Pep Guardiola’s 10-year wait to appear in the flagship event, and speaking thereafter, declared the two-time winner. he was “incredibly proud”.
“It’s for all of us and for the club,” he told BT Sport. “I’m incredibly proud and my first thoughts are with the players who haven’t played today. They all deserved to play, everyone made a contribution and now is the time to enjoy it. We have to win the league and we have two or three weeks to prepare for the final.
Speaking of the game itself, he said: “They put a lot of players in the middle and we struggled a lot in the first half to reach the high press and we changed at half time. We got the ball better in the second half and we were much better in the way we played and 4-1 overall against a team that beat Barcelona and Bayern Munich and that means a lot to us.
“They win the league every year, they’re a team built to win, they fought to the end. It was a huge team but we were so composed. We fought together and we are in the Champions League final and those are fine words.
Recalling his record in the Champions League, the Catalan was keen to highlight the small margins that are often so decisive in knockout football.
“People think it’s easy to get to the Champions League final. Getting to the final now makes sense of what we’ve been doing over the past four or five years. Every day these guys have been consistent and it’s remarkable. We scored a goal in the hips in the first game, and today Marquinhos hit the bar in the first half – you may be missing for the little details.
✅ Carabao Cup winners
🔜 13 points ahead in the league
🔜 In the Champions League final
Man City is getting closer to treble. 🏆 pic.twitter.com/E51k3oU8BI
– Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) May 4, 2021
“United won a title because of John Terry’s slip and at the last minute against Bayern Munich and Real won a title against Atletico in the 93 minute. It’s a competition that’s so tough and something in the stars is involved.
Next up for City is a repeat of the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea, with a victory over Thomas Tuchel’s side that would confirm their status as league champions, as they could face the Londoners in Istanbul. with the semi-final of the Blues currently tied. 1-1 with Real Madrid.
Read – Man City v PSG – Combined XI
See Also – Iconic Performances: Petr Cech’s Heroic Performance in the 2012 UCL Final
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Youtube