Manchester City reached the Champions League final for the first time in history, beating Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 on aggregate.
PSG thought they got off to a perfect start when referee Bjorn Kuipers pointed to the penalty spot after an alleged handball from Oleksandr Zinchenko. However, VAR stepped in and overturned the decision after reruns showed the ball hit the Ukrainian’s shoulder.
Soon after, the hosts took the lead in the evening and went two ahead in the draw. A brilliant pass from Ederson found Zinchenko on the left, which cut him down for Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian’s shot was blocked, but the ball fell perfectly for Riyad Mahrez, who split Keylor Navas’ legs.
Visitors weren’t put off by this, and came within inches of achieving an immediate equalizer. Marquinhos, who opened the scoring in the first leg, jumped up to meet a cross but saw his looping header crash into the crossbar.
Angel Di Maria also had the opportunity to pull one off after Ilkay Gundogan negligently lost the ball in midfield. The ex-Manchester United man tried to catch Ederson from afar, but struck narrowly off.
Both teams continued to threaten, with De Bruyne and Ander Herrera shooting from outside the box. But neither side could add to the score.
In the first half, Man City moved closer. Navas denied Mahrez a second at his near post, and the rebound fell to Bernardo Silva, whose deflected effort went right off the far post.
PSG continued to push for an equalizer after half-time but were unable to find a way past a stern Man City backline.
And in the 63rd minute, the Cityzens practically confirmed their place in the final with a good counterattack. De Bruyne fed Phil Foden, whose low cross found an unmarked Mahrez at the far post. The Algerian hit for his second of the evening.
If the tie was not over at that point, it was certainly in the 69th minute that the away team was reduced to ten men. Di Maria was fired at Fernandinho and received a red card.
In the last 20 minutes, several PSG players have lost their minds. Marco Verratti, Presnel Kimpembe and Danilo Pereira have all received reservations, and it could have been worse.
Foden twice came close to putting the icing on the cake for Man City but was twice turned down. The Englishman saw his low shot cut the outside of the far post, and had another effort blocked by Navas.
The game ended 2-0, ensuring that Pep Guardiola’s men won the draw 4-1 on aggregate. They will face Chelsea or Real Madrid in the final.
Man of the Match – Ruben Dias
About half of the Man City squad could have been selected for this award. Kyle Walker did a great job keeping Neymar calm, Fernandinho dominated things in midfield, De Bruyne was influential, Foden showed his incredible talent and Mahrez got the two crucial goals.
But Ruben Dias was once again formidable at the heart of the defense. The goal for the home side was to keep things solid at the back, and that is exactly what he did.
The Portuguese had an answer for everything thrown at them. He produced blocks, headers, clearances, tackles – everything you expect from your center-back on a big night out.
The 23-year-old has already proven himself to be a good deal and is quickly becoming one of the best center-backs in the world.
What future for PSG?
It doesn’t seem obvious yet, but it could be a very damaging defeat for the Parisians.
First, the Champions League may have been Mauricio Pochettino’s best chance to save his job. He took over from a team that has dominated nationally for the last decade or so, and it seems unlikely that he will win the league title. He could still lift the Coupe de France, but that is unlikely to satisfy the advice.
However, despite their national success, PSG have yet to win anything on the European stage. If Pochettino was the man to ultimately bring the Champions League to Paris, that would likely be enough to keep him in charge.
But, perhaps more importantly, it is possible that the future of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe will depend on this competition.
The forwards are two of the best and most valuable players in the world, and both have been linked with moves away from Parc des Princes in recent months. If they don’t win top honors, it’s hard to see them stick around.
What will be more worrying for PSG is the fact that Neymar and Mbappe are both out of contract in 2022. They could choose to sell them both this summer to avoid the risk of losing around 400 for free. million euros of talent.
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