Man City cause PSG capitulation as visitors earn CL semi-final advantage

Date published: Wednesday 28th April 2021 9:53 - Samuel Bannister

Manchester City came from behind to beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final at Parc Des Princes.

PSG were the better team in the first half but City turned the tie on its head after the break. Away goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez proved decisive on the night. It ensures the Ligue 1 side will have to score at least twice in the return leg as City look to hold on to their lead and reach a first ever Champions League final.

City made four changes to the starting lineup that won the Carabao Cup at the weekend. Ederson, John Stones, Rodri and Bernardo Silva came in for Zack Steffen, Aymeric Laporte, Fernandinho and Raheem Sterling.

The lineup only featured one different player to the last side that Pep Guardiola had fielded in the Champions League against Borussia Dortmund, as he stuck with his formula for the competition.

The PSG lineup they were coming up against was also littered with star names such as Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Marquinhos.

Ederson was the first goalkeeper to make a save, after Mbappe set up Neymar on a counter attack before the Brazilian took aim at goal.

PSG kept the pressure on with Alessandro Florenzi seeing a powerful strike blocked. Shortly after, Neymar forced Ederson to tip the ball over the bar.

The hosts’ intensity paid off in the 15th minute. Angel Di Maria swung a corner in, which Marquinhos glanced into the far corner with the back of his head to make it 1-0.

Stunned, City responded with their first genuine chance when Silva forced a save from Keylor Navas with an instinctive effort.

A couple of corners in quick succession led to more chances for PSG, as they looked to repeat the method by which they had taken the lead. Leandro Paredes in particular went close with one header.

At the other end, Paredes cleared away a goalbound effort from Mahrez.

Another shot on target for City came via Phil Foden towards the end of the first half. However, he directed his effort straight at Navas.

De Bruyne inspires turnaround

City started the second half with intent, but Mbappe created danger at the opposite end to keep them alert.

De Bruyne tried to spark City back into life with an acrobatic reverse volley, but it sailed narrowly over the bar.

It didn’t take long for De Bruyne to hit the target, though. Soon after, his cross evaded everyone and left Navas helpless as it crept in at the far post. Not only were City now level, they also had a crucial away goal.

De Bruyne was expected to be the danger man again when standing over a free kick on the edge of the box. Instead, though, Mahrez took it – and immediately showed why.

The Algerian squeezed the ball in between the wall, sending it beyond Navas’ reach into the bottom corner.

Within seven minutes, the game had completely turned around and City were in control.

They were keen to keep it that way and had a chance to extend their lead when Foden headed into Navas’ palms.

PSG were unravelling and things went from bad to worse for them when Idrissa Gueye was shown a straight red card for a late, studded challenge on Ilkay Gundogan.

City sensed an opportunity to put daylight between themselves and their opponents and Mahrez went close with a powerful, left-footed effort.

City may have been holding their collective breath when De Bruyne caught Danilo Pereira with his studs. PSG swarmed around the referee, but he only brandished a yellow card.

Foden then tried to turn the attention back to the goalmouth action, but once again shot at a comfortable range for Navas.

Then, in stoppage time, De Bruyne made Navas work to tip a powerful effort over.

They couldn’t add to their two goals, but City had done enough to earn the lead at the half-way stage of the tie. They will look to finish the job in their home leg on Tuesday.


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