Riyad Mahrez double sends relentless Man City to first ever Champions League final

Date published: Tuesday 4th May 2021 9:58 - Robert McCarthy

Riyad Mahrez TEAMtalk

Manchester City will play either Chelsea or Real Madrid in their first-ever Champions League final after beating PSG 2-0 on the night, 4-1 on aggregate in the semis at the Etihad.

Riyad Mahrez’s double secured City’s path to Istanbul on May 29 in an ill-tempered game which saw Angel Di Maria sent off as PSG lost the plot late on.

Pep Guardiola’s men will be appearing in their first European final in 51 years, having won the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1970.

It was a victory that was thoroughly deserved, with City’s centre-back duo Ruben Dias and John Stones sensational throughout.

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

However, the decision was swiftly overturned by VAR after replays clearly showed the ball struck to the top of the left-back’s shoulder.

City gave themselves further breathing space in the tie when Mahrez gave them the lead on the night and a 3-1 aggregate advantage.

Zinchenko broke clear down the left, after a brilliant ball forward 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 tight angle.

The visitors came close to a swift response when Marquinos hit the bar with a towering header from a corner. And City got lucky moments later when Ederson tried to play out from the back, Di Maria pounced before curling an effort just wide – with the City stopper scrambling to get back.

The home side came close to virtually wrapping up the tie in first-half stoppage time when Mahrez’s cross-shot was kept out by the feet of Keylor Navas at his near post.

City show silk and steel

Pep Guardiola’s men started the second period on the front foot and they came close to doubling their lead on the night when a brilliant Foden volley was pushed out by Navas.

Riyad Mahrez TEAMtalk

At the other end, a brilliant Neymar run was superbly stopped by a brilliant combination block by Stones and Zinchenko.

Moise Kean and Julian Draxler were introduced from the bench by Mauricio Pochettino to try and find a route back into the tie with 30 minutes to go.

But PSG’s hopes suffered a dagger to the heart on the counter-attack when De Bruyne played in Foden down the left and his cross to the far post was powered home by Mahrez.

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

Foden was so unlucky not to add a third on the night when his drive across Navas struck the far post.

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

 

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