Riyad Mahrez bagged a brace to power Manchester City to a decisive 2-0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of their 2020/21 Champions League semi-final on Tuesday night at the Etihad Stadium.
The result gives City a 4-1 triumph on aggregate, sending the club to their first ever Champions League final. It also marks the first European final for coach Pep Guardiola since 2011 when he guided Barcelona to the title.
City will now await the winner of Wednesday’s semi final between Chelsea and Real Madrid.
The big news from the release of the starting line-ups was the exclusion of Kylian Mbappe from the PSG XI due to injury. But was all PSG at the start and thought they had a penalty inside the first seven minutes on a Oleksandr Zinchenko handball, but VAR correctly ruled that the ball hit the back of the shoulder.
City’s first foray forward proved fruitful, starting off with a superb long ball from goalkeeper Ederson leading to a Kevin de Bruyne shot that was initially blocked by Marquinhos, but Riyad Mahrez was there to ponce on the rebound and slot in past PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas for a 1-0 lead.
PSG went right back into attack in their search for an early goal and Marquinhos nearly got it when he rose up to meet an Angel Di Maria cross only to see his header bounce off the crossbar and out. That was followed by a gilt-edged chance for Di Maria when Ederson was off his line, but the Argentine winger fired wide.
The City defence were keeping the PSG attack at bay and the hosts nearly tacked on a second right before the break with a Bernardo Silva shot taking a deflection and spinning just wide of goal.
City came out for the second half with the clear approach of possessing the ball as the best form of defence, forcing PSG to make desperate and rash decisions without the ball.
PSG’s commitment to pushing numbers forward played right into City’s hands, as a counterattack led to a Phil Foden cross for Mahrez to hammer into net, stretching the City lead to 2-0 and 4-1 on aggregate, all but sealing the tie.
The match was pretty much lost for PSG and then they lost their heads when Di Maria foolishly stomped on the foot of Fernandinho with the ball out of play, resulting in a straight red card and PSG to play the final 20 minutes a man down.
Foden came within a whisker of putting a bow on City‘s complete performance with a stinging left-footer, but was denied by the post.
City’s high line of pressure completely neutralised PSG, making for an easy finish to matters and the start of a celebration in Manchester’s blue half.