Our 3️⃣ points as Man City beat PSG to reach maiden CL final

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OneFootball

Alex Mott

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Manchester City will play in their first ever Champions League final after beating Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 on Tuesday evening.

Manchester City 2
Paris Saint-Germain 0
Full time

Riyad Mahrez was the hero as his double ensured City won 4-1 on aggregate, with the away side going down to 10-man late on thanks to Angel Di Maria’s petulant red card.


Never in doubt

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Manchester City have done it.

Thirteen years after Sheikh Mansour totally upended British football and poured his billions into the club, City have done what they always planned to – reach a Champions League final.

Neutrals can talk about the money, but it’s useless if it’s spent badly.

This has been a plan a decade in the making, and made real once Pep Guardiola walked through the door in 2016.

It’s been a long five years in many ways, with Europe always proving to be the Achilles Heel for the Catalan coach.

Defeats to Monaco, Tottenham and Lyon have been equal parts heart-breaking, unnecessary and totally predictable.

But this win was different.

Paris Saint-Germain may have come into these two games with the world’s most expensive strikeforce but not once since Marquinhos goal early in the first leg have City been under pressure.

That’s been down to an astonishing defence, led here by the imperious Ruben Dias, a midfield able to work the ball at their will and an attack that presses from the front and provides the killer instinct when needed.

Phil Foden was extraordinary, Oleksandr Zinchenko was a hero down the left-hand side and Fernandinho’s nous was invaluable.

But this wasn’t an evening for the individual, this was an evening for the team – the best team in Europe.


New heights

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Sergio Agüero, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Ferran Torres and Gabriel Jesus.

All attacking options for Pep Guardiola, all – at the start of the season anyway – considered more likely match-winners than Riyad Mahrez.

What the Algerian has done this season though, to turn his City career around and turn himself into one of the most-decisive players in Europe, is extraordinary.

The former Leicester player always seemed like a strange fit at the Etihad, a player of undoubted quality but, from the outside at least, one who would struggle with the tactical rigour of a Pep side.

How wrong does that seem now?

Mahrez has slowly grown to become one of the first names on the team sheet and taken his world class ability and added a discipline which has turned the mercurial wide man into the ultimate Guardiola attacker.

He was at it again tonight, scoring after only 10 minutes with, of all things, his right foot.

It was his third goal in three Champions League knockout games for City but he wasn’t done there.

Tapping in at the back post after a sublime counter-attack Mahrez added his, and City’s second, with 25 minutes to go and booked their place in Istanbul.


Got the Ic

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There was one man in Manchester tonight, probably watching on TV, who really could have made the difference for Paris Saint-Germain.

Edinson Cavani has his detractors at the Parc des Princes but how Mauricio Pochettino could have done with him this evening.

As it was, with Kylian Mbappé out injured, the French giants turned to Mauro Icardi to lead the line, and what a terrible decision that proved out to be.

The Argentine striker offered next to nothing all game long, touching the ball an astonishing 16 times in the entire game – less than Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson, who reached 19.

Now, admittedly, Icardi isn’t exactly known for his excessive workout rate and building up of play, but even for him this was remarkably poor.

In complete contrast to the Uruguayan’s skill-set his profligacy really set PSG back in their bid to overturn a 2-1 aggregate deficit.

Neymar, Mbappé and a proper world class number nine would be terrifying next season – unfortunately that will be a few months too late for Les Parisien.