A game that had everything. It had action, drama, and most notably, a comeback. Pep Guardiola has reached a UEFA Champions League semi-final for the first time since he won the competition with his fierce Barcelona team back in 2011. It is a record the Spanish manager would be very relieved to have broken having been knocked out at the quarter-final stage last year. Mauricio Pochettino is a Champions League finalist as he reached and lost the 2019 final with Tottenham against Liverpool. Now in charge of last year’s finalists PSG, Poch will be hoping to go all the way. PSG came into this tie with a wealth of experience under their belt. The Parisians had never beaten the Citizens in a knockout tie (2 draws and a loss), it was bound to be a cracker.
PSG showed their class early on as the Parisians got off to a bright start and caused all sorts of troubles to the City backline and it didn’t take too long till Ederson was called into action and what a save it was. Neymar was at the center here as he swirled around the defenders and unleashed a close-range shot that Ederson tipped to the crossbar. It was an incredible save from Ederson to deny him. He couldn’t keep out his compatriot Marquinhos though. Angel di Maria is one of the underrated world-class footballers of his generation and he was strutting his stuff, especially in the first half of the game. El Fideo executed a perfect corner kick and the Brazilian headed in leaving Ederson in the wind. PSG had drawn first blood on 15. 1-0.
The citizens were on the back foot and chasing the game. Bernado Silva received a lofted pass and was given enough time and space to bring it down but his shot didn’t have enough power to beat Keylor Navas. PSG came close to doubling their lead. Neymar with the corner and Leandro Paredes evaded his marker to connect with the cross but his header zipped past the left-hand post and City survived. Manchester City probed as they looked to try and draw level and just before halftime Keylor Navas was called into action again by Phil Foden. He fashioned some space in the box and unleashed a quick shot into the top of the net but Navas saved brilliantly. City trailed but by slim margins as PSG conserved their lead until halftime.
City could not back down from this fight. Pep Guardiola said he did not tweak the tactics but instead asked them to play with more personality. They only needed an away goal to get back into the game and Keylor Navas in the PSG goal gifted it to them. The Costa Rican with a major clanger that cost his team. Kevin De Bryne sent a lofted ball into the box which was misjudged by the keeper and his defense. The ball nestled into the back of the net. 64 minutes, 1-1.
Riyad Mahrez then sealed the tie with a moment of magic even though the spell he cast yielded a different result as he would later admit. City won a free-kick within his territory and the Algerian magician hit the ball into the net. The defensive wall was a disgrace as Presnel Kimpembe and Paredes parted to allow the ball to go through. Marco Verratti who was lying on the ground to prevent low shots must have been furious, as was Keylor Navas after conceding two weird goals. City had completed their comeback and now led 1-2 on 71.
PSG, who had won the first half now found themselves on the backfoot. To compound matters, they were reduced to 10 men as Idrissa Gana Gueye was sent off with a straight red after a horrendous tackle on Ilkay Gundogan. The game was now well and truly turned on its head. Manchester City were a goal and a man up sand were looking more dangerous. PSG were forced to do damage control. The dazzling young English playmaker Phil Foden produced a shot after an amazing solo run but Keylor Navas with yet another spectacular save that kept PSG hopes alive in the tie. City controlled proceedings with relative ease and saw the game out keeping their unbeaten run against the French side intact and their European dreams alive. PSG 1-2 Manchester City it ended.