Match Report

Mahrez fires City to first Champions League final

Mahrez fires City to first Champions League final
Champions League
Champions League
Tue 4 May
2
0
Riyad Mahrez 
(11’, 63’)
View highlights
Riyad Mahrez scored twice against 10-man Paris Saint-Germain to send Manchester City through to the Champions League final for the first time with a 4-1 aggregate victory.

Having seized control of the tie with a superb performance in last week’s first leg, Pep Guardiola’s side delivered another outstanding display and the Algerian was again the match-winner.

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City tightened our grip on the contest in the 11th minute when Mahrez reacted quickest to Kevin De Bruyne’s deflected shot and slid the ball under Keylor Navas after Ederson's raking 60-yard pass initiated a rapid break.

The winger put the result beyond doubt just after the hour mark as he tapped in Phil Foden’s cross at the far post to finish off another slick counter-attack shortly before Angel Di Maria received a straight red card for kicking out at Fernandinho after the two players exchanged words on the sideline.


                        Mahrez fires City to first Champions League final

It was a sign of how much City had frustrated the visitors, but for all the night belonged to Guardiola’s men, it was not without its scares.

PSG saw a penalty – awarded for a suspected handball by Oleksandr Zinchenko – overturned by VAR with the score at 0-0, whilst Marquinhos sent a header crashing against the crossbar and Di Maria curled a 20-yard effort inches wide when Ederson was caught out of position.

But despite Mauricio Pochettino's side's efforts in attack, that was as close as they come to scoring, as the commanding display of our back four nullified their threat in the final third.

City can now look forward to facing Real Madrid or Chelsea in the final and it is no more than we deserved after a brilliant performance over the two legs which highlights how far we’ve come in this competition.


                        Mahrez fires City to first Champions League final

A colossal performance

The celebrations at full-time proved how much this moment meant to Guardiola and his players and the significance of this victory cannot be underestimated.

This group have conquered all before them domestically, but that has not been the case in Europe, where we had lost at the quarter-final stage in each of the previous three campaigns, with the agonising exit to Tottenham Hotspur in 2019 followed by a disappointing defeat to Lyon last season.

Before this game, John Stones called for City to use those memories as motivation and his rallying cry was certainly heard by his team-mates.

PSG’s moments were fleeting, but they still had opportunities and City refused to wilt under the pressure.


                        Mahrez fires City to first Champions League final

The game was won with two wonderful attacking moves that have become the trademark of the Guardiola era, but it was our work defensively that perhaps demonstrated how much we have matured in European competition.

There were heroic efforts across the pitch, from the evergreen Fernandinho marshalling the team through a feisty affair, to Foden – who hit the post with an angled drive - again showing how at home he is in world class company.

But most impressive was the performance from City’s back four, who put their body on the line time and time again.

John Stones and Ruben Dias made countless blocks, with the latter putting his face in the way to stop Ander Herrera’s goal bound volley and, when the Portuguese defender was beaten by Neymar's jinking run, Zinchenko threw himself in the way of the Brazilian's strike.

Team spirit and the collective effort has characterised City’s season and it was the case again on a landmark night for the Club.


                        Mahrez fires City to first Champions League final

Pep Guardiola

"My first word is for the players who didn’t play today. I am so sorry for them because they have been fantastic all season and I know how tough it is not to play.

"The second word is for our owner and chairman in Abu Dhabi and all the people in other departments. I would like to say it is for all the players before us, Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee, but especially those that came after the takeover that helped to take this club to another level.

"I remember, Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Komany, David Silva and Sergio [Aguero], who is here. Many players who have helped get us to this stage and without them it would not be possible to be here. It is an incredible and huge victory."

Man of the Match - Riyad Mahrez

The player of the tie. 

The 30-year-old is enjoying a fine season in which he has proven his match winning capabilities time and time again and this was just another reminder of his ability to swing games in City's favour. 


                        Mahrez fires City to first Champions League final

Statzone

This win means we have won our last seven Champions League matches, which is the longest ever winning run by an English team in European Cup/Champions League history.

We are also the first English side to win 11 games in a single European Cup/Champions League campaign.

What it means

City will meet Chelsea or Real Madrid in the final at Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium on Saturday 29 May.

It will be our first European final since our 1970 Cup Winners’ Cup victory over Górnik Zabrze and the 51-years between those games breaks the record for the longest gap between appearances in European finals which was previously held by Sporting Lisbon (41-years between 1964 Cup Winners’ Cup final and 2005 UEFA Cup final).

What’s next

City welcome Chelsea to the Etihad for a game of similar significance on Saturday 8 May.

Victory over Thomas Tuchel’s side would see us crowned Premier League champions with three games to spare, putting us 16 points clear of second place Manchester United who only have 15 points left to play for.

Kick-off is at 17.30 (UK).

Next Fixture

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Premier League

Man City

BST

Chelsea

Teams

CITY: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gundogan, Bernardo (Sterling 82’), Mahrez, Foden (Aguero 85’), De Bruyne (Jesus 82’).

SUBS: Steffen, Carson, Ake, Laporte, Rodrigo, Torres, Mendy, Cancelo.

PSG: Navas, Florenzi (Daba 75’), Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Diallo (Bakker 82’), Herrera (Draxler 62’), Paredes (Danil 75’), Veratti, Di Maria, Neymar, Icardi (Kean 62’).

SUBS: Rico, Randriamamy, Kehrer, Mbappe, Rafinha, Sarabia, Kurzawa.

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