Manchester City dispatch PSG to reach 1st Champions League final
Sports Desk, May 4 (EFE).- Manchester City are headed to their first-ever Champions League final after beating Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Tuesday on a brace by Riyad Mahrez to win the semifinal tie 4-1 on aggregate.
City players reacted with emotion after the final whistle sounded on a snowy pitch at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium.
It was also a moment of joy for coach Pep Guardiola, who hoisted the Champions League trophy twice as coach of Barcelona and guided Bayern Munich to the semifinals in each of his four seasons with the German club only to be eliminated on all four of those occasions.
City are closing in on their third Premier League title in four seasons with Pep at the helm, and their fifth in the last decade, but European glory has remained elusive.
PSG, who lost the 2020 Champions League final to Bayern Munich, faced a tough challenge after falling 1-2 to City in last week’s first leg in Paris.
Luck appeared to be on the visitors’ side when the referee pointed to the spot in the 7th minute for a hand ball in the box by City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko.
But the penalty was denied after VAR determined that Neymar’s cross hit Zinchenko on the shoulder, not the arm.
Three minutes later, City goalkeeper Ederson got the ball to Zinchenko deep in PSG territory and the Ukrainian passed back to Kevin de Bruyne.
Marquinhos – the author of PSG’s goal in the first leg – blocked the Belgian’s shot, but the ball ended up at the feet of Mahrez and he sent it past keeper Keylor Navas to extend City’s advantage to 3-1.
The Parisians did their best to respond.
Angel Di Maria’s corner kick in the 17th minute found Marquinhos at the far post, but his header went off the cross-bar.
Di Maria threatened in the 19th, stealing the ball from Bernardo Silva before trying to catch Ederson off his line, only to send the shot wide.
De Bruyne fired over the cross-bar in the 30th minute, six minutes before PSG’s Ander Herrera did likewise.
Navas did well to deny Mahrez in first-half stoppage time and keep PSG’s slim hopes alive.
The Costa Rican made a pair of great stops against City’s Phil Foden in the space of two minutes early in the second half, while defender Ruben Dias blocked a Herrera effort in the 61st minute, which proved to be PSG’s last opportunity of the night.
Mahrez put City on top 4-1 in the 63rd minute, scoring on the counter with an assist from Foden, and PSG went down to 10 men for the final 20 minutes with the expulsion of Di Maria, who picked up a straight red card for shoving and kicking Fernandinho. EFE