BEVERLY HILLS, May 05, (THEWILL) – It was the day of the Algerian Riyad Mahrez as the striker for the English Premier League side Manchester City took the UEFA Champions League second leg semi-final fixture against Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain by storm, scoring twice twice to give the Cityzens their first UCL final qualification in their history.
Pep Guardiola’s side produced a masterful team performance to beat 10-man Paris Saint-Germain 2-0, as the French champions and last year’s finalists were numerically reduced after Argentine midfielder Angel Di Maria was shown a straight red for an angry reaction against Fernandinho for City, as tempers boiled on the PSG side.
The Algerian, Mahrez broke the deadlock with just 11 minutes on the clock to give the under pressure hosts the lead. Fortunately for City, VAR intervened to overrule a penalty against Oleksandr Zinchenko for handball before Mahrez scored.
In the absence of goal-scoring Frenchman Kylian Mbappe, still nursing an injury, the French team could hardly find a way through the brilliant and compact City backline no matter how many times they came knocking. But, as they persisted, they left openings in the back.
It was this opportunity that City exploited with a sharp counter and exchange of rapid passes between Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne, Foden again and Mahrez that gave City a second goal and confirmed their passage to the club’s debut European final in 51 years.
Mauricio Pochettino made some changes and introduced Danilo Periera and Colin Dagba but the defense held, the numerical advantage was obvious and but for the woodwork, Foden could have added to the tally to widen the aggregate difference.
It ended with City deservedly taking both legs with a 4-1 success on aggregate for their seventh straight Champions League/European Cup win. They therefore go into the final with a new record for the longest ever run by an English team in the history of the competition, which is not bad for their first time so far in the UCL.
The men from the Etihad will now meet either Real Madrid or Chelsea in the final at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul on May 29.