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Manchester City vs Paris Saint-Germain at Etihad Stadium

FT
Etihad Stadium Referee : Björn Kuipers
4th May 2021 8:00 PM (BST)
  • 2 Manchester City

    • ‘11' Riyad Mahrez
    • ‘63' Riyad Mahrez
  • 0 Paris Saint-Germain

#mancity

Commentary By Rob Pollard

23:33

That's all for tonight

I am signing off now. 

That was a special night - a performance to remember.

The Carabao Cup is already in the bag and a win on Saturday would seal our third Premier League title in four seasons. 

And now we have a Champions League final to look forward to at the end of the month. 

This is turning into our best ever season. 

Goodnight everyone. Drink it in. 

22:50

More from Pep

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

"The second word is for our chairman in Abu Dhabi and all the people in other departments and for the former players, like Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee and also the players who have helped get this club to where we are - Joe Hart, David Silva, Komapny. 

"Without them we would not be here. An incredible, huge victory for us."

22:38

Pep reaction

"They win the league every year, they are a team built to win, they fought to the end. They a huge team but we were so composed. We fought together and we're in the final of the Champions League and those are nice words. People believe it’s easy to arrive in the final of the Champions League. Getting to the final now makes sense of what we have done in the past four or five years. Every day these guys have been consistent and this is remarkable. We scored a goal through the hips in the first game, and today Marquinhos hit the bar in the first half - you can be out for little details.

"United won a title because of John Terry's slip and in the last minute against Bayern Munich and Real won a title against Atletico in the 93rd minute. It’s a competition that is so difficult and something in the stars is involved in that."

22:38

More from Pep

"They put a lot of players in the middle and we struggled a lot in the first half to high press and we changed at half-time. We recovered the ball better in the second half and we were much better in the way we played and 4-1 on aggregate against a team that beat Barcelona and Bayern Munich means a lot to us."

22:37
22:27

Pep [on being back in CL final]

"People believe it’s easy. Because what happened in the past, I have to arrive there every year. 

"Now getting to the final makes sense with what we have done in the last years. 

"These guys have shown consistency in the last four years - it’s been remarkable. 

"We won first game because we shoot between hips, post for Marquinhos today. - you are out for little details.

"It's competition that is so difficult. Something it's written in the stars. 

"But we won 11 games, just a draw with Porto and we make an incredible Champions League."

22:25

UEFA Technical Observer Gareth Southgate said of the Player of the Match:

"He showed outstanding leadership and defensive organisation. He built the game securely and made numerous important tackles, blocks and clearances." 

22:22

Pep reaction

"Yeah definitely, it's a big step for all of us, for the club of course. 

"I am incredibly proud. My first thoughts always are for the players who didn't play. They deserve today, everyone has made a contribution in this Champions League this season. 

"We now have three weeks to prepare for the final."

22:09

CITY! CITY! CITY!

Manchester City’s 2-0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain means we have set a new record for the longest winning run by an English side in Europe’s elite club competition.

We have now won seven matches in succession, moving ahead of Manchester United (1965-66), Leeds United (1969-70) and Arsenal (2005) who all managed six in the European Cup/Champions League.

What a team this is.

22:03

Mahrez reaction

"Yeah it was a very good game. 

"We didn’t start good again. We didn’t have a good first half but then we were more comfortable after the goal and second half played very good. 

"We had a lot of chances and then they lost their nerves and started kicking us. After the red it was more comfortable for us."

22:01

Neil Leigh at the Etihad

Counter attacking football at its finest from City supplied that killer second strike.

What a goal, what a team.

City had been put under pressure by PSG but we had held firm and then struck in quite devastating fashion with Riyad Mahrez the man of the moment again as he finished a sweeping raid up field.

Elsewhere, Fernandinho is 36 years young today but, like a fine wine, he just gets better with age.

Our captain has been a quet, assured and vital figure at the base of our midfield.

And that influence is apparent wherever you look amongst his City team-mates with Ruben Dias the latest to put his body on the line and block a goalbound PSG effort.

Truly a team effort by City – the very essence of what we are about.

Brilliant

86'

Neil Leigh at the Etihad

Fernandinho is 36 years young today but, like a fine wine, he just gets better with age.

Our captain has been a quiet, assured and vital figure at the base of our midfield.

And what a birthday present for him – a place in the Champions League final beckons.

And that influence is apparent wherever you look amongst his City team-mates who to a man have put their bodies on the line.

Truly a terrific team effort by City – the very essence of what we are about.

Brilliant.

84'

City still going forward

Sterling and Stones play a one-two on the edge of the area, but the return ball for the defender is hit too hard. 

We won't stop attacking. 

79'

Neil Leigh at the Etihad

For the second game running a PSG man sees red in the heat of battle.

Just as last week in Paris, Angel Di Maria can have no complaints about the decision following his challenge on Fernandinho.

A tough task with 11 men – remember PSG need to score three goals – suddenly has become a whole lot tougher with ten.

And Phil Foden almost sealed the deal with a thunderous shot which thumped back off the post

Less than 15 minutes for City to see out the job and seal our ticket to the Champions League final.

Don’t want to jinx it but it’s looking good!

78'

Class all over

SOOOO many big performances out there tonight. 

Zinchenko is one of the most underrated players out there. 

Stones and Dias = pure class. 

Fernandinho has celebrated his birthday in style. 

Mahrez has been a cut above. 

I could go on...

Open
77'

OMG

Fernandinho with a lovely little flick into Foden, who shimmies and shoots but it smacks the base of the post. 

If that'd gone in, I was off down the road. 

73'

Temperature rising

Tempers very frayed now. Zinchenko booked. 

Mahrez weaves his way through and tries to complete his hat-trick, but his effort is blocked. 

And breathe. 

Open
69'

He's off

Di Maria sent off for kicking out at Fernandinho just off the side of the pitch.

PSG's frustrations have been clear for a while. A red card was coming for someone and it's Angel Di Maria. 

63'

Superb counter-attacking football

Another fine counter. City absorbing pressure and hitting PSG on the break. 

De Bruyne slides in Foden, whose low cross to the back post was perfect. 

There's Mahrez to tap home. 

GET IN


58'

Neil Leigh at the Etihad

As if on cue, the rain has returned for the start of the second half and it’s still very feisty out there.

One of those nights where the referee could do with eyes in the back of his head.

PSG, as they must, are looking to attack at every opportunity.

City are staying disciplined and seeking to secure what would be a game defining second goal.

And we have just seen a stupendous block by Oleks Zinchenko as he slid in to deny Neymar’s goal bound shot.

HUGE. Every single member of the City bench stood up to applaud that.

The Champions League at its most compelling.

55'

Top defending

Up the other end, Neymar goes past Dias in the area and shoots - but Zinchenko makes a fine block. 

Walker will breathe a sigh of relief after he gave it away. 

Open
52'

Flag up

City break superbly. 

Gundogan finds De Bruyne with a fine pass, and the Belgian releases Foden. 

He marches through and is one-on-one with Navas - but the keeper comes out and smothers it. 

Foden was offside anway. 

49'

Riyad looking good

Mahrez causing PSG problems again. This time Diallo has to bring him down. 

He takes players on with ease, which creates danger - as well as space for his teammates. 

Vital player for us, right now. 

HT

Neil Leigh at the Etihad

Wow.

That first 45 minutes had everything you would want from a game of this stature.

Drama, intrigue, controversy… and a City goal!

There is no doubt we are good value for that precious lead. There has been an admirable composure and a calmness about so much of our work despite what is at stake.

However, there have been a few nervous moments too with PSG looking a threat every time they pour forward.

You feel the next goal will be decisive in terms of the overall tie.

Another City strike will put Pep’s side in a commanding position but still work to do.

HT

Top-drawer

They say Champions League semi-final second legs is where it's at. 

This is further evidence that is true. 

Drama. Passion. Pace. Intensity. 

An incredible game so far. 

45'+2'

I can't keep up

Mahrez's drilled cross parried away frantically by Navas.

Bernardo follows up by trying to bend the ball into the far corner, but Kimpembe's head takes it for a corner. 

Breathless. 

43'

Ding dong

What a game - end to end. 

Bernardo breaks at pace, plays in Mahrez, who tries to find De Bruyne at the back post - but it's cleared. 

One end then the other. 

39'

Foden on fire

Decent move from City, sparked by Foden moving through the gears and taking players on. 

In the end, some tight passing between Zinchenko and Mahrez is dealt with by PSG.

Foden is unreal. 

35'

Powerful strike

Herrera with a left-foot strike from the edge of the area - just off target. He caught that pretty well. 

Decent chance and another sighter for the visitors. 

35'

Neil Leigh at the Etihad

Kyle Walker was outstanding at the Pace des Princes last week and he has had another exemplary first 35 minutes here.

The England full back has made a couple of vital blocks to stop Neymar in his tracks while his pace has seen him motor forward to great effect too.

The very essence of a team player, Walker surely epitomises the make-up and mentality of this City side.

34'

Stable City

We look very disciplined and stable. 

That's perhaps the biggest difference between City of this season in the Champions League and seasons past. 

24'

Decent start

It's been a good opening 25 minutes for City. 

A few hairy moments, as you'd expect against a side with as much attacking quality as PSG, but we've generally looked very good. 

And, crucially, we've scored. 

Plenty more to come tonight, though. This game only just getting going. 

24'

Stones 🔥

John Stones looking imperious so far. 

An important header at the back stick and some confident play on the ball bringing it out defence - it's been an assured start. 

21'

Neil Leigh at the Etihad

Oh my.

How are your nerves? Mine are shot to pieces and we are only 20 minutes in

This game has had everything already just as a Champions League semi-final should.

First Marquinhos smacks a header against the bar and then Di Maria is a fraction wide after a mix up in the City box.

PSG throwing everything at us – as they must.

A reminder there is still plenty of work to do before we cross the finishing line.

Plenty of bite and bark out there too – it’s feisty and frantic.

The only sadness on a night like this is that there are no fans here to witness the compelling drama.

19'

Big chance for PSG

Ederson releases the ball quickly but Bernardo is dispossessed. Di Maria then shoots quickly with Ederson out of position - but he misses the target.

A huge let off.

16'

Marquinhos so close

Great chance for the visitors. 

Di Maria stands the ball up to the back post and Marquinhos' header hits the bar. 

Another warning shot fired. 

15'

Free-kick PSG

Gundogan trips Neymar on the edge of the area. 

Definite foul. 

This is a good free-kick opportunity for PSG.

Di Maria and Neymar stood over it. 

14'

Neil Leigh at the Etihad

Blimey – talk about dramatic start.

A penalty call for PSG which is then overturned by a VAR check which is surpassed by Riyad Mahrez’s vital strike.

From the off we saw a few meaty challenges which got PSG up in arms.

Well, it is a Champions League semi-final after all.

The movement of the ball doesn’t seem to have been affected too much by the sleet and hail and its PSG who had the early pressure culminating that penalty call after referee Bjorn Kuipers adjudged Zinchenko had handled.

After vociferous City protests the official went to the monitor and overruled the call with replays showing it had struck his shoulder.

Then came our all-important goal with our Algerian winger finding the target superbly after Kevin De Bruyne shot had been blocked.

Can’t take your eyes off this for a second and PSG don’t forget now need three goals to win.

I’ll take that. 

10'

YESSSSSSSSS

Ederson with a brilliant long-range pass to Zinchenko, who cuts the ball back to De Bruyne. 

The Belgian's effort is blocked, but Mahrez follows up and scores with a first-time finish. 

YESSSSSSSS

1'

Weather report

The ball is moving fine, no issues there. 

But the visibility of the ball isn't the best. 

Crazy weather for May. Even in Manchester. 

19:56

A reminder of the teams

City XI: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Silva, Mahrez, Foden, De Bruyne 

Subs: Steffen, Carson, Ake, Sterling, Jesus, Aguero, Laporte, Rodrigo, Torres, Mendy, Cancelo 

PSG XI: Navas, Florenzi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Diallo, Herrera, Paredes, Di Maria, Verratti, Neymar, Icardi

Subs: Rico, Randriamamy, Kehrer, Mbappe, Rafinha, Danilo, Kean, Sarabia, Kurzawa, Draxler, Bakker, Dagba

19:54

Neil Leigh at the Etihad

The warms ups are done and dusted with the teams back in the dressing rooms and, thankfully, the biblical weather has finally eased off.

What feels like a long, long build up is almost behind us.

Ground staff are sweeping the two penalty areas of sleet and hail along with the centre circle.

We’re almost ready to go.

A memorable and hopefully historic night for City is about to unfold.

19:54

Six minutes

I don't want to go OTT but this game feels incredibly significant. 

For those who followed the club to the depths of the old Division Two, to come into a Champions League semi-final against a world-class team 2-1 up from the away leg is, quite frankly, an absurd feeling. 

It's been the loooongest buildup to a game ever but we are six minutes away now. 

Not sure I've go the stomach for it, but let's give it a go. 

19:49

Goater

"I think tactically I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ferna shift to the right-back area when we attack - he has an aggressiveness that we all know. 

"He’s a proper leader but when players run at him he puts the challenge in. This is what we love, Pep has plans within plans, one minute you see Ferna playing between the two centre-backs, then he drifts to the right, so you just have to think ‘this man sees so much’ and how he looks at the game.

"This is why I’m excited."

19:36

More from Guardiola

"Icardi moves really well in the box, the set pieces and is strong in the air. 

"He has pace but not Mbappe’s unique rhythm. 

"He can score - all players in this level are good."

19:29

Neil Leigh at the Etihad

City out for their pre match warm up – and in their wildest dreams they wouldn’t to have expected to find the conditions that greeted them.

There’s a thin but distinctive sheen of hail carpeted across the playing surface leaving a tell-tale trail wherever a pass is made.

Will that affect the run of the ball? We’ll soon find out.

The PSG squad also going through their collective paces.

You would swear we were playing in the depths of winter.

One thing is for sure – it’s new territory for a Champions League semi-final!

19:21

Pochettino

"We need to understand that some periods in the game will be ours - these are the times we have to score.

"We have talented players and we have to find a good balance."

19:14

Neil Leigh at the Etihad

A definite added frisson inside the Etihad tonight – and that’s not all down to crazy weather!

There’s a tangible air of anticipation hanging over the stadium wherever you look – and both sides know the magnitude of tonight’s occasion with so much at stake.

The build-up to a game is always arguably the hardest part of match day for players – and never more so with a place in the Champions League final up for grabs.

Both squads are about to make their way out for the pre match warm-up.

That will help settle the nerves.

19:09

Horlock [on Fernandinho]

"Fernandinho was magnificent on Saturday. 

"I know sometimes you don’t see it because you look at the play going forward, but defensively out of possession he’s a master. 

"He sniffs out dangers, puts his body on the line, sees it before it happens. 

"Let’s not kid ourselves, he can play too."

19:06

Inspection

The hailstone continues to fall at the Etihad. 

The referee has been out to inspect the pitch. The ball appeared to be travelling fine, but, clearly, they are questioning whether this game will go ahead. 

Fingers crossed. 

19:05

Horlock [on the first leg result]

"It’s a result we’d 100% have took. I’m hoping the performance in the second half can carry on.

"Ultimately the end goal is getting to the final, hopefully it’s a show in the rain, a few goals and we can all have a party."

18:59

The view of club journalist John Edwards

In the absence of a recognised striker, it looks as if City will line-up as they did in Paris last week. 

The back four should be as expected, with Kyle Walker at right-back and Zinchenko on the opposite side, with John Stones and Ruben Dias in the middle.

Gundogan and Bernardo will sit ahead of Fernandinho, which means De Bruyne will again lead the forward line, with Foden operating on the left wing and Mahrez on the right. 

As always, we'll have to wait until kick-off for the full picture as to how this fluid City side are shaping up.

18:55

Neil Leigh at the Etihad

So, the team news is in and the headlines are dominated by the fact that Kylian Mbappe is not fit to start for the visitors.

Of course, PSG have talents aplenty but there’s no doubt that psychologically the news the French superstar is not fit to start will have handed City a major fillip.

Pep Guardiola meanwhile opts to tweak his line up from the side that played so well in Paris six days ago, turning to the vast experience and big game know-how of Fernandinho with Oleks Zinchenko also returning to the starting line-up.

Difficult to also deflect your gaze here from the mad weather.

It has been extraordinary - even by Manchester’s standards - with hail hurtling down for the past 20  minutes.

So much so that the Etihad surface now has a white sprinkling of hail stones spread liberally across it.

You would think we were playing in December not May!

18:51

PSG team

PSG XI: Navas, Florenzi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Diallo, Herrera, Paredes, Di Maria, Verratti, Neymar, Icardi

Subs: Rico, Randriamamy, Kehrer, Mbappe, Rafinha, Danilo, Kean, Sarabia, Kurzawa, Draxler, Bakker, Dagba

18:45

City team news

City XI: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Silva, Mahrez, Foden, De Bruyne 

Subs: Steffen, Carson, Ake, Sterling, Jesus, Aguero, Laporte, Rodrigo, Torres, Mendy, Cancelo 

18:34

Stones [speaking on Monday]

“It’s a big occasion for us as players and the club. A chance to get to the final of the Champions League.

“To be in the situation we are now, you just don't want to let it go.

“We are trying to grab every opportunity to succeed and we want to grab it. We need to show our character and be the Manchester City everyone knows. We want to make history for this club.

 “We go into the game tomorrow to win it. That’s our mindset over the past five years I've been here. Be who we are, playing the way we do.

“If it doesn't work out, we can hold our heads high and know we've been ourselves and shown our identity.

“But I am very confident in the lads and their ability, desire, belief in what we know we can do. I am confident we can go through and make the next step and make history for this club.

“We have to go into the game how we left off in the second half in Paris. It was a great result for us coming away from Paris with two away goals."

18:24

Pep [speaking on Monday]

“Privileged to live it. Privileged to be here, to try to make the final,” he said.

“For most of us in this club, it is the first time [we have played in a Champions League semi-final].

 “We are going to do a good game. What we have to do is win tomorrow and after we see what happens.

“Now we arrive in a good moment. I said to the guys don’t think too much to win the game.

“The same message we have done for the last six or seven months is the same message for tomorrow.

“We approach the game with a small advantage and we have to play to win the game. This is what we will do.”

18:11

Esme Morgan on tonight's game...

"I feel a bit sick actually. I lost my appetite completely at lunch. I’m not sure whether that’s related but it might be…

"I’m very anxious but also so excited. It’s such an amazing opportunity. We’ve never been in such a good position in the Champions League before: with two away goals.

"I’ll be screaming at the television, kicking every ball like every City fan will.

"Hopefully, they’ll feel our support from home and we’ll be able to get the win. It would be such an historic moment and something everybody at the Club has been willing to happen for so many years."

18:05

Neil Leigh at the Etihad

There have been many big, significant nights down the years for Manchester City but whichever way you want to look at it, tonight feels like it could one of THE seismic moments in not just in our remarkable 2020/2021 season but our long and proud history too.

A place in what would be our first-ever Champions League final is the tantalising prize at stake as City play host to Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of our semi-final.

Of course, Pep Guardiola’s side will kick-off tonight holding a precious 2-1 lead following last week’s superb first leg showing in the French capital.

But there’s no doubt that another tough, demanding and nerve-wracking evening awaits against a star-studded PSG side which has already secured impressive wins at Barcelona and Bayern Munich in Europe this season.

However, as well know, nothing worthwhile in life ever comes easy.

So, the scene is set fair, the stakes couldn’t be higher and history – hopefully - beckons for us all.

Don’t know about you but I cannot wait…

18:04

Got you covered

You've got me in the chair this evening guiding through.

And over at the Etihad is our reporter Neil Leigh. 

He'll add his thoughts right here, too. 

18:00

Hello!

Good evening, everyone. 

City v PSG. UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg. 

You don't need me to tell you how big this game is. 

Let's get going. 

City v PSG

Hello!

And welcome to the Matchday Centre for Manchester City’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Paris Saint-Germain.

The game kicks-off at 20:00 (UK) on Tuesday 4 May, when Pep Guardiola’s side will be looking to build on last week’s brilliant 2-1 win in Paris in a bid to reach the final for the first time in the Club’s history.

Our live coverage begins at 18:00, but before then, you can check out all the important pre-match information below.

See you later! 

We're Not Really Here 📺

Shaun Goater and Kevin Horlock are the guests on our live matchday show and will join host Cel Spellman in the studio at the Etihad Stadium.

Our Wembley 1999 heroes will be offering us the benefit of their expertise and providing analysis throughout the evening.

The pre-match show begins at 18:45 (UK) and our panel will reconvene at half-time and full-time to share their thoughts on the action. 

We’re Not Really Here is available to watch across all our digital platforms, including right here in the Matchday Centre.

Early team news

Eric Garcia is the only absentee for City as the young defender remains sidelined with a fever which saw him miss Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace.

Kylian Mbappe is a doubt for PSG, with the striker facing a late fitness test to determine whether he will be involved at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola: Semi-final opportunity a privilege

"Privileged to live it. Privileged to be here, to try to make the final. For most of us in this club, it is the first time [we have played in a Champions League semi-final].

“We are going to do a good game. What we have to do is win tomorrow and after we see what happens. Now we arrive in a good moment. I said to the guys don’t think too much to win the game.

“The same message we have done for the last six or seven months is the same message for tomorrow. We approach the game with a small advantage and we have to play to win the game. This is what we will do.”

Mauricio Pochettino - It's going to be a battle

"It is the intention to deprive them of the ball. We are a team that also likes possession but with a balance between possession and transition, because of the characteristics of our players. We're going to have to be clinical and aggressive. We need two goals. It's going to be a battle, it's going to be difficult, but we have to be ready." 

Other games that day

  • Chelsea0
    Real Madrid0
    KO

As it stood

P GD Pts
2 FC Porto 6 +7 13
3 Olympiakos 6 -8 3
4 Marseille 6 -11 3
Link To Full Table