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Paris Saint-Germain vs Manchester City at Parc des Princes

Parc des Princes Referee : Carlos del Cerro Grande
28th September 2021 8:00 PM (BST)
  • 2 Paris Saint-Germain

    • ‘8' Idrissa Gueye
    • ‘74' Lionel Messi
  • 0 Manchester City


Commentary By John Edwards


Goodnight 👋

That's all from me this evening - you can check out all the reaction and match stats below.

It's a frustrating night for City, who did everything but score and were undone by a piece of brilliance from Lionel Messi, but there are plenty of positives to take from the performance.

We now have to dust ourselves down and get ready to go again as the big games are coming thick and fast.

Up next is a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool on Sunday when we'll be looking to land a blow to one of our title rivals.

We'll have full coverage here on and the official app and I hope you can join us for live updates in our Matchday Centre. 

Enjoy the rest of your week, Blues!


Ruben Dias: We needed a goal

"A frustrating night. We were there. We created chances. The team was there. But a game like this, between two top teams, will be decided on details and today it was their turn. Essentially, we have to do better because we are who we are and we can always do better when we don’t win.

"It is always a 5050 game, especially against the opponents we are playing. They know who we are and they know we are dangerous. We were there, we had our chances and to change a game like this we need to score because after that everything changes. 

"On that clear chance, if we were able to do it, things might have changed a lot. We performed, even though we played against Chelsea three days ago. It’s frustrating that we didn’t win, but we know we did our best."


Sylvain Distin: City didn't deserve to lose

Our former centre-back was on punditry duty for BBC Radio 5 Live this evening and he felt City were unfortunate not to get something from the game.

"I don't think City deserved to lose that game 2-0 - credit to PSG. We questioned their defensive intensity and they answered our question tonight even if we didn't see that much of the 'fantastic three' - when you look at the guys behind them they did their job." 


Pep Guardiola: We did everything

Here's what the boss had to say to BT Sport:

"The last ten minutes were better, good performance, we did everything. We defended well, the counter attacks are always dangerous with the players they have. My biggest compliment to the team. Always we have to ask ourselves to do this - sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.

"The team was there, same as in Stamford Bridge. We played to win but unfortunately they don't need much to win and they did it."



Given the talent on display, it was all eyes on the Parc Des Princes tonight, but there has been an incredible result in Madrid.

Champions League debutants Sheriff Tiraspol produced one of the competition's great upset, beating Real Madrid 2-1 in the Bernabeu thanks to an 89th minute winner.


Group A

Club Brugge held on to beat RB Leipzig 2-1 in Germany, which means the Belgian's are tied on four points with PSG at the top of Group A.

We sit third, with three points, whilst Leipzig are winless after two games.


Reaction and analysis ☝️

Credit to PSG, they've executed their game plan and took their chances, but it's a frustrating result for City, who created plenty of chances.

Let's hear what Paul Dickov and Nedum Onuoha thought. They're live on Matchday Live now.



City win another free-kick in a similar position to the previous one. 

It's marginally closer as Mahrez again takes aim but this time he puts well too much on it and flies over the crossbar.



City win a free-kick in a promising position, 25-yards out to the right of the area.

Riyad Mahrez takes responsibility and hits it well, but the theme of the night continues as Donnarumma makes a good save to push it away.

PSG will be delighted with the Italian tonight.



Pochettino runs down the clock with a late change.

Idrissa Gueye departs, with Danilo coming on and the former Everton man takes the applause of the fans behind the goal as he heads off.



Neymar and Mbappe combine with some intricate link up play inside the area which allows the Brazilian to dig out a cross from the touch line.

Mbappe is waiting inside the six-yard box, but Ederson steps across to gather it.


No foul?

Jesus drives down the touch line and appears to get a nudge in the back from Hakimi.

Is it inside the area or just on the edge? It doesn't matter as the referee sees nothing wrong with the challenge.



Donnarumma comes up trumps again as he saves from a Mahrez effort. 

City haven't struggled to create chances tonight, but the Italian, backed by stubborn PSG defence, has been in fine form.



Marco Veratti is replaced by Georginio Wjnaldum.

City will be pleased to see the back of the Italian who has got through a lot of defensive work tonight.

Guardiola also makes his second change, with Gabriel Jesus coming on for Raheem Sterling.


Goal. Messi. PSG 2-0 City

Sometimes you just have to appreciate greatness. 

It's a typical Messi goal as he weaves inside off the right flank away from Laporte before playing a one-two with Mbappe and curling a sumptuous strike into the top corner from the edge of the area. 

A great goal from a great player, but a hammer blow for City.



Phil Foden has made a bright start, delivering two dangerous crosses, the first which Kimpembe clears, before Donnarumma punches away the second.

City recover and work the ball to De Bruyne, but he fires wide from distance.



Back up the other end now and a chance for City goes begging.

Mahrez tries his luck from 25-yards with a low curling effort, but it deflects off Kimpembe, which takes the pace of the strike and Donnarumma gathers easily.


Let off!

Neymar collects Messi's pass with a superb touch which takes him away from Kyle Walker, but the full-back does well to recover and his nudge does enough to put the Brazilian off as he drills his shot into the side netting.

It's another reminder of how dangerous PSG are on the counter, as if we needed it...


Headed away

Another City corner, another cross headed away by Marquinhos. 

PSG have defended well tonight and the captain has been at the heart of it. 



Play temporarily stops as Neymar goes down under a challenge from Rodri.

It looked like the Spaniard got the ball, but Grealish, very sportingly, kicks the ball out of play.



Joao Cancelo has picked holes in the PSG defence on multiple occasions tonight, but his latest ball in behind is just beyond the stretching Kevin De Bruyne, with Donnarumma making a flying save to punch it clear.

The Belgian was inches away...



Donnarumma has proved impenetrable so far and that continues to be the case as he sticks out a leg to deny Kevin De Bruyne's angled drive after he latched onto Mahrez's ball in behind.

City are having no trouble getting beyond the PSG back line. We just need to take our chance when it comes!



Donnarumma spills a cross as he makes a rare error, but no City player is close enough to capitalise. 

It comes from typically teasing De Bruyne cross on the right, but the Italian reacts quickly to gather the loose ball before anyone can pounce.



City have come flying out of the blocks here, with Maquinhos forced to make a good block from a De Bruyne cross after the Belgian gets clear of Veratti's attentions.



City make a brilliant start to the second half a Cancelo spots Sterling's run and picks him out with a precise through ball.

The winger is under pressure from Kimpembe and Nuno Mendes and takes the shot first time on the turn, but drags his effort wide.

Promising signs, that had everything but the finish!


Paul Dickov: Pep will be happy so far

Our former striker isn't expecting any immediate changes from the City boss.

"I think Pep will be more than happy with the performance and he will be saying more of the same really. We have fantastic players to come on and make a difference but I think Pep will be happy so far."



In the other game in Group A, Club Brugge are winning 2-1 away at RB Leipzig. 

Christopher Nkunku, who scored a hat-trick in City's 6-3 win over the German's, opened the scoring for the hosts, but Hans Vanaken and Mats Rits hit back for the visitors.

The Belgian outfit are tied on four points with PSG as it stands, with City in third on three points.


Nedum Onuoha: City limiting PSG

"It was a great finish but just unlucky for Mahrez. The goal is disappointing to concede, but City are throwing players in the box, but not leaving ourselves exposed. They have players who can do anything at the drop of the hat. City have made PSG just look like an OK side." 


Paul Dickov: They can't contain us

No need to panic for City, who have forced Donnarumma into a couple of smart saves and and Paul Dickov has been impressed with the performance, despite the score line.

"Super positive as always. The performance was as good if not better than the Chelsea game. We’ve limited them to two chances. They don’t know how to contain us. Their front 3 don’t want to track back and it’s leaving us spaces. We’re having loads of chances."


Half-time: PSG 1-0 City

Idrissa Gueye's early goal is the difference at the break, but there's been encouraging signs for City who are well and the game and creating a number of chances. 



Riyad Mahrez sends in a cross from the right which is cleared by  Achraf Hakimi with a full stretch diving header. 

One wrong move from the full-back and he might have sent that into the back of his own net.



It's another golden opportunity for City as De Bruyne curls a corner to the far post, where Ruben Dias arrives to plant a powerful header towards goal, but it's straight at Donnarumma who turns it behind for another corner. 

Everything but the finish from the captain, who did brilliantly well to spin away from his marker.



Kevin De Bruyne goes in the referee's notebook and he can have no complaints as he catches Idrissa Gueye on the calf as he tries to win the ball.

It's enough for VAR to check the decision for a possible sending off, but the playmaker escapes with a caution.



City have had plenty of the ball but PSG have just delivered a reminder of how dangerous they are on the counter-attack.

Mbappe picks up the ball in the inside left channel and squares to Herrera who is arriving unmarked on the edge of the area, but the unmarked midfielder's shot is too close to Ederson, who pushes it over.

A bit more composure and PSG could have made City pay there.



Donnarumma is forced into another save as De Bruyne fires straight at him on the angle.

The Belgian makes an underlapping run beyond Mahrez who spots the move and slides it inside, but the angle was against City's No.17 and a fierce strike down the throat of the PSG goalkeeper is the best he can manage.



City can't be disappointed with their performance so far. It's advantage PSG on the scoreboard, but the visitors are causing Pochettino's men problems.

Brilliant footwork from Bernardo bamboozles Nuno Mendes inside the area, but the full-back manages to get a foot on the resulting cross to steer the ball into Donnarumma's arms.



Grealish cuts the ball back to Cancelo on the edge of the area and the full-back unleashes a fierce first time drive to force a good save from  Donnarumma.

It was close enough to be comfortable for the Italian, but he did incredibly well to hold the strike and not palm it away for a corner. 




Pep Guardiola has got his head on his hands and who can blame him? It's almost inexplainable!

De Bruyne delivers a tempting cross with the outside of his right boot, which Sterling heads against the crossbar. 

It drops inside the six-yard box and Bernardo is following in, but somehow the midfielder sends his effort against the bar as well.



Joao Cancelo gets the first booking of the game as he trips Mbappe on halfway.

There's no doubt it's a yellow card, but the Portuguese may feel he had no choice as the speedy Frenchman attempted to race away on the counter-attack after PSG clear another spell of City possession.



City enjoy another decent spell of possession, working it wide to Cancelo who fires in a fizzing cross which Marquinhos is forced to head away. 

The Portuguese then nearly unlocks the PSG defence again with a clever ball to the far post for Bernardo Silva that Nuno Mendes cuts out and it seems Guardiola's men think they can get some joy down the left hand side.

Messi is ahead of Hakimi on the PSG right, but isn't providing much cover to the full-back.



Wonderful footwork from Mahrez sees the Algerian glide past Gueye and Nuno Mendes before clipping a ball into the area.

Sterling and Grealish are both waiting but the towering figure of  Donnarumma gets a hand on it and PSG keep the ball well before Veratti draws a foul from Sterling.



With the home crowd bouncing after making a dream start it's vital City don't let PSG capitalise further.

We've kept hold of the ball since the goal, with Grealish and Bernardo linking up nicely down the left only for the former to overhit his attempt to slid his team-mate in behind.


Goal. Idrissa Gueye. PSG 1-0 City

That's not the start we wanted, as Idrissa Gueye lashes into the top corner from inside the area to break the deadlock. 

It's the home side's first meaningful attack, with Messi, Hakimi and Mbappe combining down the right before the Frenchman cut the ball back for Neymar.

The Brazilian doesn't make a clean contact, but Gueye reacts quickest to the loose ball and gives Ederson absolutely no chance from 10-yards.


Front threes

As expected, Raheem Sterling is playing through the middle of City front three, with Kylian Mbappe doing the same for PSG.

Lionel Messi is on the right wing for the hosts and Neymar is stationed on the opposite flank. 

You'd assume they could be fairly interchangeable. 



Joao Cancelo spots Jack Grealish's forward dart down and fires a long ball forward, but the midfielder set off too early and is pulled up for offside.

City are trying to get on the front foot and quieten what is a partisan home crowd.


Early chance

Marco Verrati fouls Raheem Sterling on the left, to give City a first opportunity to test the home defence.

Kevin De Bruyne curls in the free-kick, but it's headed clear. 



Right, then. Will it be another memorable night in Paris for our boys?

Raheem Sterling gets us under way at the Parc Des Princes and we're about to find out.



Moments away!

The teams are out, the iconic anthem is playing and we're minutes away from kick-off.

Here's a reminder of how the two teams line up.

  XI | Ederson, Walker, Dias (C), Laporte, Cancelo, Rodrigo, Bernardo, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Sterling, Grealish.

PSG | Donnarumma, Hakimi, Kimpembe, Marquinhos (C), Nuno Mendes, Verratti, Gueye, Herrera, Mbappé, Neymar, Messi.


Nedum Onuoha: Bernardo’s a joy to watch

“You look at him and he’s an attacking midfielder, but he can play as an eight or any role required in the team. There’s times he’s behind Rodri and he’s making key decisions. He’s a proper typical Manchester City midfielder and he has this hunger and desire to win. He wants to make a huge impact. 

"He has close to no physical attributes but you can’t take the ball off him. He’s exactly like David! [Silva]. There aren’t many of those players, they are so special. They’re a nightmare to play against. He’s special, it’s a joy to see him play for City.”

🤞 he can deliver some magic tonight.


Dickov: Mahrez will be massive tonight

Can Riyad Mahrez replicate the outstanding display he produced on our last trip to Paris?

Paul Dickov thinks so. 

"Kevin De Bruyne, Ruben Dias and Riyad Mahrez. He was outstanding in Paris last season and made the difference. He’s been left out recently but I think he will be massive for us tonight."


Nedum Onuoha: 0-0? No chance!

Our former defender is sure we'll see some goals this evening...

"No this is not a 0-0. There’s no way this is 0-0. Purely because of the amount of attacking talent on the pitch. 

"PSG are 10/10 in attack, and maybe not sure at the back, whereas City are going to attack and defend together. I’m counting on both teams scoring tonight."


Pep Guardiola: City ready to suffer

Last season's semi-final performance will no doubt give City confidence coming into this one, but Pep Guardiola knows we wont have it all our own way this evening.

Here's what he had to say to BT Sport before kick-off:

"What a pleasure to be here - definitely. Every manager and every team want to reach the highest level but it is not possible. But the intention is always to try our best."

"I enjoyed Messi for years. With these players you are ready to suffer a little bit. You can’t control them, Messi, Neymar, Mbappe, Verratti for 90 minutes. We will try to. We have an idea of how we want to play and we will try it."


Paul Dickov: You've got to beat the best

Pep Guardiola has named a strong team tonight, but there is no escaping the fact that Mauricio Pochettino has done the same, with a line-up that will be envy of many clubs around Europe.

It reads like a who's who of the continent's best, but 'bring it on' is Paul Dickov's reaction!

"I’m buzzing to see that team. I want us to beat the best team, even though it’s just the group stages. 

"Kevin De Bruyne will be going up against Messi tonight saying I’ll show you who the better player is, that’s the kind of mentality our players have."


De Jong predicting City victory

Feeling confident tonight? Nigel De Jong certainly is!

Our former midfielder is pitch-side in Paris and our Matchday Live team have caught-up caught up with the 2012 title winner.

"I’m feeling very positive and comfortable even though we’re playing a quality team, so I’m feeling good. I’ll always go for City! I think we will nick the win at the end with 2-1! 

"This is my first time here in this stadium, it’s a great stadium, let’s hope with the stadium full again we can have City fans cheering the team on to win today. 

"Keep supporting the Blues. C.T.I.D - City till I Die!"

💙 that!


Dickov: Grealish on his way to world class status

Jack Grealish marked his Champions League debut with a goal in a Man of the Match display against Leipzig earlier this month. 

Nedum Onuoha is predicting the same again, with he and Paul Dickov both predicting the midfielder is on his way to achieving greatness. 

Onuoha: "I think he’s going to score. He’s at the Champions League level. These are all firsts for him but he’s good enough to be here. He’s creating his legacy."

Dickov: "I think he’s been incredible. He’s adapted so well in to this City team. In this City team there are four or five quality players but he still always asking for it and being the main man. He’s going to be a top class and world class player."



Natalie Pike, Paul Dickov and Nedum Onuoha are providing the perfect pre-match build-up on Matchday Live, which you can watch at the top of this page.


Talking tactics

From the players selected it looks as if City will continue with the 4-3-3 formation which worked to wonderful effect at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte and Joao Cancelo will form the back four, with Rodrigo protecting them in the midfield anchor role.

Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne will play just ahead of the Spaniard in midfield, behind the front three of Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish.

There's no recognised striker in that trio, but history would suggest it will be Sterling who leads the forward line.


PSG team news: Messi starts

Lionel Messi returns from injury to start against City at the Parc Des Princes.

He is one of four changes from PSG’s win over Montpellier on Saturday and starts alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in a blockbuster front three.

Goalkeeper and EURO 2020 Player of the Tournament Gianluigi Donnarumma also comes into the side, as does fit-again Marco Verrati and young Nuno Mendes.

XI | Donnarumma, Hakimi, Kimpembe, Marquinhos (C), Nuno Mendes, Verratti, Gueye, Herrera,  Mbappé, Neymar, Messi.

SUBS | Navas, Letellier, Paredes, Icardi, Danilo, Dagba, Wijnaldum, Kurzawa, Diallo, Draxler, Kehrer, Dina Ebimbe.


Team news 🔵📋

Pep Guardiola has made two changes to the side that beat Chelsea on Saturday.

Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling come into the starting XI in place of Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus, who are both amongst the substitutes. 

Youngsters James McAtee and Joshua Wilson-Esbrand are also on the bench, returning to the senior squad having both made their debut against Wycombe Wanderers. 

XI | Ederson, Walker, Dias (C), Laporte, Cancelo, Rodrigo, Bernardo, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Sterling, Grealish. 

SUBS | Steffen, Carson, Stones, Ake, Jesus, Torres, Fernandinho, Foden, McAtee, Wilson-Esbrand.


More from Mahrez

 The Algerian winger proved the difference in last season's hard-fought semi-final and he's expecting a similarly close contest this evening.

Here's more of what he said at the pre-match press conference:

“They are stronger this season, they have a bigger squad, but I think it will be more or less the same game as last season - very tight and the best on the day will win. 

“They have strength everywhere, up front and behind. I forgot Ramos and the keeper as well, they have strengthened the whole team. They always had a good defence anyway but with Ramos and his experience and the new keeper as well is very good.

“Defensively, we were very good last season. We showed solidity in the Premier League and Champions League. It made us stronger. This season we kept that solidity, we have conceded few, and that’s where we have improved I think.”


Head to Head

Some good pre-match omens, here!

🔹 City won 2-1 in Paris and 2-0 in Manchester in last season's semi-final, making it three successive victories against PSG

🔹 We are unbeaten in their five matches against the French side (W3 D2). 

🔹 Whilst we kicked off Group A with an eventful 6-3 victory at home to Leipzig, Mauricio Pochettino's men were held 1-1 at Club Brugge. 


Mahrez hoping for PSG repeat

How good was Riyad Mahrez in last season's Champions League semi-final? 

The Algerian was the standout player, scoring in both legs as City reached a maiden final and he says Pep Guardiola's side need to replicate the character they showed in that famous victory.

“But the way we played was the most important - we played with character and personality. That's how we have to play. Like we did at Chelsea, like we have to play all the time.

“We have to play every game with personality and play your game, impose your game, everywhere you go. When you win big games like this, especially a semi-final, you grow in confidence. Our team has improved a lot since this.”


Early team news 📋

We'll find out how the two teams line-up in around 40 minutes time, but here is what we know already.

Pep Guardiola has no fresh injury concerns after the superb 1-0 win over Chelsea at the weekend, but Ilkay Gundogan and Oleksandr Zinchenko will both be absent again.

The City boss confirmed the German midfielder will be out until after the October international break.

Lionel Messi and Marco Verrati are both available for the hosts, but injury will deny Mauricio Pochettino the services of several players.

Sergio Ramos, who is yet to feature for the French side, will not be involved, whilst left-back duo Layvin Kurzawa (calf) and Juan Bernat (cruciate ligament) are also out.

Angel Di Maria misses the game due to suspension.


Get involved 📱

How are you feeling ahead of this one? What team do you think Pep should pick?

Let us know using #ManCity on Twitter and we'll include your comments in the Matchday Centre and on Matchday Live. 


Matchday Live 📺

There is bound to be no shortage of talking points this evening and Paul Dickov and Nedum Onuoha have the honour of analysing the action on Matchday Live.

They'll just Natalie Pike in the studio at the Etihad Stadium to provide the usual mix of insight and humour before, during and after the game.

The pre-match show begins one hour before kick-off and our panel will reconvene at half-time and full-time to share their thoughts on the action.

Matchday Live is available to watch on all our digital platforms, including right here in the Matchday Centre. 

Simply tune in at the top of this page!


PSG v City


Welcome to the Matchday Centre for Manchester City's Champions League group stage game away at Paris Saint-Germain. 

Kick-off is at 20:00 (UK) and what a contest this could prove to be as some of the giants of the game lock horns at the Parc des Princes. 

With the likes of Ruben Dias, Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish to face off against PSG's golden trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, it is a mouth-watering clash and from here on out I will be guiding you through all the pre-match build-up, match action and post-match reaction.


Other games that day

  • Real Madrid1
    Sheriff Tiraspol2
  • RB Leipzig1
    Club Brugge2
  • Borussia Dortmund1
    Sporting CP0
  • FC Porto1
  • Milan1
    Atlético de Madrid2
  • Shakhtar Donetsk0
  • Ajax2
  • FC Red Bull Salzburg0
  • VfL Wolfsburg0
  • Juventus0
  • FC Bayern München0
    Dynamo Kyiv0
  • Benfica0
  • Manchester United0
  • Zenit St Petersburg0
    Malmö FF0
  • Atalanta0
    Young Boys0

As it stood

P GD Pts
1 Paris Saint-Germain 2 +2 4
2 Club Brugge 2 +1 4
4 RB Leipzig 2 -4 0
Link To Full Table