UEFA Champions League 2020-21: City earns crucial semis first-leg lead against PSG to inch closer to final
The opening leg of the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League was held this week. Both Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are yet to win their maiden UCL title. While City would aim to reach its first final, PSG is the runner-up from the last edition.
Manchester City came up with a grand display of gameplay to win and take a crucial 2-1 first-leg lead in the semis of the UEFA Champions League 2020-21 against French champion Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes in Paris on Wednesday. With the second leg to be held at the Emirates Stadium in Manchester next week, City would undoubtedly fancy its chances to reach its maiden UCL final.
The opening half saw a couple of close chances by the 13th minute, including a save from City goalkeeper, Ederson. Nevertheless, a couple of minutes later, Marquinhos handed PSG the opening lead through his header, following a corner assist from Angel Di Maria.
It was followed by City bid to make a comeback, as the side produced two promising attacks, only to be denied by PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas. Nonetheless, PSG maintained its lead at half-time.
Following the break, City came up with great intent, as it produced a couple of attacks by the 61st minute. Nevertheless, three minutes later, Kevin De Bruyne drew the equaliser for City by netting the ball into the bottom corner, thanks to Oleksandr Zinchenko’s assist.
The very next attempt from City, seven minutes later, at 71st, saw Riyad Mahrez curl in a beautiful free-kick to hand his side the lead. While City came up with another attempt four minutes later, it was in the 77th minute when PSG’s Idrissa Gueye was given a red card for a horrific challenge on İlkay Gündoğan.
City came up with the final two attacks, but none found the back of the net. As the referee blew the full-time whistle, City had nearly done half of the job, especially with the crucial two-goal away lead.
Crucial stats from the game:
- Marquinhos is only the third to score in consecutive three seasons of UCL quarters and semis after Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann.
- De Bruyne is the fourth player to score in three successive UCL ties against PSG after Lionel Messi, Marcus Rashford and Neymar.
- Since 2012-13’s Alvaro Arbeloa for Real Madrid, Gueye is the first to be sent off twice in a single UCL campaign.
- Kylian Mbappé failed to register a single shot on target for the first time in his UCL career after playing the entire 90 minutes.
- Since April 2016 against City, PSG has registered just a shot on target in any half of a UCL clash.
- City is the first from England to win six consecutive UCL matches in a season since Leeds United (1969-70).
- City is also the first to win ten successive UCL games since Real Madrid (2011-12).
De Bruyne: “Just play a little bit more with the ball. The first half, we were a bit too rushed, trying to go forward too quickly and that’s not the way we are set up as a team. In the second half, we tried to find space more patiently. They’re a tough team to play against. The progression we made as a team was good.”
Mahrez (on his free-kick): “I wanted to go around the wall, to be honest, and I missed it. It went between the two players and fortunately, it was in. I was so happy; I knew we could win here and to score to make it 2-1 for the team was amazing.”
Guardiola: “I’m sure the second leg will be different because Mauricio will learn and see the game. We will also see the game and change something to be more fluid and aggressive in our game and do it.”
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