Manchester City enjoy the perfect night in Paris
In football or for that matter any sport there are good teams and then there are great teams, the ones who accomplish accolades of what dreams are made of through sheer hard work.
For me, it’s not surprising that a team from Manchester, a town which rightfully rewards hard work, certainly fits the latter.
Four successive Carabao Cup titles in the last four seasons, two successive Premier League titles in 2017-18 and 2018-19 with another well within reach this season and now only two steps away from achieving European glory.
Yes, Manchester City with the 2-1 away win over Paris Saint Germain in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final are just two games away from the title that has never been theirs to own.
Surprising as it may sound, but its true. Manchester City have never been in a Champions League final, let alone winning the tournament.
Would this be their first?
Well, I would certainly think so with the rich vein of form they have shown this season by winning their last 18 away matches on the trot in all competitions amid scoring a whopping 46 goals and conceding just 9.
A statistic worthy of cheers galore!
So, let’s dive into how The Sky Blues continued their domination amid the home team’s surrender in their own backyard:
PSG strike early
The game last night wasn’t only about arguably the two best teams in Europe but also about the two best Managers in Pep Guardiola and the ex-Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino.
Considering these big forces at play, one could expect nothing short of high-octane football and the contest certainly started in a pulsating fashion. In just the 13th minute PSG’s Brazilian superstar Neymar was in the thick of things as he fired a shot on goal only to be saved by his Brazilian team mate and City’s keeper Ederson, who did well to glove it over the crossbar.
PSG’s intent to take the game by the horns was much evident and a minute later they had their first goal through a Marquinhos header after he was fed with a sumptuous cross from Angel Di Maria.
City were rocked early!
The only other chance of notable proportion in the first 45 came for The Sky Blues as their young midfielder, Phil Foden fired a powerful shot straight at The Parisians’ keeper Navas who did well to make the save.
As time was called on the first half, the score read PSG 1 – 0 Manchester City.
Manchester City shine in the second 45
While watching the game, in only the second half did I realise Manchester City were without an out and out striker with the front three being all midfielders’ in De Bruyne, Mahrez and Foden.
Well, that wouldn’t dent their chances as in the 61st minute arguably the best midfielder in world football today, Kevin De Bruyne almost equalised through a spectacular effort with an over head kick that bounced on to the roof of the PSG net.
City were surely pressing for the equaliser which would finally come courtesy a second effort from Kevin De Bruyne minutes later as the Belgian puts a cross inside the D for a City player to touch which never happened. The ball as a result, nestled inside the net even before Navas could react. Shocker for PSG and a lucky break for City.
In a matter of moments, City surged with a second strike through a Riyad Mahrez free kick that beat two PSG defenders to find the bottom corner of the net.
The complexion of the game had completely changed thanks to a confident Manchester City who left the home side reeling.
As the 90 drew to a close, a dejected Pochettino and his team were faced with a mountainous task of chasing the game in the return leg in five days’ time at the Etihad.
Can we see an all English final?
Well, why not?
Chelsea looked good in the away fixture to grab the all-important away goal at Madrid.
Manchester City have grabbed two and a victory at Paris.
I would certainly want the English teams to get the better of their European rivals in the home leg to set a mouth-watering all English final.
The likes we witnessed when my favourite Reds beat Tottenham in the 2018-19 showpiece.
Amid hope galore, can the teams in blue make their rivals feel the blues in the return leg? Can we see an all blues final?
Well, in less than a week we will have the answers!