Manchester City took a large step towards their first Champions League final as targets by Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez earned them a 2-1 comeback win at Paris Saint-Germain from the semifinal first leg on Wednesday.
PSG went ahead courtesy of a Marquinhos header in the first half, however, Mauricio Pochettino’s side lost control after the break with De Bruyne and Mahrez locating the back of the net in the space of eight minutes to secure City’s 18th successive away win in all competitions.
“The second half was much better; the way the first goal went in was a little bit lucky, but we played great football in the second half, we did well,” De Bruyne explained.
Next Tuesday, Man City will have to show exactly the exact same off form that enabled them to beat Barcelona in Camp Nou and Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena in preceding rounds if they are to advance.
“At half-time, I told the players we needed to be ourselves. We needed to be more aggressive, and we didn’t let them breathe after the break,” City manager Pep Guardiola stated.
Guardiola added:”I told them’I understand that you guys, I was a participant myself. Should you lose you lose but you must attempt to play our match. What is our identity as a team without the ball and together with the ball’?”
“We all know that when you play with a great team like PSG, you are not likely to get the ball the whole 90 minutes. You know that you’re going to have periods in which you will be better than others and them in which you are likely to be not as great.
“We are very happy to have materialised those moments in which we had been on top by scoring two goals. Now there are 90 minutes to play and there is still a very tough path ahead.”
Craig Burley lauds Manchester City due to their stellar second half performance against PSG.
Pochettino agreed the visitors were the better team after the period.
“The key was that we didn’t show the same energy with the ball than in the first half,” Pochettino stated after the game.
“But we are confident that we can turn this around and approach the second leg the same way. The first half showed that we were right in our approach of the game.
“We just have to keep the identical intensity with the ball. That’s what we have to improve.”
Marquinhos said that PSG needed more composure.
“Sometimes you have to be tactical and intelligent. We surrendered two very dumb goals. These are details that will depend,” he said.
“Above all, we will need to have character. We have to have the mindset to win, to do anything it takes to get through. We are very close, it is not the time to get doubts.”
Marquinhos, returning to the team from an accident suffered from the quarterfinal first leg against Bayern Munich, put the hosts in front when he headed home Angel Di Maria‘s whipped corner at the 15th moment.
City, too cautious for fear of being punished on the break, were exposed on a set bit when Leandro Paredes led Neymar’s corner just wide.
The visitors were attack-minded in the second half, and they equalised later 64 minutes when De Bruyne — by a corner Oleksandr Zinchenko, who had just replaced Cancelo — sent in a cross and Navas failed to respond as it curled into the far corner of the net.
Navas was beaten again seven minutes later when Mahrez’s free kick flew via an insufficient PSG wall.
Gueye’s dismissal for a wild tackle on Gundogan made City’s action easier, and they’ll take a big advantage into the second leg in Manchester.