Champions League: Man City Earn Vital Win Over PSG

Manchester City are in pole position to reach the Champions League final after coming from behind to beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 away in the first leg of their blockbuster semifinal on Wednesday, with Riyad Mahrez curling in the winner from a free-kick.

Marquinhos had powered in a header to give PSG an early lead and the deserved advantage at halftime at the Parc des Princes.

However, City skipper Kevin De Bruyne’s cross dropped in to pull City level just after the hour and Mahrez beat Keylor Navas from a 71st-minute free-kick to complete the turnaround, giving Pep Guardiola’s side the advantage going into next Tuesday’s return in Manchester.

“The last 10 minutes of the first half was good and the second half was excellent in every department. We scored two goals away which is so important, but we have a hard job to do in six days,” Guardiola told BT Sport.

“In general, so satisfied for the performance but it is halfway. We still have 90 more minutes to beat them and PSG is a team where anything can happen.”

After starting so well, PSG lost their way after halftime and had Idrissa Gana Gueye sent off in the 77th minute as a shocking tackle on Ilkay Gundogan earned the midfielder a straight red card.

Having already failed to win at home to Manchester United, Barcelona and Bayern in this season’s Champions League, the Parisians face an uphill struggle in England if they are to reach the final for the second year running.

It is, then, first blood to Emirati-backed City against Qatar-owned PSG in a tie that is also a battle of competing Gulf nations.

“We conceded two stupid goals,” Marquinhos admitted to broadcaster RMC Sport.

Of the return leg, he added: “There is no point in us going there if we don’t believe we can turn it around.”

After all the money pumped in by their owners from Abu Dhai, City are eyeing a first ever Champions League final, and this was their first appearance in the semifinals since 2016, when they defeated PSG in the last eight.

However, PSG can still be optimistic about their prospects after sensational away performances against Barcelona and Bayern in the last two rounds.

PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino is hoping to once again get the better of Guardiola, just as he did when his Tottenham Hotspur side beat City in the quarterfinals in 2019. (AFP)

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