Already beaten in the first leg (1-2), PSG quite logically bowed on the field of Manchester City this Tuesday evening in the semi-final second leg of the Champions League (2-0), after a double from Riyad Mahrez . Pep Guardiola’s Skyblues will play their very first final.
He was asked for a feat, to overthrow a mountain, the most successful team on the continent this season. But the mission was, it must be believed, too complex. Beaten last Wednesday at the Parc des Princes in the semi-final first leg of the Champions League (2-1), PSG also lost the return leg on Tuesday evening on the ground of Manchester City (2-0) after a double from Riyad Mahrez .
The reigning French champion will therefore not play a second consecutive final. An increasingly credible candidate for the coronation, as his performances against Barça or Bayern have shown in previous rounds, he will have to start from zero – or at least from the group stage – next September, to try to win finally the Grail.
This dream, Manchester City has it at the end of the feet. Never qualified for the C1 final in its entire history, and this despite the remarkable work of Pep Guardiola in the north of England since 2016, the future winner of the Premier League will have a golden opportunity to add his name to the winners on May 29, against Chelsea or Real Madrid.
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The bar of Marquinhos and the Calvary of Florenzi
Is the elimination of Parisians illogical? Over the whole of the two games, not at all. The duel was tight on paper, it was on the field, but City, formidable of technical mastery, had the merit of exploiting perfectly their strengths and the weaknesses of the opponents. Which does not mean that PSG did not have a chance. This was the case in the first round, and again at the Etihad this time, as evidenced by the header of Marquinhos on the crossbar (16th) or the strike of Di Maria passed a few centimeters from the empty goal (19th ).
But there. Paris did not frame the slightest shot, which necessarily plays a role, and Paris (more precisely Florenzi) was surprised on an opposing acceleration at the start of the game. Where Riyad Mahrez had the success of seeing the ball, after a deflected strike from De Bruyne, return to him in the feet, then pass between the legs of Keylor Navas on his shot (1-0, 11th).
Considering the Costa Rican’s XXL performances in the competition, no one will dare point the finger at him. But to reverse the score of the first leg, he missed that little something to the doorman, as to his comrades. This is particularly the case with Neymar.
Ghostly Icardi, Di Maria expelled
In the absence of Kylian Mbappé, affected in the right calf and remained on the bench throughout the meeting, the Brazilian playing master had to carry the Parisian attack on his shoulders. He had the will to achieve it, he did not cheat, but he too often wanted to make a difference alone, and made many bad choices.
It must be said that the ice-covered ground in the first period did not help, nor the physical challenge imposed by Fernandinho and his comrades, or the ghostly performance of Mauro Icardi at the top.
Mauricio Pochettino finally decided to leave his compatriot on the hour mark to launch Kean, but Paris did not have time to take advantage of it. Just after, Mahrez folded the case by taking a millimeter center from Phil Foden (2-0, 63rd), and Angel Di Maria – probably the best Parisian before that – left his to ten because of a gesture in the mood for Fernandinho (69th). In a mood, or in frustration …