Manchester City are in the form of their life. Playing brilliant football. One trophy already in the cabinet. Second almost there and looking hungrily for this important third. They showed great grit and determination to fight back in the second half of the first leg to come home with a reasonable advantage.
Mbappe injured and did not start. Gueye after his red card in the first leg was replaced by Herrera. Hail made the pitch most unwelcoming. But the big surprise factor was the dutch referee. So many years of refereeing at the top level, but anybody can have a bad day. And he was surely having one right from the beginning. He called a handball in the City box early that was reversed by VAR. Remonstrations by Zinchenko for that decision in itself should have been a ticking off but wasn’t. City were nervous and choppy to begin with and PSG were in the driving seat. They had few opportunities but did not grasp them. City then played on the counter breaking to score two goals to end the tie.
Pep seems to have instructed his players to add some flavor to all tackles with right from the beginning players from PSG being fouled in non danger areas of the pitch. With Mbappe out, Neymar showed this reluctance to part with the ball in the final third, not bringing his team into play and as a result, not enough chances were created. City on the other hand played as a team and deservedly beat PSG.
Fernandinho was the luckiest man on the pitch. For his constant fouls, he should easily have been in the book early in the first half. But that is how it is in these big games. If you do not defend properly, not take your chances, you lose. No matter how bad a day the ref has, the onus is on you to make your own luck.
Mahrez looked like a superstar in both the legs. Do not get me wrong, he is a fantastic dribbler and player. But good defensive teams easily kill him off never allowing him anywhere near their box. PSG had some of the worst full backs I have seen in a semi final. So as soon as they fell short on the attacking side with Mbappe injured, it was obvious they would falter.
Looking forward to the second game tonight. And hoping for an all English final!