Riyad Mahrez produces the rabbit out of the hat as Manchester City secure a vital 2-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League.
Manchester City get a massive advantage in their semifinal tie against Paris Saint-Germain by registering a 2-1 win on Wednesday. It was an away leg for the runaway Premier League leaders, meaning they will not only have a one-goal cushion but also the two away goals when they welcome their French opponents at the Etihad next week.
It was a game of two halves at Parc des Princes, as PSG were the clear winners in the first-half, showcasing their attacking prowess as the likes of Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Marco Verratti completely dominated the game, with Manchester City mostly relying on defensive mistakes to create chances. A 15th-minute opener from Marquinhos, in fact was a deserved one as the hosts secured a 1-0 lead at halftime.
The second half, however, served as an ideal platform for Manchester City to impose their authority as they began to show more attacking intent while dominating possession. Their pressure on the PSG backline were relentless, constantly forcing Les Parisiens to defend deep in their lines.
The pressure finally paid off when Kevin De Bruyne scored a rather awkward goal in the 64th minute before Riyad Mahrez eventually sealed the winner, with an equally awkward free-kick. It ensued a 15 minute meltdown from PSG, with Idrissa Gueye notably picking up a straight red in the 77th minute, as Man City managed to hold on to their slender lead.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these talented players that were on show, in this first leg Champions League encounter between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.
Keylor Navas: 4/10
Keylor Navas had a miserable game in between the sticks for PSG. Although it would be harsh to blame him completely for the equaliser from De Bruyne, the goalkeeper never really looked settled and had nervy moments throughout the course of the game. Poor.
— Goal (@goal) April 28, 2021
Alessandro Florenzi: 5/10
Alessandro Florenzi didn’t have a great night either, struggling to deal with the pressure of Phil Foden and Oleksandr Zinchenko in the second half.
Marquinhos was the pick of the PSG defenders, making some real captain’s clearances while also scoring the all-important opener in the first half. He was immense at times, but was not helped at all by his teammates.
Presnel Kimpembe: 4/10
Presnel Kimpembe completely fell apart in the second half. He had problems keeping up with the Manchester City attackers and was involved in the awful wall that allowed Mahrez to find a pocket of space to score the winner. Lost his composure completely during the final phase of the game.
Mitchell Bakker: 4.5/10
Mitchell Bakker was solid for the most part, doing well defensively while showcasing his pace, at times. He was, however, given quite a treatment by Mahrez in the second half as PSG struggled to contain the opposition.
Marco Verratti: 6/10
Marco Verratti had a solid first-half, recycling possession and offering excellent ball progression. He wasn’t particularly bad after the restart but was involved in the poor wall that failed to keep out Mahrez’s effort.
Leandro Paredes: 5.5/10
Leandro Paredes made a host of excellent tackles in the first half, emerging as a rock in midfield for PSG. In the second half, though, the Argentine lacked composure, leadership and direction, ultimately getting overrun by Manchester City.
Idrissa Gueye: 2/10
Idrissa Gueye 🆚 RB Leipzig
Presnel Kimpembe 🆚 RB Leipzig
Idrissa Gueye 🆚 Man City
😡 PSG have received more red cards (3) than any other team in the Champions League this season
⛰️ Mountainous task on their hands now… pic.twitter.com/uqYKgUOCGt
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) April 28, 2021
Idrissa Gueye did well pressuring the City ball carriers in the first half. His influence, however, faded as the game progressed and it was his horror tackle on Ilkay Gundogan, resulting in a red card, that made PSG even more vulnerable during the final phase of the game.
Angel Di Maria: 7/10
Angel Di Maria produced a stunning performance in the first half, using his trickery and skill to cause all sorts of problems in the Manchester City backline. However, his influence faded as he lacked support after the restart.
Neymar looked unplayable at times, in the first half as PSG dominated the game. It was a completely different story in the second half, where the Brazilian was anonymous for large parts, coming close to picking up his second yellow.
Kylian Mbappe: 5/10
It was not a bright day at the office for Kylian Mbappe. He was quiet even in the first half and was mostly caught chasing shadows. Certainly needs to be involved more in the game in the second leg.
Kylian Mbappé got just 30 touches of the ball tonight & did not get a single shot off all game.
Ederson had 31 touches, Keylor Navas had 53.
— Get French Football News (@GFFN) April 28, 2021
Danilo Pereira: N/A
A late replacement for Di Maria. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Ander Herrera: N/A
A late replacement for Paredes. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Ederson couldn’t have done much to save Marquinhos’ accurate header in the first half. After that, though, the Manchester City goalkeeper was barely tested as his team started dominating the game. Had to remain alert, though, particularly against those Mbappe runs in behind the backline.
Kyle Walker: 7.5/10
Kyle Walker deserves a lot of credit for remaining solid, even when PSG were dominating the game. He showed more attacking intent after the restart, making things difficult for the opposition.
John Stones: 8/10
John Stones was immense in the Manchester City backline. His imposing frame, coupled with his defensive discipline made things difficult for PSG attackers, particularly after the restart.
Ruben Dias: 8/10
Rúben Dias’ game by numbers vs. PSG:
95% pass accuracy
69 total touches
5 tackles attempted
3 tackles won
Another dominant display. 🇵🇹 pic.twitter.com/3WyJWaqx1R
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 28, 2021
While most Man City players impressed in the second half, Ruben Dias was consistent right from the start. He was particularly impressive in dealing with Mbappe, keeping the Frenchman quiet throughout the course of the game.
Joao Cancelo: 6/10
Joao Cancelo did not have a great game, as he struggled to defend Di Maria on the flanks. He was the earliest substitute of the entire game when he made way for Zinchenko around the hour mark.
Rodri was safe and reliable at the base of the Manchester City midfield, even when PSG were dominating the game. His passing was solid and the midfielder always kept things neat and tidy in the middle of the park.
Bernardo Silva: 7/10
Bernardo Silva may not have been as impressive as his teammates, but he was a vital aspect in Man City’s approach play. His clever positioning kept the opposition occupied, ultimately giving more space to his fellow midfielders.
Ilkay Gundogan: 8.5/10
Ilkay Gundogan was one of the protagonists of Man City’s second-half comeback. The German was simply immense, rotating possession effortlessly while also producing some excellent forward passes. He was a victim of a horrid tackle by Gueye that earned the PSG midfielder a straight red.
Kevin De Bruyne: 8.5/10
Kevin De Bruyne picks up his MOTM award on Neymar and Mbappe's patch 😤 pic.twitter.com/WYy9d4sCa0
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 28, 2021
While De Bruyne may have been a bit lucky with the goal, he showed his class throughout the second half, probing the PSG defence. He was quite crafty in possession, picking out key passes that helped his team dominate the game.
Riyad Mahrez: 9/10
Mahrez was by far the best player for Manchester City in these key encounter. He was one of the players who impressed in the first half, doing some excellent defensive work, before unleashing his attacking qualities after the restart. The Algerian wizard most notably scored from a free-kick to find the winner for the Citizens in the 71st minute.
Mahrez free-kick sneaks through the wall and Man City take the lead 🎯
— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 28, 2021
Phil Foden: 7.5/10
Phil Foden did not have a great first-halfbut shone in the second as he was given more freedom and space. Some of his mazy runs forward were simply exotic, although the Englishman should have done much better with his finishing.
Oleksandr Zinchenko: 8/10
Zinchenko’s substitution around the hour mark was a major factor in the shift in dynamism for Manchester City. The Ukrainian looked very comfortable and rarely allowed anything for Di Maria while also offering great attacking support for Foden.