Goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez gave Manchester City a comeback win over Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie on Wednesday night.
PSG dominated the first half, creating by far the most opportunities in front of goal and Mauricio Pochettino’s side didn’t take too long to open the scoring. Angel Di Maria’s 15th-minute corner was swung in perfectly for Marquinhos to glance expertly into the far corner of the net.
City came out fighting after the interval and managed to grab an equaliser on 64 minutes. De Bruyne’s in-swinging cross from around 25 yards out floated all the way through the box without a touch, eventually nestling into Keylor Navas’ far corner. Pep Guardiola’s men then made it 2-1 just eight minutes later when Mahrez’s free kick managed to find a way through the PSG wall and into the bottom corner.
PSG’s task was made all the more difficult in the 78th minute when VAR deemed Idrissa Gueye’s horror tackle on Ilkay Gundogan worthy of a red card. Despite City mounting further pressure, the game ended 2-1, with City taking a huge advantage into next week’s second leg.
Now, let’s see how the players rated…
Keylor Navas (GK) – 6/10 – Made a couple of decent stops throughout but just couldn’t do anything about the goals as his defence let him down.
Alessandro Florenzi (RB) – 6/10 – Looked very threatening when he surged forward, putting in some quality from wide. But struggled against the lovely feet of Phil Foden after half-time.
Marquinhos (CB) – 7/10 – Another huge Champions League game, another goal. Headed in brilliantly to break the deadlock and defended resiliently, making seven interventions.
Presnel Kimpembe (CB) – 6/10 – Didn’t have all that much defensive work to carry out but won a few aerial duels to keep the calm at the back and stayed composed when being pressed on the ball.
Mitchel Bakker (LB) – 6/10 – Given his opposition, the 20-year old was very composed on the ball and stood firm against Mahrez when faced with one-on-one situations.
Idrissa Gueye (CM) – 4/10 – Positioned himself well throughout to make four interventions but his night was ruined due to a shocking tackle for which he was rightly shown a straight red.
Leandro Paredes (CM) – 6/10 – A rock in the centre of the field for the most part. Put in some crunching tackles and linked up well with those around him to get the ball rolling upfield.
Marco Verratti (AM) – 6/10 – Provided a beautiful creative touch from deep and dictated the tempo at times. Covered for his teammates well, making four ball recoveries but in the end was left disappointed.
Angel Di Maria (RW) – 7/10 – Yet another tireless display. Constantly tracked back to stifle City’s attacks and also made an impact upfield, getting the assist for Marquinhos’ header with a perfect corner.
Kylian Mbappe (ST) – 7/10 – Didn’t get many chances to score but his movement was crucial in helping stretch the field for the likes of Neymar to roam. Also made a creative impact, registering four key passes.
Neymar (LW) – 7/10 – Drifted around freely and picked out space at will. Pulled the strings for his side and was simply untouchable for the most part. Unfortunately wasn’t given the service once City woke up and he faded out.
Danilo (CM) – 6/10
Ander Herrera (CM) – N/A
Ederson (GK) – 7/10 – Looked commanding when the ball came near him and maintained a very good starting position to take care of any untracked runners in behind. Was left helpless for the opening goal.
Kyle Walker (RB) – 6/10 – Stayed deep to contain PSG’s forwards but his darts forward to overload the right were missed. Stayed fairly solid throughout and made a couple of important clearances.
John Stones (CB) – 6/10 – Often picked out good positions in the box to head clear and deny PSG space in key areas. Wasn’t faced with many dribbles, however.
Ruben Dias (CB) – 7/10 – Read the game really well and stayed strong when faced with quality passing, making five ball recoveries to stifle promising PSG moves.
Joao Cancelo (LB) – 6/10 – Didn’t have his typical creative thrust as he got stuck in as a conventional (and quite boring) defensive full-back, but he was afforded more freedom after half-time and eventually registered a key pass before being hooked off.
Rodri (DM) – 5/10 – Was loose in possession, misplacing a few passes early on. The game seemed to pass him by as he failed to really press PSG’s players with much intent.
Ilkay Gundogan (CM) – 6/10 – Was decent on the ball, helping to sustain attacks in the second half and maintained a 96% accuracy but was weak defensively – notably allowing Marquinhos a completely free run to head home early on.
Bernardo Silva (AM) – 6/10 – Picked out lovely spaces and showed his quality with a few touches here and there but faded in and out of the game, only making one key passes.
Riyad Mahrez (RW) – 7/10 – Was largely absent, failing to really assert himself on proceedings. But his free kick squirmed its way into the bottom corner to grab the crucial winning goal – so who cares what else he did?.
Kevin De Bruyne (CF) – 8/10 – Came to life in the second half and started to take advantage of open spaces to run the game much more. Grabbed himself a goal as his cross went all the way in to grab the vital equaliser.
Phil Foden (LW) – 6/10 – Seemed to lack his usual chaos-causing movement in the first 45, but clearly felt himself after the break. Got in around the box much more dangerously and created space for others with his fluidity.
Oleksander Zinchenko (LB) – 6/10 – Claimed the assist for De Bruyne’s goal just two minutes after his introduction.