Create
Notifications

Manchester City 2-0 Paris Saint-Germain: 5 Hits and Flops as Riyad Mahrez fires Cityzens to first European final | UEFA Champions League 2020/21

Sai Teja
FEATURED WRITER

Hit — Ruben Dias | Manchester City

Manchester City v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Leg Two
Manchester City v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Leg Two

Another big game, another colossal display from Ruben Dias in defence for Manchester City. The Portuguese star was a rock for Pep Guardiola's side across both legs and marshaled City's defence remarkably well. He shut down Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in the first-leg and put up another massive display to help his side keep a clean sheet.

Dias flung himself at every incoming ball to come up with clutch blocks for his side time and again on the night. He wasn't dribbled past even once in the game and led the City defence well. His partner in defence, John Stones, had an excellent night as well as the pair neutralised PSG's attacking threat to a scary degree.

The 24-year-old's leadership and defensive organisation were also on full display on the night. Dias ended the game with three blocks, three recoveries, and four clearances — the highest for any player on the pitch. He put in a warrior's display as he was infallible against Neymar and co, and was fittingly awarded the Man of the Match.


Flop — Mauro Icardi | Paris Saint-Germain

Manchester City v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Leg Two
Manchester City v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Leg Two

Irrespective of Manchester City's early opener in the second leg, Paris Saint-Germain needed two goals without reply to progress to the UCL final. This task was all the more difficult for the French champions as their centre-forward went missing. Watchers could be forgiven for not knowing that Mauro Icardi was on the pitch against Manchester City because the Argentine just didn't turn up for the game.

It's one thing if a footballer played poorly, a la Herrera, but a whole other story if someone just didn't appear like he was playing at all. Icardi was nowhere to be seen against Manchester City. No runs into the box, no clever movement to keep the centre-backs occupied and create space for his teammates, no shots, no goals, no take-ons, no chances, nothing.

Sure, he was up against the best defence in world football with the likes of Dias and Stones, but Icardi lacked any real vigour or urgency to make things happen for a player starting in a UCL semi-final. The former Inter captain ended the game with seven passes, 16 touches, and absolutely zero impact in the attacking third for PSG. A shambolic display from Icardi.


Hit — Riyad Mahrez | Manchester City

Manchester City v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Leg Two
Manchester City v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Leg Two

On a night where many expected Neymar to step up and fire PSG into the final, it was his counterpart Riyad Mahrez who rose to the occasion and delivered for Manchester City.

The Algerian forward gave Guardiola's side an all-important winner at the Parc des Princes last week with a venomous strike from a free-kick, and he was arguably the best player on the pitch against PSG at the Etihad. Mahrez had a brilliant outing in every way, leading the counter-attack at every opportunity without forgoing his defensive responsibilities to keep PSG in check.

The 30-year-old dispatched the ball past Keylor Navas with his weaker foot to give his side the lead in the first half after Ederson's raking 60-yard pass into the final third. In the second half, with the attention on Foden and De Bruyne on the left, Mahrez ghosted into the box unmarked to meet the Englishman's cross and smashed the ball into the net for the second goal.

Mahrez ended the game with more take-ons completed than any player on the pitch (five of seven), most duels (21, won ten), won most fouls (four, with Neymar), and most shots on target (three).

Most importantly, he scored the two goals that sealed City's place in their first-ever UCL final. Only Robert Lewandowski (v Real Madrid, 2013) and Alessandro Del Piero (v AS Monaco, 1998) have scored more in a single UCL semi-final tie than Mahrez's three.


Also read: 5 Players who could replace Fernandinho at Manchester City


Fabrizio Romano, Jim Beglin, Paul Merson and David James are now Sportskeeda Experts! Check here

PREVIOUS 2 / 2
Edited by Sai Teja
Fetching more content...
App download animated image Get the free App now