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Paris Saint-Germain 1-2 Manchester City: Hits and Flops as Cityzens pull off major heist in France | UEFA Champions League 2020-21

Paris Saint-Germain v Manchester City - UEFA Champions League Semi-Final: Leg One
Paris Saint-Germain v Manchester City - UEFA Champions League Semi-Final: Leg One
Vishal Subramanian
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The Parc des Princes played host to the standout UEFA Champions League fixture between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, as the two star-studded sides went toe-to-toe in the first leg of the tie. In what was one of the most entertaining European games of the season, Pep Guardiola's side came from behind to record a stunning 2-1 victory away from home after a sensational showing in the second half.

Manchester City started the game strongly, but Paris Saint-Germain weathered the early storm and grew into the game. It took them a while to settle, but Mauricio Pochettino's side rose to the occasion, as they dominated possession and launched several attacks from the back.

The Ligue 1 champions were rewarded for their persistence, as they broke the deadlock on the night through a set-piece. Angel Di Maria's delightful corner was headed into the back of the net by Marquinhos, who got past his marker with relative ease and nodded home from close range.

The Paris Saint-Germain skipper has developed a habit of scoring in big games and once again took center stage in an important European tie, much like he did in the quarterfinals against Bayern Munich. The home side could have added to their tally, but they weren't clinical enough in front of goal, as they went into the interval with a slender, albeit deserved, one-goal lead.

Football is a game of two halves, and Manchester City looked transformed after the break. Whatever Pep Guardiola said at half-time worked wonders, as his players staged a magnificent comeback in the second half.

Kevin de Bruyne's whipped cross somehow landed up in the back of the net, as Keylor Navas failed to deal with the situation in front of goal. The Costa Rican goalkeeper's calamitous error set the tone for the rest of the game, as Paris Saint-Germain lost their rhythm after a good first-half performance.

Conversely, Manchester City grew in stature after De Bruyne restored parity and took control of the tie moments later through a Riyad Mahrez free-kick. The Algerian struck the ball well, but the Paris Saint-Germain wall didn't do its job well, as the ball landed up in the back of the net via a small gap between Leandro Paredes and Presnel Kimpembe.

The home side's alarming nosedive in the second half somehow got worse, as Idrissa Gueye was sent off upon consultation with the VAR for a rash challenge on Ilkay Gundogan. Despite a frantic finish, Manchester City saw off the game and are now favorites to make it through to the finals for the first time in their history.

On that note, here are the hits and flops from an eventful UEFA Champions League encounter in France.


HIT - Kevin De Bruyne | Manchester City

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

Much like the rest of the Manchester City side, Kevin De Bruyne cut a frustrated figure in the first half. However, he turned on the style and led from the front after the interval, as he played a pivotal role in his side's comeback.

Stationed as the focal point of the attack, the Belgian maestro ran the show as expected and will take credit for the equalizer, as his intended cross landed up in the back of the net due to Navas' blunder.

De Bruyne has scored in the first leg in each of Manchester City's UCL knockout ties this season and showed his match-winning ability yet again with a dominant display in the second half.


FLOP - Keylor Navas | Paris Saint-Germain

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

Keylor Navas is usually one of the most reliable goalkeepers in the world, but the Costa Rican endured a calamitous night between the sticks for Paris Saint-Germain. He had just two routine saves to make in the first half, as the home side controlled the game and took a deserved lead.

However, he horribly misread what looked like a routine cross from Kevin de Bruyne in the second half, as the Belgian's right-footed effort curled into the back of the net.

The Paris Saint-Germain wall didn't do its job for Mahrez's goal, but it could also be argued that Navas could have reacted to the situation a lot better. The three-time UEFA Champions League winner has been virtually flawless since swapping Real Madrid for the Parisian giants, but his performance against Manchester City left a lot to be desired.


HIT - Angel Di Maria | Paris Saint-Germain

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

Despite ending up on the losing side, Angel Di Maria was one of the standout players on the pitch, particularly in the first half. The Argentine recorded the assist for Marquinhos' opener, as he produced a brilliant delivery from a corner for the Paris Saint-Germain captain to head home.

In an important game for his side, Di Maria showed his class on the ball, as he manoeuvered his way past several Manchester City players either side of half-time with consummate ease. The 33-year-old also played a few delightful through balls to Kylian Mbappe and is one of few PSG players who left the pitch with his head held high.

He was withdrawn late in the second half for Danilo Pereira, as Mauricio Pochettino opted to sacrifice an attacker after Idrissa Gueye's sending off.


FLOP - Joao Cancelo | Manchester City

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

Joao Cancelo looked out of sorts and failed to make a meaningful contribution on the night. The Portuguese full-back started on the left-flank and struggled to get to grips with the game, as the Paris Saint-Germain attackers tormented him in the first half.

He was booked for a cynical foul on Mbappe, as the Frenchman left him for dead and attempted to start a counter-attack from his own half. Manchester City grew in stature after the interval, but not much changed for Cancelo, who was withdrawn in favor of Oleksandr Zinchenko with 30 minutes left on the clock.


HIT - Riyad Mahrez | Manchester City

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

Manchester City didn't have a single standout performer in the first half, but several players made amends after the interval, as they staged a famous comeback away from home. Riyad Mahrez fell in that category, as he emerged as the matchwinner on the night after his cheeky free-kick surprised everyone.

The Algerian wasn't particularly bad in the first half, but he didn't have too much joy down the flank, as Paris Saint-Germain dominated proceedings. In the second half, however, he stamped his authority on the game and got on the ball more.

Mahrez's free-kick went through the PSG wall and into the back of the net, as Keylor Navas remained unmoved between the sticks. He has proved to be quite the big-game player this season and added to his tally with a goal that puts Manchester City in pole position to make it through to the final.

Edited by Vishal Subramanian

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