Manchester City came from behind to defeat Paris St-Germain and take charge of their Champions League semi-final in France.
After falling behind to Marquinhos’ header from Angel di Maria’s corner after 15 minutes, Pep Guardiola’s side battled back to dominate after the break and transform the first leg tie in Paris on its head.
After Kevin de Bruyne’s threatening cross evaded everyone in the penalty area and drifted past motionless PSG keeper Kaylor Navas after 64 minutes, City, who had threatened before the break when Phil Foden missed a great chance, were far more optimistic and got the reward they deserved.
PSG were ragged, and Riyad Mahrez placed City in a great position to reach their first Champions League final when his left-foot free-kick went through the wall to beat Navas seven minutes later.
To add insult to injury, former Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye was sent off late in the game for a dreadful tackle on Ilkay Gundogan.
Man City’s dream is becoming a reality.
Manchester City has long desired to win the Champions League as proof of their status as a European superpower, and this spectacular performance has brought that goal closer than it has ever been.
The Premier League leaders had to show all of their skills before eventually defeating their opponents, who ran out of steam after displaying real class in the first half, with Neymar and Di Maria pulling the strings.
As City kept firm in the first half, Ruben Dias and John Stones were prominent, while Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker brought real attacking danger after the break, as they displayed greater ambition, and the visitors played with immense maturity as they pinned PSG back in their own half.
Their threat developed during the game, so it was no surprise when De Bruyne equalised and then Mahrez put them ahead – in fact, PSG were so outclassed and disorganised that they could almost be thankful they only lost 2-1.
City’s Champions League past is filled with late-season disappointments, mostly due to tactical blunders or bad luck – but not this time.
Because of those experiences, they can take nothing for granted when PSG visits Etihad Stadium in six days, but City has never been in better shape to reach a Champions League final.
PSG is still a challenge, but City is in control.
PSG demonstrated in the first 45 minutes that City cannot take anything for granted. However, former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino will be aware that his team is a long shot to face either Chelsea or Real Madrid in the final on May 29 in Istanbul.
PSG’s first-half storm took all of City’s determination and character to weather, and while Mbappe was a remarkably marginal figure, they still have the capability and danger of turning the tables on City at Etihad Stadium.
The manner in which City dictated terms to PSG in the second half, depriving Neymar and Mbappe of any service, would irritate PSG, another club seeking the Holy Grail of a first Champions League title.
To make matters worse, they lost their composure, as shown by Gueye’s late reckless challenge on Gundogan, which resulted in a red card.