Mahrez double makes history


Man City have reached their first UEFA Champions League final thanks to two Riyad Mahrez goals.

It was a landmark night for Manchester City as Mahrez scored twice to send them to a maiden UEFA Champions League final with a 4-1 aggregate success over Paris St Germain.

PSG were positive early on but that proved their downfall as they were caught out by Ederson’s long pass. Oleksandr Zinchenko latched on to it and found Kevin De Bruyne, whose blocked shot fell nicely for Mahrez to sweep in. The visitors responded, though, with Marquinhos heading against the bar and Ángel Di María firing just wide from distance.

Josep Guardiola’s side had to dig deep after the interval with Zinchenko denying Neymar and Rúben Dias thwarting Ander Herrera before another clinical counterattack finished the job. De Bruyne led the break and released Phil Foden, who slid the ball across for Mahrez to write his name into City folklore. Di María’s red card soon after summed up a disappointing night for Mauricio Pochettino’s visitors.

City still had a job to do after laying the foundations in Paris and they rose to the occasion magnificently once again, defending superbly throughout before hitting the visitors with two clinical counterattacks. A first European final in 51 years awaits, and after sailing through the knockout stages with a 100 per cent record they will surely fancy their chances of lifting the trophy later this month.

So thrilling away to Barcelona and Bayern, PSG finally met their match here. City’s collective effort and understanding was a level above and the French team ultimately stumbled out of the competition without ever threatening to turn the tie around, their best moments of possession typically leading nowhere. A night of passive play and wasteful touches ended with the black mark of another red card, suggesting PSG still have some way to go to meet the toughest psychological challenges in Europe.

Riyad Mahrez, Man. City winger: “We didn’t have a good first half but we got the goal and we were more comfortable. We played well second half and we could have scored more. It wasn’t the game plan to counterattack but they had to come at us and that’s how the two goals came about. We have another game on Saturday, we need to win to be league champions and then we’ll concentrate on the Champions League final.”

City have won their last seven matches in the competition, breaking the record for the longest winning run by an English team in European Cup/UEFA Champions League history.

• Mahrez scored two goals in a UEFA Champions League game for the first time since his debut in the competition, for Leicester versus Club Brugge in September 2016.

• Mahrez became the outright highest scoring Algerian player in the UEFA Champions League, his ninth goal – the opener in this match – taking him past Yacine Brahimi.

• Paris have only kept two clean sheets in their last 13 UEFA Champions League games and have conceded in each of their last eight in the competition.

What’s next?

City need just one win from their final four matches to seal a third Premier crown in four seasons before they take on Chelsea or Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final in Istanbul on 29 May.


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