Mahrez’s double, Guardiola’s winning bet, but also the mental limits of PSG: find the Tops and Flops of the editorial staff at the end of this C1 semi-final between Manchester City and Paris (2-0).
Mahrez, this executioner
Goalscorer on a clever free kick, Riyad Mahrez put on his executioner’s habit. It was he who opened the scoring fairly quickly with a well-placed shot from the right, his wrong foot. A goal that stunned PSG and gave confidence to his team, who had started quite timidly. Regularly threatening on his right wing, he made a difficult evening for Diallo and Kimpembe. And ended up registering a double by concluding a counterattack model. Clear.
Guardiola won his tactical bet
Tactically, we felt this City team much more compact than on the first leg. And Guardiola’s choices were still good, leaving the ball to Paris, which was not very dangerous offensively. Defensively solid, by cutting the opposing transmissions well, the Citizens have fully deserved their qualification. The presence of Fernandinho in the middle, in place of Rodri, was especially precious to bring vice.
Foden, the wisp
The young England international has fiery legs and has shown it again against Paris. Lively on his left wing, he made Florenzi suffer greatly and was very impactful. Author of three dangerous shots, including two repulsed by Navas, he punctuated his fine performance with a decisive cross on the 2e City goal.
Zinchenko, the good joker
Preferred to Joao Cancelo on the left side of the defense, Oleksandr Zinchenko had a good performance against Paris. Already a decisive passer in the first leg, he was involved in the first goal by having made a good call in the back of the defense. Solid against Di Maria’s dribbles, he was clean all the way.
Paris got caught like a newbie
Where was the experience of PSG in major events ? We can really doubt that this group was in the final of C1 last year with such behavior. Quickly led, the Parisians did not seem able to worry the Citizens throughout the game. Worse, they ended up losing their nerves and it is one of the most experienced, Angel Di Maria, who launched the hostilities with this sole as useless as dangerous which earned him a direct red. Behind, the Parisians have never recovered and leave this competition by the back door, after having rubbed shoulders with the big one.
Neymar, not the expected leader
He was determined to turn the defeat back on the go. But despite his efforts to fall back and his big activity, Neymar was generally disappointed. The Brazilian has sometimes made it difficult to want to make a difference on his own and made some bad choices. He never had the decisive gesture, like this action at the 55e minute when he is slow to strike and ends up being countered.
Di Maria, the symbol
So brilliant on the first leg and for a period on the return trip, Angel Di Maria finally broke down. A gesture of annoyance (a sole) on Fernandinho thus earned him an expulsion. Sanguin, the Argentinian had been interesting until then. But he too has lost track.
The Parisian side and Kimpembe, a big handicap
Abdou Diallo and Alessandro Florenzi were very disappointing on the lawn of the Etihad Stadium. The first named had yet room to express himself on his left side but he multiplied the bad crosses and the climbs out of time. As for Florenzi, he is at fault on both goals by leaving too much space for Zinchenko, then Foden and generally struggled when City raised their tone. All the worry of damaged posts at PSG for a while. As for Presnel Kimpembe, he was not aggressive enough on Mahrez on the action of the first goal and overall left the impression of always being on the limit.