Manchester City took a big step towards their first Champions League final, with goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez that earned them a 2-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the semifinals on Wednesday .
PSG took the lead with a header from Marquinhos in the first half, but Mauricio Pochettino’s team lost control after the break, with De Bruyne and Mahrez scoring the goal within eight minutes, guaranteeing City’s 18th consecutive away win. home in all competitions.
Last year’s runners-up PSG found themselves with a higher mountain to climb, with midfielder Idrissa Gueye receiving a straight red card in the 77th minute for a reckless challenge over Ilkay Gundogan.
“The second half was much better, the way the first goal came in was lucky, but we played excellent football in the second half, we were doing well,” said De Bruyne.
Pochettino agreed that the visitors were the best team after the break.
“There were two different halves. In the first half we were fine. We created opportunities and deserved the leadership, but in the second half they were better than us,” he said.
“Both goals were accidental, but they created more than we did.”
The French champions need to show off on Tuesday the same form away from home that allowed them to beat Barcelona at the Camp Nou and Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in the previous rounds if they are to move on.
“At the break, I told the players that we needed to be ourselves. We needed to be more aggressive and we didn’t let them breathe after the break,” said coach Pep Guardiola.
City dominated possession, but PSG were the most dangerous team, with Brazilian striker Neymar testing City goalkeeper Ederson twice.
Marquinhos, returning to the team from an injury suffered in the first leg of the quarter-final against Bayern, put the home team in front when he headed home after a corner by Angel Di Maria in the 15th minute.
City, too cautious for fear of being punished on the counterattack, went back to being exposed on a dead ball when Leandro Paredes headed in the corner of Neymar, who headed wide.
Guardiola’s team lacked their usual composure, with João Cancelo receiving a yellow card for a painful entry over Kylian Mbappe.
City’s first real chance came in the 42nd minute, when Phil Foden, played on the pitch by Bernardo Silva, kicked close to PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
The visitors were more offensive in the second half and leveled on 64 minutes, when De Bruyne, after a pass from Oleksandr Zinchenko who had just replaced Cancelo, made a cross and Navas did not react when crossing to the far corner of the net.
Navas was defeated again seven minutes later, when Mahrez’s free-kick went straight through a fragile PSG barrier and through the helpless Navas.
Gueye’s expulsion for a violent entry into Gundogan made City’s task easier and they will take a big advantage for the second leg in Manchester.