Man City leave first leg level with PSG thanks to Fernando folly, Fernandinho goal
Holly Thackeray | April 6, 2016
PSG 2-2 Manchester City
- Hart saved Ibrahimovic spot-kick early in first-half
- De Bruyne then fired Man City into the lead on 38 minutes
- Fernando error saw Ibrahimovic equalise before the break
- Luiz and Matuidi suspended for PSG in second leg
- Rabiot put the hosts 2-1 up
- Midfielder Fernandinho levelled around 73rd minute mark
Man City poach vital away goals in Paris
Manchester City return from Paris with two crucial away goals following a frenzied Champions League semi-final first leg against PSG, leaving the scoreline poised delicately at 2-2.
The Citizens still have an away goal advantage thanks to astute Kevin De Bruyne, who put City ahead at the Parc des Princes after Joe Hart saved a Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty.
PSG fought back thanks to a Fernando fumble in the first-half before Adrien Rabiot put the hosts ahead in the second. But resilient Man City (now 11/1 with Coral to win the Champions League) were not out for the count, and fired a late leveller through alert Fernandinho.
After this enthralling contest, it still looks all to play for in Manchester…
Thrilling start in City of Lights
First legs often have a reputation for a cautious feel, both teams with it all to lose and the comforting cushion of a return still to come.
Yet Manchester City treated this as anything but, as they flew out the blocks in Paris, taking the home team quite by surprise. As, within the first few seconds a Nicolas Otamendi ball aimed at Sergio Aguero sent David Luiz into a spin, seeing the Samba Boy yellow carded and suspended for the second leg.
City continued to keep their French capital hosts under the cosh early on, pouring forward in search of that elusive away goal. Yet it was the Sky Blues who first looked to almost concede a spot-kick as Blaise Matuidi, breaking away on a counter, was unbalanced in the box, but was adjudged not to have been taken out by either Joe Hart or Eliaquim Mangala.
Hart the hero for PSG penalty
City did pay the penalty for their gung-ho approach soon after, however, as PSG grew into the game and Bacary Sagna clumsily felled everyone’s favourite former Chelsea defender Luiz in his own area, after a hapless attempt to clear.
Of course, Sweden superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic stepped up to take a spot-kick most people would have put their house on him converting, but Hart, perhaps spurred on by speculation over his position at the club, repelled the uncharacteristically weak strike out for a corner.
The big Swede was strangely off the boil, as he then blazed a later chance over the bar with a wayward long-range effort despite just Hart to beat.
De Bruyne dispatches deadly away goal
For all of the Parisians’ increasing possession, the Citizens were still dangerous, with recently returned De Bruyne keen to show he could make a difference.
Usually stern Matuidi balked under pressure from the Citizens’ energetic Brazilian duo Fernando and Fernandinho, with the Sky Blues romp up the pitch ending with the ball at De Bruyne’s feet and the Belgian lashed home a typically low and spectacular effort.
Man City were first in front thanks to their big summer signing and his 14th strike of the season, but it wasn’t to last too long…
Fernando faux pas closes first 45
If he was instrumental in the build up to the opener, midfield shield Fernando went from hero to zero in mere minutes, as he attempted to collect the ball from Hart.
The South American fluffed his lines sensationally, absently trying to kick the ball around Ibrahimovic, though comically, and for travelling City support tragically, the ball rebounded off the Swedish striker and back into the net. You couldn’t make it up, some guys just have all the luck.
PSG then attempted to take advantage of a stunned City side, as Angel Di Maria weaved through the field to put Matuidi in a position to assist, but the Frenchman made a hash of his chance, as the Mancunians also finished the first 45 with a handball claim for Thiago Silva waved away.
Parisians keep up pressure
Matuidi made himself the next casualty of a yellow card, and consequently misses the next leg, after clipping City’s Otamendi.
Still the side in navy blue were buoyed, coming back from the break strong to put the squeeze on Manuel Pellegrini’s Citizens.
Eventually, the relentless waves paid off, as PSG found another way to breach the Sky Blues. This time Parisian prodigy Rabiot was on hand to poke in from close-range following an Edinson Cavani knock-down in the box, as City continued to capitulate.
Daring Di Maria then had a shot to help make it 3-1 close after, swinging a probing cross for a lurking Ibrahimovic to meet and head with power, enough to have the beating of Hart – but not the crossbar, so the Sky Blues could breathe again.
Fernandinho fires City to safety
In an evening of the unexpected, the 72nd minute saw another Brazilian midfielder seek the limelight, as Fernandinho pounced as PSG fumbled in the box, seizing on the ball after a Thiago Silva mistake.
The Samba star struck past PSG’s Kevin Trapp, who was caught out as the ball took several deflections off his defence before nestling in the net.
It was a stroke of look the Citizens needed, and they now leave Paris in a position of power, with two away goals, and the return to come at the Etihad.