Man City’s De Bruyne, Mahrez Lead Second-Half Comeback in Win at PSG

Man City’s De Bruyne, Mahrez Lead Second-Half Comeback in Win at PSG

Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez each scored in Paris to give Man City two critical away goals in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals.

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Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez scored within seven minutes of each other in a hectic second half that saw Manchester City take a 2-1 advantage over Paris Saint-Germain back to the Etihad in the Champions League semifinals.

In the first leg, Manchester City turned the tables on PSG after the French champions attacked City with a seemingly endless barrage in the first 45 minutes. 

PSG came out of the gates on a tear with Kylian Mbappé and Neymar giving City a scare in the third minute. The duo ran at an undermanned City defense before Neymar ripped a shot at goal that Ederson dealt with in the end.  

Ederson was forced into another save by Neymar in the 13th minute after the PSG star connected on a quick one-two inside the City penalty area.

After knocking on the door for the first 15 minutes, PSG took the lead thanks to a Marquinhos header. The Brazilian, who also scored in the first leg of the quarterfinals against Bayern Munich, met a sharp Angel Di Maria cross with a front post run and flicked the chance back across goal for the 1-0 lead. 

João Cancelo gave City its first real look of the match in the 21st minute when he made a troublesome run down the wing. The fullback whipped in a low cross that nearly found Bernardo Silva before PSG keeper Keylor Navas stopped the effort. 

In the 27th minute, Di Maria’s cross off a corner continued to give Manchester City problems, but luckily for City Ederson was quick to react and punch away the chance. On the subsequent corner, Leandro Paredes missed a clear chance to double the hosts lead when his open header went over and wide. 

City threatened in the 32nd minute when Phil Foden’s headed pass into the center of the PSG box was intercepted by Paredes with a high, leaping kick. The play required a brief check from the referee after Bernardo Silva’s complaints but play resumed without a hitch. 

Neymar seemed to have a penalty shout in the 41st minute when Mahrez ran through him in the penalty area, but the Algerian international just got enough of a touch on the ball in a skillful defensive move for an attacking midfielder. 

City may come to regret its best chance of the first half when Foden had an open shot on goal. The false No. 9, who has scored in three of his last four starts, was led into plenty of space by a pass from Bernardo Silva in the 43rd minute but sent his shot directly at the keeper.

Manchester City came out of halftime with much more fire after being dominated by PSG in the first half. Mahrez earned a free kick in the 48th minute but De Bruyne’s cross into the box was sent away by Marquinhos. 

De Bruyne nearly put City level in the 61st minute when he latched onto a loose ball with a powerful overhead kick that just flew over the crossbar. Moments before, Ederson kept City in the match by anticipating a pass in behind the defense that Mbappé nearly caught up to.

But the Premier League leaders were rewarded for their constant pressure in the second half with De Bruyne adding his name to the scoresheet in the unlikeliest of goals. Twenty-five yards out from goal in the 64th minute, De Bruyne sent a slow, curling pass into the box that bounced past attackers and defenders until it surprised Navas at the far post for the equalizer. For De Bruyne, it’s his third goal in his last three games for City against PSG in the knockout stages. 

Manchester City continued the onslaught with another goal just minutes later off a brilliant Mahrez free kick. After Idrissa Gueye took down Foden outside the PSG box, Mahrez ripped a shot off a free kick from 25 yards out that went through a poorly formed PSG wall and into the net for the 2-1 lead. 

Matters went from bad to worse for PSG in the 78th minute when Gueye was sent off with a straight red card. The former Everton man dove in on a dangerously late challenge from behind on Ilkay Gündogan that kept the German international down for several minutes. 

Mahrez nearly added to City’s lead, taking advantage of the man advantage with a low strike across goal that beat Navas but sailed just wide. 

In the final minutes, both Foden and De Bruyne tested Navas as City kept up the pressure. But 10-man PSG held on just enough to limit the damage to only two away goals in the end. 


Here were the lineups for both teams:

The winner of this semifinal series will play either Chelsea or Real Madrid in the May 29 final in Istanbul. Chelsea drew Madrid 1-1 in the Spanish capital on Tuesday with U.S. star Christian Pulisic scoring the away goal to give the Blues a slight advantage heading into the second leg.

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