Manchester City reached their first-ever UEFA Champions League final as they cruised past Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), 4-1 on aggregate.
Manchester City 2-0 Paris Saint-Germain
Riyad Mahrez found the net twice as the Premier League leaders cruised to a 2-0 victory of French champions PSG in the second leg of their Champions League semifinal tie.
Paris suffered a serious blow before kick-off when young star Kylian Mbappe was restricted to the bench because of injury. They did not lack the endeavour or intent and had early hope when a penalty was awarded for a handball by Oleksandr Zinchenko, which was correctly overturned to keep the game deadlocked at that point in time.
However, a quiet performance from Neymar meant that PSG needed inspiration from somewhere else and that was completely lacking. Mauro Icardi had one of the poorest games we have seen in recent times and in a semifinal stage.
PSG, as they did when Idrissa Gueye was sent off late in the first leg, lost their cool as Angel di Maria was shown sent off for a senseless stamp on Fernandinho following a touchline tangle.
— Ilkay Gündogan (@IlkayGuendogan) May 4, 2021
“This is remarkable,” said Guardiola.
“People believe it’s easy to arrive in the final of the Champions League. Getting to the final now makes sense of what we have done in the past four or five years.
“Every day these guys have been consistent. We scored a goal through the hips [of the defensive wall] in the first game, and today Marquinhos hit the bar in the first half – you can be out for little details.
“Manchester United won a title because of John Terry’s slip and scored in the last minute against Bayern Munich and Real Madrid won a title against Atletico in the 93rd minute. It’s a competition that is so difficult and something in the stars is involved in that.
“I want to thank the owner, the chairman and the staff at the club. This club is about all the people that work behind the scenes, it’s not just about money. If you want to think that then you are wrong.”
Guardiola’s side had been knocked out in the quarterfinals in the past three seasons by Lyon, Tottenham and Liverpool and lost in the last 16 to AS Monaco in Pep’s first campaign in charge.
They are playing in the Champions League for a 10th consecutive season and had only once before reached the semifinal stage, losing 1-0 over the two legs to Real Madrid in 2015-16 when they were managed by Manuel Pellegrini.
City fell behind in the first leg in Paris when Marquinhos headed home a corner but fought back in the second half to earn a 2-1 thanks to Mahrez and Phil Foden.
Mahrez, who scored the winning goal in Paris, was again the star in Manchester, slotting under Keylar Navas in the 11th minute, before finishing off a perfect counter-attack in the 63rd minute.
Manchester City boss Guardiola said: “I’m incredibly proud and my first thoughts are with the players who didn’t play today. They all deserved to play, everyone has made a contribution and now it is time to enjoy it. We have to win the league and we have two or three weeks to prepare for the final.
“They put a lot of players in the middle and we struggled a lot in the first half to high press and we changed at half-time. We recovered the ball better in the second half and we were much better in the way we played and 4-1 on aggregate against a team that beat Barcelona and Bayern Munich means a lot to us.
“People believe it’s easy to arrive in the final of the Champions League. Getting to the final now makes sense of what we have done in the past four or five years.”
Final bound!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/LJDdQlXWy3
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“They were clinical,” said Pochettino, who became PSG boss in January.
“I congratulate Manchester City, they’re having a fantastic season.”
“We played the game we planned to play. We started really well, creating chances and dominating Manchester City. That’s not easy.
“Sometimes in football you need a percentage of luck in some periods of the game. They scored from a situation where we were pressing high, with a long ball.
“The players will all feel disappointed. We did well. The plan, the game was good. This type of game you need luck to go your way.”