The match: 2-0
PSG had to score at least twice to qualify. He didn’t even frame a shot. Deprived of Kylian Mbappé, affected in a calf, the men of Mauricio Pochettino could not do anything against the best defense of the Champions League (4 goals conceded in twelve matches). This is the first time in five years that the Parisians have not scored away in this competition.
The hailstorm that hit the Etihad Stadium before the match did not cool the Parisians, who started very well. Positioned high, they thought they would get a penalty from the 7th but the VAR canceled it, the ball having hit Zintchenko’s trapezoids. A few minutes later, PSG was caught on a long sublime recovery from Ederson: behind the weak Florenzi, the Ukrainian left side was able to center for de Bruyne, whose counter strike was exploited by Mahrez (11th). Paris did not let go: Marquinhos placed a header on the bar (17th), Di Maria missed the frame by a few centimeters on a recovery error from Ederson (19th). The Argentinian did not finish the meeting, sent off for a bad gesture on Fernandinho (69th).
Too often static, too often authors of bad decisions in the zone of truth, the PSG players have had a hard time finding space in the Citizens’ spider web. Behind, Ruben Dias was (again) immense. In front, Phil Foden has (again) eclipsed Kevin de Bruyne. Passeur on the second English goal (63rd), the young midfielder shot on the post (77th) and collided twice with Navas (54th, 80th).
Once again, Pep Guardiola got the better of Mauricio Pochettino: the latter won only three of their twenty duels. His choices (Herrera to replace the suspended Gueye, Icardi at the top, Diallo on the left) were all missed. After eliminating Barça and then Bayern, PSG could not achieve an additional feat.
This is Pep Guardiola’s first final for ten years. The last was with Barça, in 2011. He beat Manchester United.
The man: Riyad Mahrez, executioner of PSG
Season after season, Riyad Mahrez integrates the playing principles and instructions of Pep Guardiola. Year after year, the former Le Havre becomes more consistent in the Manchester City jersey. Scorer at the Parc des Princes during the first half (2-1), the native of Sarcelles was one of the great players of the return since he scored a double from his right side (11th, 63rd). He was the author of three of his team’s five shots on target and touched 81 balls.
On his right wing, the left-hander particularly enjoyed himself with Abdou Diallo, constantly provoking him (22 duels, 4 faults suffered). His technique hurt PSG very badly, especially when he came to play inside, and he even attempted a direct corner (83rd). Defensively, he was at the level requested by Guardiola with three interceptions (City record), two clearances and six recoveries.
Involved on six goals in City’s last five Champions League matches, Mahrez becomes the first Algerian to make the final since legend Rabah Madjer in 1987.