If Pep Guardiola was not sure of the duty dealing with his Manchester Metropolis aspect previous to their Champions League semi-final conflict with Paris Saint-Germain, he knew precisely what he’d bought himself in for by the 15-minute mark of the primary leg.
The French champions had been completely electrical for the primary quarter of an hour, with Neymar particularly working the Metropolis defence and midfield ragged as he showcased his in depth repertoire of flicks and tips.
Evidently he was provided some ‘tough’ therapy from the Metropolis backline as they regarded to curtail his enjoyable, however it’s no use focusing all of your efforts on Neymar when Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria are pulling the strings the second your again is turned.
Guardiola will little doubt have been livid on the method wherein Metropolis conceded the opening aim of the sport, as Ilkay Gundogan fully ignored his defensive duties in permitting Marquinhos a free run within the field earlier than glancing Di Maria’s header residence.
With little over quarter-hour on the clock it was already starting to appear like a injury limitations train for the guests, and in all honesty if you happen to’d provided Guardiola a 1-0 away defeat at that time he’d most likely have snapped your hand off.
Whereas Metropolis managed to create a few probabilities of their very own within the opening 45 minutes, the 2 sides headed for the interval with just one end result wanting doubtless, and as Neymar emerged for the second half with a cheeky grin on his face you feared the worst for the guests.
Properly, so we thought anyway.
Guardiola’s aspect emerged for the second half wanting like a completely totally different crew and – other than the occasional burst of tempo from Mbappe – the architects of Metropolis’s downfall within the first half had been nowhere to be seen.
As a substitute, Metropolis continued to surge ahead creating wave after wave of strain. Whereas PSG might have extra world-class people able to moments of brilliance, City proved to be the world-class crew of the 2 they usually had been finally rewarded.
Firsty, Kevin De Bruyne’s inswinging cross fully deceived the PSG again line and Keylor Navas earlier than crusing into the highest nook, earlier than Riyad Mahrez’s free kick inexplicably slipped via the house aspect’s wall and into the again of the web.
One of many major causes behind Metropolis’s second-half dominance was that they lastly managed to get a foothold on the ball, and midfield lynchpin Rodri was key to their efforts.
The previous Atletico Madrid man has are available in for some criticism since his transfer to the Premier League, although he was distinctive within the Parc des Princes and his capability to maintain maintain of the ball and stop PSG from mounting steady waves of strain was very important to Metropolis’s second-half show,
Who would’ve thought that not letting Neymar have the ball was the important thing to stopping him taking part in?
The Brazilian barely had a kick within the second 45, and his waning affect on the sport brought on a domino impact because the likes of Mbappe and Di Maria additionally struggled to impression proceedings. Once more, who would’ve thought that stopping a crew’s finest participant was the best way to stopping them taking part in properly?
Clearly there’s much more goes into it than us simply sitting right here saying ‘properly cease Neymar taking part in then’, however the reality of the matter is Metropolis’s crew sport prevailed over PSG’s people.
Guardiola’s males had been up in opposition to it within the French capital, however they confirmed they’d the abdomen for the struggle and got here out swinging, whereas PSG simply did not fancy the battle, and that angle appears like costing them their dream of European success.