What Kevin De Bruyne said to Riyad Mahrez before free-kick winner for Manchester City against PSG

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George Flood
·2-min read
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<p>Riyad Mahrez and Kevin De Bruyne deep in conversation before the free-kick winner against PSG</p> (REUTERS)

Riyad Mahrez and Kevin De Bruyne deep in conversation before the free-kick winner against PSG

(REUTERS)

Kevin De Bruyne has revealed the advice he gave to Manchester City team-mate Riyad Mahrez before the latter notched the winning goal in Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain.

Pep Guardiola’s Premier League champions-elect will take a 2-1 lead back to the Etihad Stadium for next week’s all-important return clash after producing a rousing fightback in Paris.

After trailing at the interval courtesy of PSG captain Marquinhos’ 15th-minute header, City - fresh off their fourth successive Carabao Cup triumph at Wembley - were excellent in the second half and restored parity when De Bruyne’s dangerous cross drifted all the way past goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

The winning goal came 20 minutes from time, when Mahrez’s left-footed free-kick from a central position a few yards in front of the D went straight though the PSG wall and into the back of the net.

Set-pieces at City are usually very much the domain of specialist De Bruyne, who could be seen giving permission for Mahrez to try his luck on that occasion.

Discussing what he said to the Algerian before that effort, De Bruyne told BT Sport with a smile: “He asked me if he could take it and I said ‘yes, if you believe in yourself’. He scored. Who am I to say something?”

Praising his team’s fightback as they seek to reach a first Champions League final, City’s stand-in skipper said: “It was a game of two halves. We started well, the first 10 minutes, had some control, but they are an unbelievable team and they have got great quality up front.

"It's a shame about the way that we conceded, after that, they had a couple of small chances. After 25 minutes, we changed the way we pressed them and it became better, we had a couple of opportunities, especially the one with Phil [Foden].

"But the second half was much, much better. We put them under pressure. Obviously the way the first goal goes in was a little bit lucky, but we played great football in the second half. We did well there."

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