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Manchester City win 4-1 on aggregate
City to play Real Madrid or Chelsea in Istanbul on May 29
All hail Manchester City. They are into their first ever Champions League Final and neither Paris Saint-Germain nor an unseasonal hail-storm could stop them.
There was ice in their veins as well as on the pitch as the hail came – in May! – although it will be warmer in Istanbul later this month where they will face either Chelsea or Real Madrid. How they deserve their place in the sun.
This was an outstanding performance, to add to an accomplished display from half-time onwards in Paris, with Pep Guardiola, who has suffered so many last-four disappointments since his last final with Barcelona 10 years ago, banishing the failures of past campaigns. At the 10th attempt, and after only their second semi-final, City are one game away from the biggest prize in club football after Riyad Mahrez scored three of their four goals over both legs.
He was not alone in catching the eye. Phil Foden will turn 21 the day before the final on May 29 but how he belongs on this stage; how he has performed this campaign. Then there is Kevin De Bruyne who strikes fear in the opposition every time he gets the ball and the colossus Ruben Dias who has transformed City’s defence alongside the resurgent John Stones. As Dias strode off bare-chested at the final whistle he bear-hugged everyone he came across.
There were nine blocks from City’s defence as they repelled PSG and it seemed like more with Dias, Stones and Oleksandr Zinchenko putting their bodies on the line. When the latter diverted an effort from Neymar Stones, who had also thrown himself towards the ball, jumped up to chest-bump his team-mate. It summed up the determination. Resilience is not a quality normally associated with City but they have shown it in spades this season.
City have now won seven Champions League matches in a row – a new record for an English club – and it is such a shame that their fans were not inside the Etihad to celebrate. They could be heard outside, though, although what a shame also that the City owners had tried to exile themselves from this competition by signing up to the thankfully aborted European Super League. Still, that should not taint this achievement.
For last season’s finalists PSG this has been a miserable match-up, capped by the fact that they had players sent off in both games. How Angel Di María really does hate Manchester. In the awful weather the anguished face of their coach Mauricio Pochettino – a mixture of anger and frustration – said it all although they were certainly hampered by Kylian Mbappé not being fit enough to be involved.
The forward sat glumly watching on as his team-mates lost their heads with Marco Verratti afterwards even claiming Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers had twice sworn at him.
Such was the freakish nature of the weather that there were large patches of white dusting over the pitch from the sleet with the PSG players, after their warm-up, standing on one of the few green areas for an impromptu Neymar and Di María-led team-talk.
They were up for it, as they had to be, but after an initial flurry they were easily undone. Ederson sent a wonderfully precise ball forward that allowed Zinchenko, just inside his own half, to run free before pulling back a low cross that was collected by De Bruyne. His shot deflected off Alessandro Florenzi, who was out of position, and into the path of Mahrez. As Presnel Kimpembe tried to cover, Mahrez’s angled drive went between the legs of goalkeeper Keylor Navas and into the net. On the touchline Guardiola turned and pumped the damp air in celebration.
Zinchenko had already been heavily involved when a penalty was awarded against him for handball. Fortunately it was quickly overturned after a Var check as replays showed that Kimpembe’s cross had clearly struck him on the shoulder. It was from another left-wing ball, though, that PSG went closest to scoring when Marquinhos rose superbly to head across Ederson with it rebounding back off the cross-bar.
The conditions were playing a significant part but Ilkay Gundogan had no excuse though when he was easily dispossessed by Di Maria as he collected Ederson’s throw out with the winger shooting quickly and the ball flying narrowly past the post. That was a let-off but while PSG retained possession, City – cajoled by Dias – maintained their defensive shape as more shots and crosses were blocked and cleared.
The pitch was scraped of the remaining ice at half-time – quite why it did not happen before kick-off was strange – and it appeared to benefit City with the balletic Foden becoming increasingly prominent as he forced Navas, who had saved with his feet from Mahrez on the stroke of half-time, into parrying from a half-volley.
Zinchenko blocked, then Dias dived to head away a goal-bound volley from Ander Herrera and there was just no way through for PSG who were becoming increasingly agitated. It also meant they committed more and more players forward and they were caught out when City countered through Foden who exchanged passes with De Bruyne, surged past the hapless Florenzi and fired the ball low across the penalty area from the left. There was Mahrez who calmly side-footed it high beyond Navas at the far post.
That was devastating and PSG were devastated. Any hope of a comeback ended with Di María’s spiteful dismissal. As the ball went out of play he tangled with Fernandinho and stamped on the City captain’s left foot. The red card was inevitable with Pochettino striding onto the pitch to try to calm his players who were a man down for the second time in the tie following Idrissa Gueye's sending off at Parc des Princes.
By now it was a case of whether PSG would lose more goals or more players. They flew into reckless tackles but Foden was simply too quick and his wonderful drag-back allowed him to push the ball past Kimpembe and shoot across Navas, clipping the outside of the post.
It did not matter. City had made it to their first European final since winning the Cup Winners' Cup in 1970 and that 51 years is the longest gap of any club between Uefa finals. So in control were they that Guardiola, who had already slumped back in his dug-out seat in satisfaction, even sent Sergio Agüero on as the striker winds down his glittering career at the club.
Gloriously he now has the chance to go out with a Champions League winners’ medal.
We have three other pieces from the Etihad all on clickable links at the top of Jason's match report or here: the ratings, Mike McGrath on PSG's shame and PSG's claim that the referee swore at some of their players.
We will also have all the reaction from the managers soon.
Thanks for your company.
Pep's (Champions League) final word
It is definitely a huge step forward for the club. I am incredibly proud. My first thought is for the players who didn’t play today. I know for them it is so tough, they deserved to play, and everyone has made his contribution.
We have one step to the Premier League, then two or three weeks to prepare for the final. PSG put a lot of players in the middle, and we struggled a lot to make the high press, but in the second half was fantastic.
An aggregate 4-1 against a team that knocked out Barcelona and Bayern Munich, so that means a lot to us. PSG are huge competitors, they fought until the end, but we were so composed.
We suffered together, and we did it. We are in the final of the Champions League. Nice words.
Riyad Mahrez speaks
It was a very good game. We didn’t start good again. We didn’t have a very good first half but we scored the goal. In the second half we played very well and could have scored more.
They lost their nerves and started kicking us. After the red card it was more comfortable for us.
We were good in the counter, and that’s how the two goals [came].
Now we’re in the final. We have a game on Saturday we have to win to be champions, and then we can concentrate on the final.
Full time City 2 (4) PSG 0 (1)
Istanbul, here they come.
Thoroughly deserved victory. A magnificent team performance. And a first European Cup/Champions League final in a journey in this competition that began in 1968-69.
90+1 min City 2 (4) PSG 0 (1)
Fernadinho brings down Neymar, 22 yards out. Neymar, who has benefited from his approach from Brazil, doesn't complain. Neymar floats the free-kick high, wide and hideously into the seats.
90 min City 2 (4) PSG 0 (1)
Now Danilo goes in from behind on Jesus, wrapping his legs around him and rolling him over. Filthy. Reflects terribly on the club. Neymar was on the ground at the time, Walker having caught his foot, but there was no excuse for Danilo's lunge.
88 min City 2 (4) PSG 0 (1)
Kimpembe scythes through Gabriel Jesus. Yellow card. PSG have collectively lost their minds. There's a genuine petulant ugliness about them here. They've been outplayed for three successive halves but they seem to be railing against the injustice of the world.
86 min City 2 (4) PSG 0 (1)
Sterling loses his footing as he chases a chip down the inside-left. Walker uses his pace to scramble back to stop Bakker getting on the end of Neymar's diagonal out to the left.
84 min City 2 (4) PSG 0 (1)
Sterling asks too much of Stones to play the perfect diagonal return in a one-two in the box. Sergio Aguero, the betting person's cash machine for seven of the past nine years, is coming on for Foden. And Pochettino gives him a pat on the back.
82 min City 2 (4) PSG 0 (1)
De Bruyne and Bernardo depart to be replaced by Sterling and Gabriel Jesus. Bakker comes on for Diallo.
80 min City 2 (4) PSG 0 (1)
Ooops he did it again. Foden fires a left foot shot after another slippery run that Navas saves low.
78 min City 2 (4) PSG 0 (1)
Foden bombs down the left, gives the defender the slip with step-overs and swazz and then pile-drives a left-foot shot into the foot of the right post. There's no way Grealish or Rashford get in ahead of him on the left for England at the Euros.
76 min City 2 (4) PSG 0 (1)
PSG take off Florenzi and Paredes and send on Danilo and Dagba.
Navas almost gives De Bruyne a tap-in when the City man presses him as he tries to make an angle to roll it to Dagba. Only just gets away with it.
75 min City 2 (4) PSG 0 (1)
Mike McGrath wrote this last week about Mahrez. Seems more pertinent than ever:
72 min City 2 (4) PSG 0 (1)
Zinchenko and Verratti are booked, Zinchenko for prodding Paredes in the chest after he threw the ball at a supine Foden's head after Verratti had fouled him. Verratti was booked for grabbing Zinchenko around the throat.
70 min City 2 (4) PSG 0 (1)
Verratti is steaming, most PSG players Kimpembe apart have lost the plot, flying into fouls, protesting every perceived injustice, doing the referee's head in.
68 min City 2 (4) PSG 0 (1)
They were tussling off the field for a loose ball as Di Maria wanted to take the throw. He waves his arm to push Fernadinho away and then treads on top of his left foot, quite deliberately.
Pochettino is unhappy. Fernandinho did provoke him but it was a preposterous thing to do.
Red card for Di Maria
For his assault on Fernandinho.
66 min City 2 (4) PSG 0 (1)
Neymar tries to do it all on his won when surrounded but is squeezed until he loses the ball. But back come PSG and Di Maria gets a shot off that Dias, once more, blocks. He's like a secret service presidential guard.
64 min City 2 (4) PSG 0 (1)
PSG had a free-kick 35 yards out. Neymar takes it, dinks a pathetic floater to the 18-yard line, Fernadinho wins it and triggers a counter-attack with Foden racing up the left with support from De Bruyne who goes inside. they play the one-two to send Foden to the byline and he centres sweetly for Mahrez to bury his finish from five yards with his left at the back post.
Man City 2 (4) PSG 0 (1) Riyad Mahrez
62 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Ruben Dias again, throwing himself in front of a Herrera volley from 22 yards. It hit him in the face.
Double PSG sub - Icardi and Herrera depart. Draxler and Kean enter.
61 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
He also suggests, given Mbappe is only here for show, that Kean should replace El Nino, Icardi.
60 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Jermaine Jenas suggests City would benefit from an injection of pace at some point as PSG become ever more desperate.
58 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Pep was a picture when Walker lost the ball. He sank to his knees on the sodden turf like Willem Dafoe in Platoon, screaming 'Noooooooooooooo!'
56 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Phenomenally tenacious and diligent defending by Zinchenko after Walker makes an error and makes a gift of the ball to Neymar 20 yards out. He dribbles through the box from left to right, diddles Dias and sits him down but both Zinchenko and Stones throw their bodies in the line of his shot and it;s the left-back who makes the crucial block. And earns a chest bump from Stones and Dias.
54 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Great chance for Foden! Oh no it wasn't. He was offside. De Bruyne had played a glorious reverse pass on a diagonal run from left to right to send it down the inside-left but Foden started his run too quickly and was offside when he ran on to the ball and thudded his shot when one-on-one with the keeper into Navas's legs.
52 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
PSG corner from the left, Fernadinho wins it at the near post and heads it behind. Dias and Paredes have a tussle when the second by Di Maria comes in and City are awarded a free-kick.
50 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Diallo blocks off Mahrez, throwing his arm across him then a minute later is penalised again for doing it again. Walker makes a hash of the free-kick and PSG come out of defence. Fernandinho nips Verratti's ankles to delay their break and that's his sixth or seventh 'technical' foul of the night to go with his tackles.
48 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
PSg knocking the ball around up the left but Fernandinho makes his sixth or seventh great tackle. PSG shift the ball up the inside left and Di Maria, who is floating, spins on to it and shoots but Ruben Dias throws himself in the way.
46 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
No changes. PSG took ages to come out so Pochettino must have been on one.
The City players are back out
Mbappe was warming up at half-time in trainers but now has his boots on as he heads to his seat.
Here's Zinchenko conceding the 'penalty'
That the referee struck off after looking at the screen:
Half-time City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
We are where we were this time last Wednesday with the home side a goal to the good. City have been magnificent - their two centre-halves especially but PSG are still threatening. They will take risks aplenty in the second half and are already pretty strung out with a big gap between Paredes, Verratti and Herrera and the front three. There should be plenty of more opportunities for City in the second half. If they're clinical their first CL final is on the horizon.
45+3 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
City corner on the left after Kimpembe blocks Bernardo's shot with his left from the right of the box, aiming for the top left corner. The ball came to him when Navas had saved Mahrez's angled drive with his feet. Navas and Florenzi deal with the corner at the cost of another, which they also defend well and the referee blows his Acme Thunderer for half-time.
45+1 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
De Bruyne is everywhere, the outlet ball whenever his keeper and defenders have it, down the left, through the middle, dropping back to halfway only to accelerate off the defenders' shoulder.
45 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Three minutes' injury time are signalled for the time it took to treat Kimpembe.
44 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Brilliant from Ruben Dias to make a stooping headed clearance at the near post to send Florenzi's thunderbolt of a cross behind for a corner. Stones wins the header from the corner and City break. It's ridiculously end to end now.
43 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Slick City attack down the left with Foden and Mahrez. Fiden jinks away from challenges, lollipoping all the way with stepovers, slips it to Mahrez down the inside left but his shot is blocked by Marquinhos chucking himself in the road.
41 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Paredes intercepts Mahrez's casual pass across the D and heads forward where Fernandinho and Gundogan leave him tangled up in blue. When PSG break again, Stones stops the attack with the timeliest of tackles.
39 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
PSG are shading the possession 55-45. Neymar and Bernardo have a stand-off, chest to chest, plumage puffed up, when Bernardo trips him after feeling he had been caught in the face by Neymar.
37 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Good work from Diallo down the left to get between Walker and Stones with Di Maria occupying the centre-back. He rolls a pass back to Hererra 20 yards out and he wraps hos instep around a dipping shot that whistles over the bar and crashes into the hoardings with a thump.
35 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Neymar thinks about trying to take Walker on but decides to stop, turn and roll it back to Paredes and tehy go across field to Florenzi on the right. City press hard and push them all the way back to Navas.
33 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Florenzi bombs down the right to square a first-time cross across the 18-yard line. Di Maria dummies and lets the ball run, thinking Icardi was behind him, which he wasn't.
My friend Ben asks why there is no orange ball on this hail-strewn pitch. It's a fair point.
31 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
De Bruyne, 25 yards out, left of centre, tacks to his right then arcs a right-foot shot the wrong side of the right post and crossbar.
29 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Fine idea from Foden at the edge of the D to scoop a pas over Marquinhos and for De Bruyne running down the inside-left. PSG scramble back to work the ball out for a corner.
28 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
PSG break up the right and send Neymar into the box to shoot into Dias and when the ball pings around the box Herrera shuffles it out of play.
26 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Long spell of possession for City, probing away, the space between their defenders and forwards no more than 40 yards, squeezing the game.
24 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Plenty of space down the flanks for City because neither Neymar nor Di Maria are tracking back.
22 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
PSG players surrounding the referee again, protesting he's given the free-kick the wrong way when Herrera runs into Bernardo who stands his ground. Such is his ire with the decision that the former Manchester United player goes into the book.
20 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Di Maria misses a sitter after Kimpembe is hurt when challenging Stones in the City box, Stones making a decsiove header bit catching his opponent in the face with his arm. Ederson tries to get City going quickly but Gundogan wasn't expecting it, Di Maria strips it off him and, with 80 per cent of the goal unguarded because Ederson is way off to the right of his six-yard box, flashes a shot wide of the left post.
18 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Foden is infuriated to be penalised for handball when it came off his shoulder. PSG players are not so much lobbying the ref as pressganging him into blowing his whistle.
16 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Nothing's changed with the goal in that PSG still need to score three to win it outright and two to take it to pens.
City defend the corner but not the second header which is met by Marquinhos who steers it across goal, past Ederson but it shaves the top of the bar.
14 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Neymar falls over Gundogan's leg as he telescopes it out to try to prod it away. Free-kick, left of the D, 22 yards out. It's the mirror of the position from which Mahrez scored last week.
Neymar takes. Fernandinho leapt in the wall and flicked it over the bar.
11 min City 1 (3) PSG 0 (1)
Fantastic goal. Ederson chips a 70-yard pass into Zinchenko's path as the left-back stationed himself high on halfway. He raced past Florenzi, squared it across the 18-yard line to De Bruyne who side-footed a shot from 20 yards that was blocked but deflects to Mahrez following up from the right and he spears a n angle shot past Navas.
Man City 1 PSG 0 (Mahrez)
9 min City 0 (2) PSG 0 (1)
It wasn't the first strident appeal by PSG for a pen. Di Maria dived 30 seconds earlier, disgracefully. Then they went berserk for a touch of the shoulder. Never a penalty in a million years.
City have been stuck in their half for too long, though.
8 min City 0 (2) PSG 0 (1)
7 min City 0 (2) PSG 0 (1)
PSG awarded a penalty but it can't stand. It hit the top of Zinvhenko's shoulder.
6 min City 0 (2) PSG 0 (1)
Florenzi is picked out by another longish pass up the right. Foden has tracked him all the way but he still works the ball infield via Verratti to Neymar who flashes a shot straight into Stones who blocked bravely.
5 min City 0 (2) PSG 0 (1)
Diallo and Di Maria combine up the left to run beyond Walker. Across runs Ruben Dias to stab the ball out for a throw-in.
4 min City 0 (2) PSG 0 (1)
Neymar switches the ball from left to right but overhits it. Marquinhos had knocked it long up to him. Looks like they're going to be looking for 30-yard passes beyond Fernandinho to allow their runners to face up the City back four.
2 min City 0 (2) PSG 0 (1)
Fernandinho catches Di Maria on the toe, fractionally late and OSG are awarded a free-kick for this one just inside their own half.
1 min City 0 (2) PSG 0 (1)
Straight from the kick-off, PSg move it back to Florenzi. Foden steps on the right-back's foot but there's no foul awarded and City, instead, have a throw on halfway.
They have cleared the white lines
Of hailstones. Both teams are in their home kits. Pennants are being exchanged.
The players are in the tunnel
Ce sont les meilleures équipes
Es sind die allerbesten Mannschaften
The main event
Les grandes équipes
'It is Fernandinho’s birthday, it is my present,' says Pep Guardiola, tongue firmly in cheek.
They didn't even bake Yaya a cake.
Rio Ferdinand on Mbappe's absence
The referee is inspecting the pitch
But one presumes all is well. The drainage system will not have been skimped on.
Both teams in full
Manchester City Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko; Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Bernardo, Foden.
Substitutes Steffen, Carson, Ake, Sterling, Jesus, Aguero, Laporte, Rodrigo, Torres, Mendy, Cancelo.
PSG: Navas; Florenzi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Diallo; Herrera, Paredes; Di Maria, Verratti, Neymar; Icardi.
Substitutes Rico, Randriamamy, Kurzawa, Bakker, Dagba, Kehrer, Rafinha, Danilo, Draxler, Kean, Sarabia, Mbappe,
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Netherlands)
PSG Navas; Florenzi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Diallo; Herrera, Paredes; Di Maria, Verratti, Neymar; Icardi.
Substitutes Rico, Randriamamy, Kehrer, Mbappe, Rafinha, Danilo, Kean, Sarabia, Kurzawa, Draxler, Bakker, Dagba
Mbappe is only on the bench for PSG
That's a big loss.
City's starting XI
City make two changes
Fernandinho for Rodri, Zinchenko for Cancelo from the victorious starting XI in Paris.
Note, Mbappé's No7 shirt not on display, by design whether he's fit or not.
Wet and very windy at the Etihad tonight. Not like yesterday's deluge at the Hawthorns but pretty miserable if the forecast pans out ... which it never does since the day Bert Foord left the BBC, at least according to the late Terry Wogan.
Manchester City take a one-goal lead from last week's first leg victory at Parc des Princes over Paris Saint-Germain into tonight's second leg as they try to qualify for their first Champions League final and Pep Guardiola's first for 10 years since winning it for the second time with Barcelona as a manager (to add to the one he won as a player in 1992).
City have won a European semi-final before, 51 years ago, when they beat Schalke 5-1 at Maine Road after a 1-0 defeat in Gelsenkirchen to qualify for the Cup Winners' Cup final in Vienna. It was arguably the finest performance of the Mercer-Allison era, Mike Doyle wiped out the deficit, Neil Young scored twice before Frannie Lee and Colin Bell turned the screw on the West German Cup-holders.
PSG buckled under City's second-half swarm strategy in Paris last Wednesday and the home side are expected to be unchanged. PSG, however, have serious concerns about Kylian Mbappé and will leave a decision about whether he plays until the last moment. The World Cup-winner's calf injury kept him out of their 2-1 victory over Lens on Saturday and in pictures broadcast on French TV last night, he was pictured limping as he arrived at training yesterday.
"We need to assess Kylian, today he's going to start individual training session and see if he'll be with the team," Mauricio Pochettino said on Monday. "It's still one day, we didn't decide and we will see tomorrow."
Having suffered a 2-1 defeat in Paris last week, PSG know they must score at least twice on Tuesday if they are to stand any chance of heading to their second straight Champions League final.
Pochettino said he will not tweak PSG's formation - with or without Mbappé - but emphasised the importance of his team converting their counter-attacking opportunities.
"Tomorrow we must be ready to suffer and then be clinical and aggressive when we get chances," he said. "They have an advantage and we need to take risks, be brave, plan the game knowing City is a team that can manage different ways to play.
"We need to be clever, believe and show our quality on the pitch. It will be a battle but we will be ready." Pochettino's Spurs side scored three at the Etihad two years ago to knock City out on away goals at the quarter-final stage. They would need at least three goals to do that tonight, a tall order even with Mbappé.
Join us for the team news as soon as the announcements are made.