Man City reach first ever Champions League final as Pep Guardiola drought ends

Manchester City ended more than half a century of European hurt to storm into the first Champions League final in their history.

Pep Guardiola's men broke with tradition to emerge triumphant from another breathless and bonkers knockout tie after brushing aside 10-man Paris Saint Germain at the Etihad.

Two goals from Riyad Mahrez and a red card for Angel Di Maria sealed the biggest win of Guardiola's City reign, to set up a showpiece showdown with either Chelsea or Real Madrid in Istanbul on May 29.

In the process, City made it seven straight wins to break the record for the longest winning run by an English side in the European Cup and book a place in their first European final since 1970.

Now, a decade on from the last time he lifted the biggest prize in club football with Barcelona, Guardiola will get the chance to do so again with the club which has invested so much cash and confidence in him leading them to their 'Holy Grail'.

Guardiola made two changes to the team that triumphed in Paris last week, but the big news was that Mauricio Pochettino's men started without Kylian Mbappe due to a calf problem.

Mbappe's started on the bench and his absence was a huge blow, but City's Champions League history had been littered with so many disappointments before, that no one in the home camp was taking anything for granted.

This was a night that required heads cooler than the unseasonal weather before kick off, when a furious blizzard of hailstones had left the pitch covered in white.

But it became a frantic and frenzied clash from start to finish, which ended with PSG imploding for the second time in a week.

City had a scare inside seven minutes, when referee Bjorn Kuipers thought Oleksandr Zinchenko had handled Abdou Diallo's cross and pointed to the spot, but changed his mind when VAR showed it had struck his shoulder.

Moments later the hosts took the lead when Ederson's wonderful pass released Zinchenko down the left and when he picked out Kevin De Bruyne and his shot was blocked, Mahrez pounced on the loose ball to squeeze it past Keylor Navas from a tight angle.

It was greeted with delirium on the City bench and even the paramedics were out of their seats. But it made little difference because PSG still needed two goals.

And they could have got them within the next few minutes when Marquinhos headed against the crossbar, before Bernardo Silva was robbed of possession close to his own box with Ederson nowhere to be seen, but Di Maria missed the open goal.

The longer the game went on and PSG realised there was no way through the light blue wall of Ruben Dias and John Stones, the more desperate and deluded they became.

The City duo were sensational to prove the old adage that strikers might score goals, but defences win titles.

Pochettino had insisted he wouldn't have to ask NASA to ignite his stars with a rocket of motivation ahead of this crunch semi-final, but was left grounded when Mahrez sealed the win on 63 minutes.

It was too much for PSG to take and Di Maria saw red for stamping on Fernandinho that sparked an ugly melee and saw Pochettino confronting Kuipers on the pitch.

Guardiola looked on knowing the job had been done, to leave him one more win from reaching the promised land he feared he might never find.

Source: Read Full Article