If Pep Guardiola was uncertain of the activity for his Manchester Metropolis facet forward of their Champions League semi-final conflict with Paris Saint-Germain, he knew precisely what he had gotten himself into with the 15-minute mark for the primary leg.
The French champions had been fully electrical in the primary quarter, with Neymar specifically driving the town’s protection and the midfield damaged as he confirmed off his in depth repertoire of flicks and methods.
PSG took the lead early on towards Manchester Metropolis | Xavier Laine / Getty Photographs
Unnecessary to say, he was supplied a “tough” therapy from the Metropolis backline as they regarded to restrict his enjoyable, however it’s no use focusing all of your efforts on Neymar when Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria pull the strings. the opposite your again is turned.
Guardiola will little doubt have been livid at how Metropolis conceded their opening purpose of the recreation, as Ilkay Gundogan fully ignored his defensive duties when he allowed Marquinhos a free-kick within the field earlier than Di Maria’s head.
With simply over quarter-hour on the clock, it already began to appear to be an train for harm limitation for the guests, and in all honesty should you had supplied Guardiola a 1-0 loss at the moment, he would in all probability have snapped your hand off.
Whereas Metropolis managed to create a few probabilities of their very own in the primary 45 minutes, each side went in the direction of the interval with solely a outcome that regarded doubtless, and when Neymar got here out for the second half with a cheeky grin on his face, you feared the worst for the guests.
Properly, so we thought anyway.
Rodri helped rework the recreation | BSR Company / Getty Photographs
Guardiola’s facet emerged within the second half and regarded like a totally totally different crew and – aside from the occasional tempo from Mbappe – the architects of Metropolis’s downfall in the primary half had been nowhere to be seen.
As an alternative, Metropolis continued to develop ahead, creating wave after strain wave. Though PSG can have extra world-class people who can deal with moments of brilliance, Metropolis proved to be a world-class crew of the 2 and in the long run they had been rewarded.
Firsty, Kevin De Bruyne’s swinging cross tricked the PSG again line and Keylor Navas fully earlier than he sailed into the highest nook, earlier than Riyad Mahrez’s inexplicable slide by the dwelling crew’s wall and into the online.
One in all the foremost causes behind Metropolis’s dominance within the second half was that they lastly managed to achieve a foothold on the ball and lynchpin Rodri in midfield was the important thing to their efforts.
The previous Atletico Madrid man has obtained too little criticism since shifting to the Premier League, though he was distinctive on the Parc des Princes and his capacity to carry the ball and forestall PSG from rising steady strain waves was essential for Metropolis’s second half display screen. ,
Manchester Metropolis got here from behind to beat PSG 2-1 | Alex Grimm / Getty Photographs
Who would have thought to not let Neymar get the ball was the important thing to stopping him from enjoying?
The Brazilian barely obtained a kick within the second 45’s, and his declining affect on the recreation brought on a domino impact as Mbappe and Di Maria additionally struggled to affect the process. Once more, who would have thought stopping a crew’s greatest gamers was the option to cease them from enjoying nicely?
Clearly there’s way more to it than simply sitting right here and saying “nicely, cease Neymar enjoying then”, however the actual fact is that Metropolis’s crew play dominated PSG’s people.
Guardiola’s males had been towards it within the French capital, however they confirmed that that they had the abdomen for the battle and got here out swinging, whereas PSG simply didn’t just like the battle, and that angle appears to price them their dream of European success.