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Man. City 2-0 Paris: Mahrez double makes history

Man. City reached their first UEFA Champions League final thanks to two Riyad Mahrez goals.

Highlights: Man. City 2-0 Paris (2 mins)

It was a landmark night for Manchester City as Riyad Mahrez scored twice to send them to a maiden UEFA Champions League final with a 4-1 aggregate success over Paris.

Match as it happened, reaction

Match in brief

Riyad Mahrez puts Manchester City 1-0 up
Riyad Mahrez puts Manchester City 1-0 upManchester City FC via Getty Ima

Paris were positive early on but that proved their downfall as they were caught out by Ederson's long pass. Oleksandr Zinchenko latched on to it and found Kevin De Bruyne, whose blocked shot fell nicely for Riyad Mahrez to sweep in. The visitors responded, though, with Marquinhos heading against the bar and Ángel Di María firing just wide from distance.

Josep Guardiola's side had to dig deep after the interval with Zinchenko denying Neymar and Rúben Dias thwarting Ander Herrera before another clinical counterattack finished the job. De Bruyne led the break and released Phil Foden, who slid the ball across for Mahrez to write his name into City folklore. Di María's red card soon after summed up a disappointing night for Mauricio Pochettino's visitors.

Player of the Match: Rúben Dias (Manchester City)

Rúben Dias highlights and reaction

"He showed outstanding leadership and defensive organisation. He played the game securely and made numerous important tackles, blocks and clearances."
Gareth Southgate, UEFA Technical Observer

Check out every official UEFA Champions League Man of the Match.

Matthew Howarth, Man. City reporter

City still had a job to do after laying the foundations in Paris and they rose to the occasion magnificently once again, defending superbly throughout before hitting the visitors with two clinical counterattacks. A first European final in 51 years awaits, and after sailing through the knockout stages with a 100 per cent record they will surely fancy their chances of lifting the trophy later this month.

Chris Burke, Paris reporter

So thrilling away to Barcelona and Bayern, Paris finally met their match here. City's collective effort and understanding was a level above and the French team ultimately stumbled out of the competition without ever threatening to turn the tie around, their best moments of possession typically leading nowhere. A night of passive play and wasteful touches ended with the black mark of another red card, suggesting Paris still have some way to go to meet the toughest psychological challenges in Europe.

Manchester City enjoy their opening goal
Manchester City enjoy their opening goalUEFA via Getty Images


Riyad Mahrez, Man. City midfielder: "We didn't have a good first half but we got the goal and we were more comfortable. We played well second half and we could have scored more. It wasn't the game plan to counterattack but they had to come at us and that's how the two goals came about. We have another game on Saturday, we need to win to be league champions and then we'll concentrate on the Champions League final."

Josep Guardiola, Man. City manager: "It is for all of us and the club. I'm incredibly proud. To win 4-1 on aggregate against a team that beat Barcelona and Bayern means a lot to us. We fought together and we're in the final of the Champions League and those are nice words. People believe it's easy to arrive in the final of the Champions League. Getting to the final now makes sense of what we have done in the past four or five years. Every day these guys have been consistent and this is remarkable."

Marco Verratti, Paris midfielder: "We can look each other in the eyes having tried everything. When you play against big teams, it's impossible to attack for 90 minutes without suffering. We have to accept that. Today we played with a lot of personality. City deserve this because they've been working with the same coach for six or seven years and this will be their first final. But we have to praise our run because in two years we've reached the final and the semi-finals. We have to continue."

Key stats

• In the history of the European Cup/UEFA Champions League, there have been 48 instances of an English side winning the first game of a two-legged knockout tie away from home – they have progressed on every occasion.

• City have won their last seven matches in the competition, breaking the record for the longest winning run by an English team in European Cup/UEFA Champions League history.

• Mahrez scored two goals in a UEFA Champions League game for the first time since his debut in the competition, for Leicester versus Club Brugge in September 2016.

• Mahrez became the outright highest scoring Algerian player in the UEFA Champions League, his ninth goal – the opener in this match – taking him past Yacine Brahimi.

• Paris have only kept two clean sheets in their last 13 UEFA Champions League games and have conceded in each of their last eight in the competition.

Manchester City players react after reaching the final
Manchester City players react after reaching the finalIcon Sport via Getty Images


Man. City: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Rúben Dias, Zinchenko; Fernandinho, Gündoğan; Mahrez, Bernardo Silva (Sterling 82), Foden (Agüero 85); De Bruyne (Jesus 82)

Paris: Navas; Florenzi (Dagba 75), Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Diallo (Bakker 83); Paredes (Danilo 75), Herrera (Draxler 62); Di María, Verratti, Neymar; Icardi (Kean 62)

What's next?

City need just one win from their final four matches to seal a third Premier crown in four seasons before they take on Chelsea or Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final in Istanbul on 29 May.