Manchester City took a step closer to the Champions League final on Wednesday evening with an impressive 2-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the semi-final in the first leg.
On the hunt for the trophy they so desperately crave, Pep Guardiola’s squad came from behind to take a major advantage back to the Etihad for the return.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Ligue 1 giants are heading to England next week with everything to do and here, Sportsmail looks at the things we’ve learned from part one in France and, maybe where the last four draws can be won or lost …
Manchester City took a step closer to the Champions League final with a 2-1 win over PSG
PSG’s defensive issues emerge
It all started so well for PSG with captain Marquinhos giving them the lead in the 15th minute.
While attackers Kylian Mbappé and Neymar were trapped in the city’s defenses, PSG’s defensive limitations were evident.
First PSG No. 1 Keylor Navas failed to cover himself in glory when a cross from Kevin De Bruyne somehow made its way to the back of his net. The former Real Madrid goalkeeper expected a touch that never came, allowing the ball to go straight in.
Keylor Navas (L) did not cover himself in glory when somehow a cross from Kevin De Bruyne went in
Less than 10 minutes later, PSG’s wall crumbled, giving Riyad Mahrez City the lead on a tame free kick.
Presnel Kimpembe and Leandro Paredes jumped sideways instead of looking straight into the blow, which left a gaping hole for Mahrez’s attempt to travel through.
Former City goalkeeper Joe Hart slammed PSG players for not doing their job, while fellow BT Sport pundit Owen Hargreaves insisted Mahrez’s’ game was’ terrible ‘.
‘Of course instinct is to get out of the way, but you have to fight against that on the field. They didn’t do their job and they lost the game, ”Hart said BT Sport.
Less than 10 minutes later, PSG’s wall crumbled, allowing Riyad Mahrez to put City in the lead
‘They let in human nature and did not stand up for their team. It is almost impossible to save it.
“You know from the trajectory of the ball that you can breathe a sigh of relief when it hits the wall. But are [Navas’] response time is almost nil. He would assume it was handled. ‘
Hargreaves added: ‘It’s actually a terrible free kick from Mahrez, but it looked more complicated than it was. That ball must never reach the goal. ‘
Kylian Mbappé will be on fire
Kylian Mbappé has been through a night to forget and he will be more determined than ever to make up for a disappointing performance in the second leg next week.
The 22-year-old was expected to be dazzling, as he did in the Bayern Munich quarter-final, but was well below par, receiving a rating of just 3/10 – the lowest from the PSG side – by the French newspaper The team.
The striker failed to shoot a single shot at goal for the first time in a Champions League match.
His impact on the match was so minimal that he collected just 30 touches in 90 minutes. Even City goalkeeper Ederson managed to make 31 touches.
While City’s defenses of Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, John Stones and Joao Cancelo were strong at wiping out Mbappe’s pace and skill, the Frenchman was not there and will want to rectify that.
Kylian Mbappé has been through a night to forget and he will be determined to make up for it next week
Exposed the weaknesses of the city on the corners
City has by far the best defensive record in the Premier League and their commanding defensive unit kept Neymar and Co quiet.
However, there was a sign of vulnerability at corners. Marquinhos headed home with ease from an Angel Di Maria set piece in the opening stages of the match.
The PSG skipper was allowed to run to the first post far too easily and threw the ball past Ederson after finding space between Cancelo and Dias.
PSG captain Marquinhos was allowed to score too easily from a corner kick from Angel Di Maria
City used a combination of zonal and hand-to-hand marking, but their players were just bystanders when Marquinhos got his head on the ball.
Guardiola’s side conceded the fewest goals from the set pieces in England’s top flight this season. But there is a glimpse they could be in danger if faced with a dead ball next week. PSG has an area they can focus on.
Riyad Mahrez starts a shift
City winger Mahrez was the match winner after De Bruyne let him take the free kick that sealed the victory over PSG, but he also did more than his part for the team.
BT Sport co-commentator Jermaine Jenas highlighted Mahrez’s impressive work speed after Algerian international tackled Neymar in his own box.
Not normally associated with the defensive side of the game, Mahrez rushed and harassed the opposition all night, leading from the front with City’s press.
The 30-year-old has been a key player for City in the Champions League this season, providing two assists and scoring two goals in their last four games in Europe.
There is no doubt about his skill with the ball in the last third, but it was his work without possession that did not go unnoticed at the Parc des Princes.
Riyad Mahrez (R) not only scored the winning goal, but also contributed to the team and worked hard
Marquinhos emerges … again
A quality of a good captain is to lead by example and the PSG skipper does just that on the biggest stage of all.
The 26-year-old scored his third Champions League goal this season to free his side in the first leg.
The Brazilian scored in their 3-1 group stage win over Manchester United and took an essential goal in their 3-2 win over Bayern Munich in the first leg of their quarter-final. Marquinhos was sidelined a week later for their 1-0 defeat to the Bundesliga squad.
He’s the man for the big occasion. The defender scored in the last eight and the semi-finals against Atalanta and RB Leipzig respectively on his way to the Champions League final last season.
Marquinhos has called on his PSG teammates to show a ‘warrior mentality’ to turn things around in the second leg and it should come as no surprise if he’s the one leading the siege.
Brazilian defender Marquinhos performed again on the big stage and scored the opener
Phil Foden fits right in
A graduate of the city academy, Foden showed his worth in the £ 1 billion contest.
Under the embarrassment of the wealth on display on Wednesday night, it was their young midfielder, who cost City absolutely nothing, who proved he can succeed at the highest level.
The 20-year-old England international has seized the opportunity that Guardiola has given him this season and has not looked back. The manager has nurtured the talented individual and how City is now reaping the rewards.
Phil Foden, a graduate of the city academy, proved on Wednesday that he can make it at the highest level
Ex-City defender Joleon Lescott insisted that Foden de Bruyne lead as the key player on City’s squad ahead of their 2-1 win.
“I would say Phil is the most important player on the team,” said Lescott BT Sport.
‘In the club, you would say Kevin De Bruyne, he has the contract to suggest that, but in terms of current form and impact in matches, Phil Foden is the most important player for me.
Foden produced another impressive left flank screen in the £ 1 billion game in France
“He contributes so much to the team moving forward, his energy, he leads the line at a working pace of the ball and his quality in possession is second to none.”
Foden, who has scored 14 goals and provided nine assists in 45 games this season, made another impressive performance on the left flank.
Add unfazed to the case that Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate should start him on the euro this summer.