Man City 2-0 PSG: Mahrez double books City a place in first ever champions league final appearance (Match highlights)
|Riyad Mahrez side footed City in front on the night on their way to a 2-0 win and a 4-1 aggregate to book a first ever final appearance for the Citizens. (Photo credit: Getty Images)|
Was it ever in doubt? Maybe at some quarters after it was in the news that legendary football manager, Sir Alex Ferguson visited the PSG camp just before the game and many thought he went to offer ideas on how the French club can best City.
Pep Guardiola after the full time whistle went off at the Etihad, sought after Ferran Soriano, he knew they’re almost there after years of near misses and hurtful failures especially at points they were clear favorites.
It has not been plain sailing in this competition during Soriano's nine years at the Etihad and Guardiola's five, but that knowing look from the manager to the CEO said it all -- City are now one step from achieving their ultimate dream of lifting the European Cup following a comfortable 2-0 win.
For it to be mission accomplished for City, Guardiola, Soriano and, of course, owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, they will have to beat Chelsea or Real Madrid in Istanbul next month to win the Champions League for the first time.
But City had never gone beyond the semifinals before -- they lost 1-0 on aggregate against Real Madrid under Manuel Pellegrini in their only previous appearance at this stage in 2016 -- so they have broken new ground by reaching the final.
This is a club, of course, which was initially banned from this season's Champions League by UEFA for breaking Financial Fair Play rules. City successfully overturned the ban on appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, so if they win the competition next month, they will regard it as a double triumph having won off the pitch as well as on it.
City have certainly had to take their medicine over the years in this competition, though. In their early assaults on the Champions League, they struggled to get beyond the group stage and when they eventually did, found themselves eliminated two years running in humbling defeats against Barcelona in the Round of 16.
The man hired by Sheikh Mansour to deliver the Champions League just seemed unable to reproduce his Barcelona magic.
Borussia Dortmund then gave City a scare before falling by the wayside in the quarters and then came PSG -- conquerors of reigning champions Bayern Munich in the last round and led by the superstar duo of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Mahrez, born on the outskirts of Paris, scored three of City's four goals in the tie and his brace in this game will go down in the club's history as the one which secured a first-ever Champions League final.
City's back-four was outstanding, summer signing Ruben Dias starring and left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko enjoying his best performance for the club in their biggest game.
His run and cross in the build-up to Mahrez's opening goal set the tone for City's victory.
Mahrez's second was at the end of another breakaway, with the Algerian converting Phil Foden's cross from close range, and the 2-0 margin could have been far greater.