Can PSG’s star power deny City’s first final? | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 04, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:31 AM, May 04, 2021

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Can PSG’s star power deny City’s first final?

With Istanbul firmly in their sights, Manchester City gear up for the second leg of their Champions League semi-final showdown with Paris Saint-Germain at the Etihad on Tuesday night.

After a loss in the first leg, PSG will have to do much more in the rematch to eliminate City and prevent them from appearing in their first-ever final.

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An exemplary second-half showing from Pep Guardiola's men saw them emerge 2-1 winners from last week's first leg at the Parc des Princes, during which Marquinhos's header was cancelled out by strikes from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez.

Both sides boosted their chances of domestic success at the weekend, as Man City overcame Crystal Palace 2-0 and are mere inches away from yet another Premier League title and may well win the league crown next weekend while PSG kept their title hopes alive with a 2-1 win over Lens.

Both teams have exceptional players in their ranks but Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said earlier this season 'We don't have a specific player to win games,' to explain his side's consistency in a more congested season than ever before. "We have to do it together."

City's strength as a collective was evidenced in Saturday's 2-0 win at Crystal Palace that took them to the brink of a third Premier League title in four years.

City's depth won out over PSG's stardust in the first leg. After a bright first 45 minutes, Neymar and Mbappe were reduced to frustrated spectators as the visitors dominated possession and got their vital away goals from De Bruyne and Mahrez.

Keeping the ball will key to Guardiola's plan for the second leg on Tuesday to minimise PSG's threat on the counter-attack. "We are good playing in a certain way, we cannot do it another way," said the Catalan coach on how his side cut off the supply to Neymar and Mbappe in the second-half a week ago.

Mbappe alone has scored five goals in PSG's last two away trips to Guardiola's former clubs Barcelona and Bayern. But with the French World Cup winner an injury doubt due to a calf strain, the much-maligned PSG supporting cast may need to step up if they are to deny City a first ever Champions League final as reward for their careful squad construction over many seasons.

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