On 4 May 2021 Manchester City reached the final of the Champions League for the first time in their history when they defeated Paris St Germain 2-0 with both goals from Mahrez. The first leg had ended with a 2-1 City win. This meant Manchester became only the second non-capital city to have had two teams reach a European Cup final. Manchester was of course the first British city to have two teams competing in the European Cup in the same season (1968-69).
Manager Pep Guardiola was somewhat pleased to say the least: ‘I’m incredibly proud and my first thoughts are with the players who didn’t play today. They all deserved to play, everyone has made a contribution and now it is time to enjoy it. We have to win the league and we have two or three weeks to prepare for the final.
‘They put a lot of players in the middle and we struggled a lot in the first half to high press and we changed at half-time. We recovered the ball better in the second half and we were much better in the way we played and 4-1 on aggregate against a team that beat Barcelona and Bayern Munich means a lot to us.
‘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.’
The game was played in unseasonal snow but the brilliant Riyad Mahrez was able to adapt well, scoring from a move started by goalkeeper Ederson’s 60-yard pass.
There had been a bit of a scare for City when a penalty was awarded to PSG for a handball by Oleksandr Zinchenko but it was correctly overturned. Phew!
Mahrez netted his second of the night just after the hour when he turned in Phil Foden’s cross at the far post to effectively end the tie.
PSG once again lost their discipline (Idrissa Gueye was sent off late in the first leg) and former United man Angel di Maria was shown a red card for a senseless stamp on Fernandinho.
City were in full control and you can watch highlights here:
That night was remarkable and several records were established:
- City broke the record for longest winning run by an English club in European Cup history (7)
- They became the first English side to win 11 games in a single European Cup/Champions League campaign (they are one off equalling Real Madrid’s record of 12 games)
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