Manchester City is heading to the Champions League final for the first time. The English top club with Kevin De Bruyne in the ranks defeated Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 in the semi-finals.
The first half of the semi-final of the champions ball looked more like an episode of yesterday evening Dancing on Ice. It had hailed in Manchester. As if the weather gods wanted to say, “It’s going to be shaking tonight.”
Pep Guardiola had also warned his players. “There will be times when we will suffer,” said the Catalan before the match against Paris Saint-Germain. Indeed, City shivered for peace. Already the first time after five minutes. After a cross from Diallo, the ball fell on the shoulder of City left back Zinchenko. The Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers pointed to the spot, but a few seconds later was whistled back by the VAR. City breathed a sigh of relief.
City was not itself
Four minutes later it was price on the other side. With a long ball that would make an average playmaker in the Jupiler Pro League jealous, goalkeeper Ederson sent Zinchenko into the depths. With a sprint of more than fifty meters, Kevin De Bruyne also rushed to the other side to offer Zinchenko an opportunity to start. Zinchenko liked KDB. It was Parisian Mahrez – also good for a goal in the first leg – who pushed in the rebound on De Bruyne’s shot.
For PSG, the assignment remained the same: score twice to get extensions out of the fire. The Parisians continued to pressure the home team. City shivered a number of times because it mainly played with fire itself. After Di Maria had been allowed to cross too easily, Marquinhos headed the crossbar. Moments later, Di Maria also kicked just wide after Bernardo Silva lost the ball too easily after a quick throw from Ederson.
City was not itself. Barely 44 percent possession of the ball before half time: that is very little for a team that has an average of 64 percent this season. Halfway through the first half, the English did restore the balance. The visitors still had possession of the ball, but they were less and less able to embarrass the home team.
That the sting was removed from the game of PSG was partly due to Kevin De Bruyne. There was no star role for rest for the Red Devil. And yet he played an important role before halftime. “For the last two years, Kevin has been the most important playmaker in the world of football,” Roberto Martinez said last week. “He sets the pace in every match.”
He did the same against PSG. As false nine left KDB regularly sag to the free space at the side. Ask a ball, keep up with the ball, annoy the opponent, let the team mates join in and play just at the right time. Imposing a slow pace is also an art.
Even after the break, it was logically Paris Saint-Germain that took matters in hand. City went through the match and waited for that one moment, that one class flash to make the match completely dead.
PSG kept looking for the hole, but as a result gave away more and more space on the other side. Space that you should not give City. After a good counter, De Bruyne sent Foden into the depth with a measured pass. It was again Mahrez who was the assist from The Stockport Iniesta pushed in at the far post. Mission accomplished.
Red for Di Maria
After the 2-0 frustration arose at PSG. The Parisians even broke their own windows. After a throw-in for PSG, an exasperated Di Maria stepped outside the lines completely on the foot of the notably year old Fernandinho. The Argentinian was allowed to visit the showers twenty minutes before time.
After the red card for Di Mari, it became an impossible task for PSG. In the meantime, there was little talk of football. After a new disturbance, Zinchenko and Verrati van Kuipers also received a yellow card. Moments later, De Bruyne, just like in the first leg, also got a yellow card for a pushing foul. Five minutes later it was allowed KDB go to rest. More important competitions await in the coming weeks.
Finally great moments
In recent years, De Bruyne’s trophy cabinet at Manchester City has become quite full. Two titles, an FA Cup, five League Cups and two Supercups? But the most beautiful trophy, the one with the big ears, was not there until now. The closest was De Bruyne in his first season with the Citizens. Then stranded in the semi-finals against Real Madrid.
The Red Devils – stranded in the quarter and semi-finals in the last two major tournaments – got long chokers mentioned. Choking in English means as much as failure at great moments. In the case of De Bruyne, that is allowed for– have long since been left out. Is in Manchester Kev just king. With the final on May 29 in Istanbul King Kev now also ready for the ultimate crown.
If Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois also qualify for the final with Real Madrid at the expense of Chelsea tonight, we will have to deal with a Belgian winner of the Champions League at the end of May. And then the European Championship has yet to come.