It is advantage Manchester City after the 2-2 draw last night at the Parc des Princes. In a crazy open game for a European tie, Paris Saint-Germain came from behind to lead 2-1 only to scupper it 20 minutes from time.
Both sides were intent on attacking which left gaping holes at the back. Both defences were jittery throughout and as a result it created a frenetic spectacle
Coach Laurent Blanc made a massive call pre-match by starting Serge Aurier at right-back. The Ivorian had not played for the first-team since the middle of February against Lille. His name was greeted with a mixture of cheers and whistles as it was announced over the PR system prior to the game. In hindsight, starting him was a mistake. He was rusty and it cost us, especially for City’s equaliser at 2-2, which he was at fault for.
Another surprise was Edinson Cavani starting ahead of Lucas Moura. In what was an open game, it was tailor made for the little Brazilian to do his thing. Edi did OK but nowhere near enough to frighten the visitors. Again – in hindsight – the gaffer may think he made a mistake.
For the neutral, the game was fast paced, full of action and a great advert for the competition. You have to give City all the credit in the world. Sure, their defence was not great but neither was ours. And they came to play football! You have to admire them for that and as a result, they have two massive away goals.
They took the lead via Kevin De Bruyne after they won possession in the middle of the park. Their quickness took us by surprise, especially David Luiz who got his body shape all-wrong as City poured forward. The Belgian finished with aplomb to stun the Parc.
Thankfully for us, they shot themselves in the foot. Joe Hart, who had saved a Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty at 0-0, played the ball out to Fernando who inadvertently kicked the ball of Ibra’s leg into an empty net. Had that not happened, the former Premier League champions would have probably headed into the break a goal up.
We had a number of chances. Ibra missed a golden one after getting in behind the defence but blazed over the bar. It was Adrien Rabiot who completed the turnaround with a tap in at the back post following a save from Hart via Cavani’s header.
We dictated the possession from then on in. City always looked a threat on the break but nothing to be overly concerned about.
Then Aurier’s lackadaisical play resulted in them breaking and Fernandinho bundled the ball home past Kevin Trapp in what was a scruffy yet vital goal for the complexion of the tie.
We faded after that. The Citizens looked as if they could net a winner and the belief was certainly growing within Manuel Pellegrini’s men.
We head to Manchester under the cosh, especially as David Luiz and more importantly Blaise Matudi are suspended for the second-leg as a result of their yellow cards during the game. Plus, with the likes of Marco Verratti and Javier Pastre battling fitness, we could be rather depleted heading into next Tuesday’s return.
This was a below par display from the French champions. Worryingly, we gave the ball away ever so cheaply which is unlike us, as well as the lack of energy in the ranks after MCFC made it 2-2.
If we are to make it into the last-four, a big improvement is needed at the Etihad next week.