Manchester City have reached the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in club’s history as they have knocked out French champions Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 on aggregate.
The talismanic Belgian was the hero for Manchester City at Etihad on Tuesday night as the former Chelsea forward scored a wonderful goal in the closing stages of the game to seal Manchester City’s win in the second leg and to book their place in the Champions League last four.
Citizens have been the outright winners of the quarter-final two-legged tie and their victory came as a reward for a dominant performance against disbanded French champions, who end their European path in disappointing fashion after an uninspiring performance against the Premier League outfit.
Manchester City headed into the game with great desire and were given great opportunity to take the lead in the first half when goalkeeper Kevin Trapp brought Sergio Aguero down for a penalty.
PSG shot-stopper was shown a yellow card and visitors would have considered themselves lucky not to see their keeper being given marching orders.
Luck was on PSG’s side once more as the Argentine striker drove his shot wide of the post leaving the tie wide open into the second half.
Without the suspended defender David Luiz, PSG manager Laurent Blanc decided to go with three man in the backline and opted not to change his mind following 45 minutes of constant pressing from Manchester City.
French champions were unable to demonstrate the slightest bit of their immense attack potential that got them through the Ligue 1 season with such an ease.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic did his best to try and get on the scoresheet and his powerful free-kick was the one thing that was worth mentioning from PSG’s first-half display.
The towering Swede continued to test Joe Hart’s composure in the second half as well as the PSG striker had a great attempt from another free-kick, but Manchester City goalkeeper was once again spot on with his intervention to deny Zlatan Ibrahimovic his 40th goal of the season.
Heading into the game on the back of vocal critics pointed towards his defense line, Manuel Pellegrini opted to rest Vincent Kompany despite the reports claiming that City captain could be called upon despite having just returned to training.
Citizen’s backline held pretty well in the return leg, not allowing PSG players to go near to Hart’s goal.
However, England goalkeeper was forced to pull the ball back from his net in two occasions with Paris Saint-Germain having two of their goals disallowed through offside positions.
Substitute Lucas’ effort was first called offside as Laurent Blanc’s men started pushing for a stunner at the Etihad stadium, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s dying-moment effort was also called offside as PSG were left powerless to catch Manuel Pellegrini’s men.
Switched in between these two PSG’s disallowed goals was Kevin De Bruyne’s moment of brilliance.
With 15 minutes from time Gael Clichy send in a cross for Fernando, who touched the ball to De Bruyne only for the Belgian to curl in a brilliantly placed shot from the edge of the box and score a winner that sent Manchester City through to the Champions League semi-finals.
Manchester City have thus become the tenth English side to participate in the Champions League semis and they remain the only Premier League side fighting to keep the English flag up high among the Europe’s best.
MANCHESTER CITY: Hart 7.5 – Sagna 6.5, Otamendi 7, Mangala 7, Clichy 7.5 – Fernandinho 7.5, Fernando 7 – Navas 6.5, De Bruyne 8 (Yaya Toure 6), Silva 7 (Delph 6) – Aguero 7.5 (Iheanacho 6).
Unused subs: Bony, Caballero, Kolarov, Zabaleta.
PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN: Trapp 6.5 – Aurier 6.5 (Pastore 6), Silva 7, Marquinhos 7 – van der Wiel 6, Rabiot 7, Motta 6 (Lucas 6.5), Di Maria 6, Maxwell 7 – Ibrahimovic 7, Cavani 6.
Unused subs: Kimpembe Kurzawa, Ongenda, SIrigu, Stambouli.
REFEREE: Carlos Velasco
Other results this evening:
Real Madrid 3-0 Wolfsburg
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to send his team straight into the Champions League semi-finals and earn Real Madrid a morale boosting comeback win following the disappointing 2-0 loss in the first leg against Wolfsburg in Germany.
Bundesliga outfit were unable to protect the healthy lead as the Wolves were crushed by inspired Portuguese star, who bagged 16 goals in ten Champions League appearances this season.
Following a close-range effort and a header in the first half, Ronaldo scored a wonderful free-kick for a remarkable turnaround from the ten-time Champions of Europe, who remain on course to save what until recently seemed like a lost season for Zinedine Zidane’s men.