Kevin De Bruyne’s superb late strike sealed Manchester City’s place in their first Champions League semi-final with a 3-2 aggregate win over Paris Saint-Germain.
City were heading for victory on away goals by virtue of their 2-2 draw at the Parc des Princes last week, but De Bruyne settled the nerves and sparked wild celebrations at the Etihad Stadium when he curled a brilliant low effort beyond Kevin Trapp with 14 minutes remaining on Tuesday.
De Bruyne’s intervention made amends for Sergio Aguero’s missed penalty in the first half of a tense, evenly-matched contest that offered few chances to either side.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini opted to leave Yaya Toure out of his starting line-up and saw his decision vindicated as Brazilian anchorman Fernando was excellent and came through the test without a repeat of the error that saw him gift PSG a goal in the first leg.
French champions PSG, though, failed to show any of the attacking flair that has helped them dominate Ligue 1 this season and they exited the competition with a whimper, although Lucas Moura and Zlatan Ibrahimovic both had goals disallowed for offside.
However, that will not worry City, who go into the hat for Friday’s last-four draw in Nyon.
With David Luiz suspended, PSG coach Laurent Blanc switched to a back three and City sought to press them early, but the visitors soon settled into a rhythm and began to control the game.
Ibrahimovic, hunting his 40th goal of the season, drew a fingertip save from Joe Hart with a dipping, swerving free-kick after a quarter of an hour, before City twice went close through Aguero.
The home side seemed to shake off their early nerves as half-time approached and were given a chance to take the lead when Aguero went sprinting into the box, where he was felled by a poorly-timed tackle by Trapp.
Referee Carlos Velasco Carballo gave the penalty and booked the PSG keeper, but Aguero side-footed his spot-kick well wide, and PSG were let off the hook a second time in quick succession when Serge Aurier’s misplaced pass fell to Jesus Navas and the Spaniard fired off target.
Ibrahimovic stung Hart’s palms early in the second half with a powerful free-kick from 25 yards and PSG tried to lift the tempo of their game after a sluggish end to the first period.
Substitute Lucas had the ball in the net moments later only to see the effort ruled out for offside, and Tiago Silva’s downward header was well saved by Hart as Blanc’s team began a late push for a winner.
But with 15 minutes to go, City went forward and Gael Clichy’s cross found Fernando, who touched the ball to De Bruyne and the Belgian curled home an unstoppable shot from the edge of the box.
Ibrahimovic put the ball in the net in the dying minutes but the offside flag was raised and PSG were dumped out of the Champions League amid delirious celebrations from the home crowd.
Key Opta stats:
– Sergio Aguero has missed two of his last three penalties in the Champions League for Man City after scoring each of the previous five for them in the competition.
– Kevin De Bruyne has now had a hand in 27 goals in all competitions for Man City this season (15 goals, 12 assists) – a joint-high for the club alongside Aguero.
– PSG have been knocked out in the quarter-finals in each of their last four Champions League campaigns.
– City are only the fourth English side to reach the Champions League semi-finals since 2010-11 (Man Utd 2010-11, Chelsea 2011-12, Chelsea 2013-14).
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