A 72nd-minute equaliser from Fernandinho grabbed Manchester City a 2-2 draw against Paris Saint-Germain after an absorbing first leg to their quarter-final Champions League tie.
After Joe Hart saved Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s early penalty, the visitors struck first at the Parc des Princes when Kevin De Bruyne finished off a quick counter-attack, thrashing a shot beyond PSG goalkeeper Kevin Trapp to register his 14th goal of the season.
However, a shocking error from Fernando gifted Ibrahimovic an equaliser, the Swede’s attempt to block a pass ending up in the net to make amends for his earlier profligacy.
Adrien Rabiot put PSG ahead when tapping home from close range after the hour, but Fernandinho made the most of a lucky break inside the box to grab Manuel Pellegrini’s men what could be a crucial draw in the French capital.
With two away goals, Manchester City – playing in the last eight for the first time in their history – hold the upper hand ahead of the second leg, particularly as yellow cards for Blaise Matuidi and David Luiz mean the duo are suspended for the return fixture in England.
Both PSG players were involved in two penalty appeals in an action-packed first half.
While Matuidi’s fall inside the area after colliding with France team-mate Eliaquim Mangala was ruled as accidental by referee Milorad Mazic, Luiz was awarded a spot kick after enticing an ill-judged challenge from Bacary Sagna.
However, Ibrahimovic’s attempt was was kept out by Hart, who dived low to his right to turn the ball aside for a corner.
The forward also fluffed his lines when again facing up to Hart – back in action after suffering a calf injury in the Manchester derby on March 20 – in the 24th minute, sending a curling effort over the top when put clean through by Rabiot.
City were far more clinical on the counter in the 38th minute. Fernando robbed possession from Rabiot in the centre circle, allowing Fernandinho to set up De Bruyne for the opening goal.
But, having done so well for his side’s goal, Fernando gifted PSG an equaliser three minutes later. Dealing with a goal-kick, the midfielder’s casual attempt to play a square pass on the edge of his own area was blocked into the open net by Ibrahimovic, with Hart in no position to make a save.
The England goalkeeper was in the right place to keep out a flicked header from Edinson Cavani in the second half – only for the rebound to break perfectly for Rabiot to tap into the net in the 59th minute.
City needed the woodwork to keep out a looping headed effort from Ibrahimovic before not one but two lucky breaks at the other end led to their equaliser.
A low cross from Sagna was touched by a stretching Serge Aurier – playing his first game since being punished for insulting manager Laurent Blanc and a number of team-mates on Periscope in February – onto Thiago Silva, with the deflections setting up Fernandinho to scuff home an equaliser.
There were to be no more goals in an enthralling encounter, with City heading into next week’s return at the Etihad Stadium holding the advantage.
Key Opta stats:
– Joe Hart is the only goalkeeper to save two penalties in the Champions League this season (two faced) and has saved each of his last three penalties in the CL.
– David Luiz was booked after 12 seconds, the quickest yellow in the Champions League this season and the fastest since 2003-04.
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored in five consecutive Champions League games for the third time in his career (he also did it in February 2012 with Milan and February 2014 with PSG).
– Paris Saint-Germain have lost only one of their last 39 home games in European competition (W25 D13), that was against Barcelona in April 2015.
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