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Five Things We Learned: Paris Saint Germain 1-2 Manchester City (Champions League Semi-Final)

Manchester City came back in spectacular fashion, from an early goal down to win 2-1 in the French capital on Wednesday night against Mauricio Pochettino's Paris Saint-Germain.

Manchester City came back in spectacular fashion, from an early goal down to win 2-1 in the French capital on Wednesday night against Mauricio Pochettino's Paris Saint-Germain.

Marquinhos headed the hosts into the lead within just fifteen minutes, and the score line stayed that way up until the 64-minute mark.

A typical Kevin De Bruyne cross was struck into the box, however the on-rushing Manchester City players left goalkeeper Keylor Navas rooted to the spot, who left the ball to creep in for an equaliser.

Just over five minutes later, a dangerous free-kick just outside the PSG box was fired straight through the wall and into the net by Riyad Mahrez, giving the away side two much needed away goals to take back to Manchester.

Late frustrations from the Parisians saw yellow cards for Leandro Paredes and Neymar, and a frankly disgraceful challenge from Idrissa Gueye was well-deserved of a straight red card.

Here are five things we learned following Wednesday night's performance...

Bounce-back ability

The Paris side came out all-guns blazing, putting Manchester City under immense pressure early on and leaving the away fans quite understandably concerned. A poorly marked corner delivered by Angel Di Maria left centre back Marquinhos wide open, putting the hosts ahead with a glancing header.

The Blues needed to come back in the second half to get some vital away goals and stand a chance of making the final, and that’s exactly what they did. Two goals, both arguably preventable from PSG’s view, were enough to sink Mauricio Pochettino’s men, and there were plenty of chances that went astray too.

Yet another Kevin de Bruyne masterclass.

The Belgian has pulled it out of the bag once again.

Another show-stopping performance in the Champions League knockout stages earned the playmaker yet another well-deserved man of the match award. That’s his third in just the knock-out stages already this season, with Borussia Monchengladbach, Borussia Dortmund and now Paris Saint-Germain having to watch and admire his unteachable style of play.

De Bruyne, who earned midfielder of the year in the competition last season, can add his performance against PSG to his mesmerising Champions League scrapbook. It’s looking like he could be the key player yet again to take Manchester City through to the next round, just like he did with his two goals against the Parisians back in 2016. 

Well played, Kevin!

Mbappe who?!

I hope I’m not jinxing anything by writing this, but did anyone actually notice much of Kylian Mbappe in the contest?

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The young Frenchman, who is arguably the best striker in the world at present, with 37 goals to his name this season alone, was almost effortlessly kept at bay by the Manchester City defence.

Ruben Dias and co prevented the talisman from registering a single shot at goal throughout the game, and even goalkeeper Ederson managed to have more touches over the course of the 90 minutes.

Despite a blunder in his performance in the clash, the Manchester City side will still be wary of the threat he possesses in front of goal and will need to shut the Frenchman out once again in the return fixture at the Etihad Stadium next week.

Super-sub Zinchenko

A player I was surprisingly impressed with was Oleksandr Zinchenko, who came on as a substitute for Joao Cancelo just after the 60-minute mark.

The Portuguese international has been one of Manchester City’s most dependable players so far this season but had a mediocre performance by his standards and looked out of his depth marking Kylian Mbappe - receiving an early yellow card.

Aleks Zinchenko however looked calm, composed and controlled. He didn’t allow Mbappe any time to get moving on the ball and helped the Manchester City defence get organised at the back.

The Ukrainian signing for just £1.5 million five years ago has to go down as one of the bargains of the decade, and his performance should have earned himself a place in the starting line-up next week.

All to play for in Manchester

Manchester City are closer than ever to reaching a Champions League final – yes you heard that right.

The tie is by no means over yet, and the Manchester City players will know that they have to pull another show-stopping performance out of the bag to get their tickets booked to Istanbul.

If the return fixture is played at any sort of pace and energy as the first, then we are in for a real treat. Pep Guardiola has not lifted the illustrious Champions League trophy since he did with Barcelona back in 2011 – could this finally be his year?

Before then, Manchester City travel to London once again at the weekend to face Crystal Palace in the Premier League. A win for the Blues and a loss for Manchester United against Liverpool will see the Premier League trophy firmly in the Etihad's ever-growing trophy cabinet.

You can follow Sam here: @SamPuddephatt1

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