Champions League: PSG host Man City, hoping to reach their second consecutive final

PSG beat Barcelona and Bayern Munich on their way to the semi-final as Neymar, Mbappe and Di Maria are in scintillating form in the competition.

PSG getting ready to host Man City in their Champions League semi-final first leg match; Credit: Twitter/@PSG_English

Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG will go into the semi-final on the back of four wins in their last five games. The solitary loss was against Bayern Munich in the quarter-final second leg of the Champions League. The two-legged tie finished 3-3 but Neymar and company came through courtesy of the away goal rule. Pep Guardiola is heading into his first semi-final in five years. The English team is playing their fourth semi-final in their European History. Manchester City will be looking to overcome PSG with their possession-based football. Whereas, Pochettino will be looking to beat the English side with the blistering pace and skillful creativity they have upfront.

PSG is looking to reach their second consecutive Champions League final after losing last year’s final against Bayern Munich eight months ago. The French team beat Barcelona and Bayern Munich on their way to the semi-final. Overcoming last year’s champions in the quarter-final was a sweet revenge for the French side. PSG’s greatest strength will be the attacking trio of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Di Maria.

Mbappe’s blistering pace, Di Maria’s tireless running and trickery along with Neymar’s ability to come out of tight situations with his magical footwork to create space will be tough to deal for any defense in the world. Mbappe has scored 8 goals in the competition so far, only behind Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland, who netted 10 times. Neymar has six goals to his name in this year’s tournament and the Brazilian is coming off an eye-catching performance against Bayern in the previous round.

Previous meeting

Manchester City eliminated PSG in their only previous knockout stage meeting in European football, progressing 3-2 on aggregate in the Champions League quarter-final of 2015-16. That was City’s previous semi-final appearance in the tournament. Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling are the only survivors from that squad.

Kevin De Bruyne will be pivotal in Guardiola’s plans against PSG, the Belgian’s passing accuracy and ability to deliver defense splitting passes will be a key factor in City’s chances of going through. Man City are coming into the match on the back of a League Cup triumph against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Mauricio Pochettino and Pep Guardiola have faced each other 18 times, with the current PSG manager winning only three times compared to 10 victories for Guardiola. Famously, Pachettino’s Tottenham eliminated Pep’s Man City in the quarter-finals of 2019 Champions League.

The clash between the two cash rich teams at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday night will be a treat for the viewers. Not only because of the expensively assembled footballers from around the world, but also because of the exceptional quality in display and the attacking prowess of both the teams.

Sportslumo Desk

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