At 2-2, this Champions League tie is finely poised ahead of the second leg.
Both teams will be trying to reach the Champions League Semi-Finals for the first time. In the first leg, at Parc des Princes, Kevin de Bruyne, Man City’s talisman, put them one up, before a few minutes later a horrendous error from Fernando gave PSG the equaliser – Zlatan Ibrahimovic getting the final touch, of course. When Rabiot gave PSG a slender lead City could have imploded, but no – a scruffy goal from Fernandinho gave City the equaliser, and more importantly, a second away goal.
So what does that result mean for tonight’s tie? If any team wins outright they will of course progress, but a 0-0 or 1-1 draw will mean City become semi-finalists. Not that a low-scoring game is likely, with the quality of the two squads going forward and the shakiness in defence. City have won just 7 of their last 18 home Champions League ties, but they won’t need a win today so long as they can limit PSG to less than two goals, and match whatever the Parisians get.
City’s starting XI: Hart, Sagna, Otamendi, Mangala, Clichy, Fernando, Fernandinho, Navas, De Bruyne, Silva, Aguero
PSG’s starting XI: Trapp, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Thiago Motta, Cavani, Ibrahimovic, Di Maria, Maxwell, Aurier, Van der Wiel, Rabiot
City have gone with the same team that started the first leg – and that means no Yaya Toure, who will surely be missed. Vincent Company is still out and that leaves Elaquim Mangala partnering Otamendi at the back – and that is not exactly a formidable pairing against Ibrahimovic, Cavani and Di Maria! Keeping those three quiet will be the biggest task for City, but they too aren’t exactly weak going forward. Belgian playmaker Kevin De Bruyne has become something of a talisman for City this season, and with him back from injury to supply Sergio Aguero it seems that the PSG back four will have to put in a performance for the ages if they are to stop City getting goals – mind you, without David Luiz defending is a whole lot easier!
I think that City will go through – they have been waiting so long for a good Champions League run and they have set themselves up perfectly here. The worry is that this could be their best chance for a long time – with Barcelona’s tie hanging in the balance, Bayern not exactly convincing against Benfica and Real Madrid struggling against Wolfsburg, City could be the biggest team left if results go their way. However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves – Zlatan’s men are still a tough ask and will not roll over without a fight.