Manchester City were favourites to reach their first ever Champions League final as they faced Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of their semi-final.
Pep Guardiola’s side beat the French side 2-1 in Paris last week and knew that if they avoided defeat at the Etihad, they would be facing Real Madrid or Chelsea in the final later this month.
They had to make do with difficult conditions on Tuesday night as a heavy hailstorm caused an icy pitch.
It also seemed to make things difficult for referee Bjorn Kuipers who inexplicably awarded the away side a penalty for a handball on Oleksandr Zinchenko. A quick VAR check soon overturned that.
And within minutes, City were 3-1 ahead of aggregate.
While Riyad Mahrez got the goal after Kevin De Bruyne’s shot was blocked, goalkeeper Ederson deserves a huge amount of praise.
It was his incredible ball that sent Zinchenko free on the left that led to the opener on the night.
What. A. Ping.
It’s difficult to think of another player – let alone a goalkeeper – who would be able to hit a pass like that.
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City were already boosted ahead of kick-off with the news that Kylian Mbappe would only be on the bench for the French champions.
The French wonderkid has been struggling with injuries and picked up another knock at thr weekend meaning he was unable to start in Manchester.
He was replaced in the starting XI by striker Mauro Icardi but Guardiola was only too aware of the Argentine’s dangers.
“Icardi moves really well in the box, in set pieces, strong in the air,” Guardiola said before kick off.
“He has not the pace of Mbappe who is unique in the world with his rhythm and movements but Icardi can always score. In that level all the squads, players are good.”