Manchester City have nothing left to fear in the Champions League

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The Athletic 05 May, 2021 - 01:22am 14 views

Where Will Champions League Final be played?

When is the final? The Champions League final is scheduled to take place at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey on May 29. Manchester City will play either Chelsea or Real Madrid who face each other on Wednesday evening. The AthleticChampions League final: 4000 fans from each team could attend match in Istanbul

Has Pep won Champions League?

“Manchester United won the Champions League [in 2008 against Chelsea] because [John] Terry slipped [in the penalty shootout]. ... “United won in the last minute in the Camp Nou [against Bayern Munich] in the last minutes [in 1999]. The GuardianGuardiola proud after Manchester City’s historic Champions League run

Manchester City have nothing left to fear in the Champions League

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Manchester City vs. Paris Saint-Germain: Extended Highlights | UCL on CBS Sports

Champions League on CBS Sports 05 May, 2021 - 01:00pm

Why PSG's ugly Champions League exit to Manchester City doesn't make this season a total loss

CBS Sports 05 May, 2021 - 01:00pm

Paris Saint-Germain woke up this Wednesday to the reality that their UEFA Champions League dreams are over for another season and with no guarantee that they will lift the Ligue 1 or Coupe de France trophies later this month.

Manchester City completed a 4-1 aggregate success with a 2-0 win at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday with Riyad Mahrez scoring three times in total as Pep Guardiola's men exerted exceptional control over the French giants.

PSG's misery was compounded by an ugly final 21 minutes that saw Angel Di Maria sent off and three players booked as the game threatened to descend into a brawl as Mauricio Pochettino's men lost their composure after Mahrez's clinical second goal.

It was always going to be an uphill task for PSG with City a goal up after their first leg win at Parc des Princes and the absence of superstar Kylian Mbappe did not help the visitors' cause with the 22-year-old booting up at half-time merely a false dawn.

However, despite the disappointment of the manner of their UCL exit this term, there are a number of reasons why this edition's semifinal run has not been a complete failure for Les Parisiens even as it comes during a difficult domestic spell.

"We must not forget what has been done over the past two years," sporting director Leonardo told RMC Sport post-match. "We reached the final and lost 1-0 against a team that won everything. This year, we eliminated Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Our goal is always to win, and our journey made us real candidates. We need to keep going and build on this. It has been a very complicated year. We should be satisfied."

To reach a second consecutive Champions League final by seeing off Barca, Bayern and then City would have been near miraculous for almost any other European side, especially when you consider the deficiencies in the squad Pochettino inherited mid-season from Thomas Tuchel, the regular run of injuries and absences and the fact that the German already oversaw a mini turnaround to win Group H.

Had you told pretty much anybody associated with PSG back in the summer of 2019 that they would go on to reach at least back-to-back Champions League semifinals, they would have considered that progress after three straight humiliations in the round of 16 and that improvement remains unchanged, despite the way the current run ended.

Leonardo returned for a second spell almost two years ago to find Neymar pushing to leave after two injury-hit years and the club reeling after embarrassing defeats to Barcelona and Manchester United either side of Real Madrid.

The $266 million man is now a key figure who actually features in the biggest games and although he did not deliver in either leg against City, he featured prominently against Bayern and is expected to stay on.

This campaign has also finally put to bed the debate as to whether Ligue 1 hinders the current French titleholders' chances on the continent with an absorbing title race contributing towards a competitive edge rarely seen before with this modern PSG.

Winning Le Championnat and the Coupe de France will not make up for the loss of an historic potential treble but there should be a feeling of satisfaction -- if they do ultimately win it -- that this Ligue 1 success has been sweated for more than it has in years gone by.

However, the flip side of that particular coin is that PSG now must ensure that domestic success remains important to the squad and perhaps this close contest and another next year will see to that after the administrative victory of 2019-20.

"There are three Ligue 1 matches left," Leonardo said. "Three finals. We need to remain concentrated and earn the points to be crowned champions. There is also the Coupe de France. Yes, we lost, but we come out of this knowing that we have a great squad."

If there is to be any sense of failure and disappointment, it should be reserved for the first leg that saw PSG collapse after missing chances to better their one-goal lead before conceding two fortuitous goals as they once again failed to impose themselves in an empty Parc des Princes.

Whether that is remedied by the proposed return of supporters to stadiums in Europe in the coming months, we will see, but the spiritual home of this group is far less intimidating to opposing sides without their vociferous fans and that has shown in some displays and results this term.

Difficult to accept that we’re out of the competition after doing so many good things.We can be proud of our club, only 50 years old and improving every season.Proud of my teammates and don’t forget we still have to fight for two trophies this season🔴🔵 #allezparis #icicestparis pic.twitter.com/YfAHINOKB1

Speculation over Neymar and Mbappe's futures will continue until there is some sort of official announcement that one or both have extended their contracts beyond 2022 with the Brazilian seemingly the closest to doing so at this moment in time.

"Honestly, now is not the time for anything to be decided or announced," said Leonardo. "We must be proud of what we have done. Our aim is always to win. We played better over two of the four halves and conceded some odd goals. There are lots of good things. We found a way out of some very difficult situations this year. I am optimistic moving forward."

What is irrefutable is the progress made in terms of the big overall goal of Champions League success since 2019 with PSG now a genuine force that even the strongest European teams will not relish facing next season and beyond.

Losing out to a very good City side that will be making their debut in the finals a year later than PSG is nothing to be ashamed of after 18-24 months of real progress on that front, but the expectation will now be that those runs become the norm along with domestic dominance.

Another Ligue 1 showing with eight defeats and counting will not be tolerated, so there is work to do over the summer ahead of Pochettino's first full season in charge with the expectation that it will be much better than the rescue mission of his first six months.

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Liverpool handed Champions League boost after Man Utd protests

Mirror Online 05 May, 2021 - 01:00pm

The decision to postpone Liverpool's trip to Manchester United could yet prove advantageous for the Reds.

Fan protests saw Sunday's game at Old Trafford delayed and then called off as both teams sat waiting in their respective Manchester hotels.

A win for Liverpool would've boosted their Champions League hopes but also awarded Manchester City the title.

Instead the champagne remains on ice at the Etihad ahead of this weekend's round of fixtures.

It means Pep Guardiola's side, buoyed by their European success over PSG on Tuesday night, will be looking to wrap up the title when they play on Saturday.

Their opponents: Liverpool's top four rivals Chelsea.

The Blues face City at the Etihad at 5.30pm. Had Guardiola's side already wrapped up the title then one eye may already be on this month's Champions League final.

Chelsea could've secured an unexpected three points in their hunt for a top four spot, instead City will no doubt revved up and determined to deliver the title.

Liverpool currently sit seven points behind Thomas Tuchel's side with just four games remaining - five for the Reds.

A win could see that gap cut to four points with Klopp's side taking on Southampton on Saturday night.

And with a game in hand to come that gap could be cut further to a solitary point.

There is no word yet on when the rescheduled game can take place with the Premier League under pressure to find a slot.

The problem is United, with their Europa League commitments, are playing every weekend and midweek until the end of the season.

There is less than three weeks until the final round of Premier League games, which will take place on May 23.

United look all but certain to secure second place but Liverpool could yet qualify for the Champions League, Europa League or miss out all together.

Fabrizio Romano Provides Major Update On Man City Star and Possible Contract Renewal

Sports Illustrated 05 May, 2021 - 09:57am

The Algeria international played an integral part in notable victories against both Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain in the latter stages of the Champions League knock-out rounds, and this appears to have won over key Etihad decision makers.

Speaking on the 'Here We Go' podcast on Wednesday afternoon, transfer insider Fabrizio Romano has provided a very encouraging update in regards to the intentions of Manchester City regarding the future of the 30 year-old.

READ MORE: Nathan Ake to 'consider options' this summer

READ MORE: How Riyad Mahrez reacted to reaching the UCL final

According to the information of Fabrizio Romano, it is stated that Riyad Mahrez is one of the players that Manchester City now have 'an intention' to open talks with regarding a new contract.

The former Leicester City star has just two years remaining on his current deal, and as previously reported by English media, is entering the period when officials at the Etihad would usually begin to discuss a new deal or simply their intentions.

Romano states that Manchester City officials will talk about the possibility of a new contract with Riyad Mahrez himself and with his agent in the coming months.

READ MORE: What Kyle Walker told BT Sport after PSG victory

READ MORE: How Man City players reacted to reaching UCL final

There had been various suggestions from European press earlier on this season that the likes of Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain would be keen on monitoring the situation surrounding Riyad Mahrez at Manchester City.

But given his importance in their route to the Champions League final in Istanbul, it would be difficult to imagine a scenario where City officials would entertain any approaches for Mahrez, certainly this summer.

You can listen to the full episode of the 'Here We Go' podcast here.

You can follow us for live updates here: @City_Xtra

PSG planning to replace Kylian Mbappe with Liverpool's Mohamed Salah

101 Great Goals 05 May, 2021 - 09:53am

Despite being spotted sitting in the stands and names on the PSG bench, Kylian Mbappe was nowhere to be seen in regards to on-field appearance.

Before the match, Mauricio Pochettino explained the reasoning behind the Frenchman’s absence from the starting eleven.

“He didn’t feel like starting the match,” said Pochettino.

The worry for PSG now will be considering that the club has failed to win the Champions League in the last two seasons, despite reaching the final in 2020 and the semi-final in 2021, that Mbappe may seek to move somewhere this is more achievable.

The club has been in discussions regarding a new deal and club director Leonardo spoke confidently about the prospect.

“Mbappe will stay here, 100 per cent. He is a PSG player. The rest is the rest,” he said defiantly.

However, things change quickly in the sport and the 22-year-old’s future may be more uncertain than club officials believe.

However, French media outlets believe that the man who could replace Mbappe in the French capital is Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.

‘Mohamed salah is the plan B of the PSG in the event of the departure of Kylian Mbappé this summer. The Liverpool striker wants to leave the Reds two years from the end of his contract,’ wrote le10sport journalist Hadrien Grenier.

Mohamed Salah 🇪🇬 est le plan B du PSG en cas de départ de Kylian Mbappé 🇫🇷 cet été. L’attaquant de Liverpool veut quitter les Reds à deux ans de la fin de son contrat.

— Hadrien Grenier (@hadrien_grenier) May 5, 2021

Liverpool could miss out on Champions League football altogether next season and Salah may be open to leaving to find a place which can provide the top level competition.

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The moment Kyle Walker humiliated Neymar and Marco Verratti in the space of two seconds

GIVEMESPORT 05 May, 2021 - 08:15am

Riyad Mahrez may have scored the two goals on the night to seal a 4-1 aggregate victory but from Ederson in goal to match-winner Mahrez, everyone did their job to perfection.

Ruben Dias earned the Man of the Match award for his incredible defensive display to keep Neymar and co. quiet.

The PSG superstar clearly couldn’t do it on a cold, snowy Manchester evening in May.

Interestingly, when City attempted to sign Neymar from Santos, the Brazilian asked City chiefs whether Nike could make him special boots in play in the mud in England. It didn’t go down well with the club and they soon pulled out of the deal.

Towards the end of the match, Walker looked to drive down the right flank as he was closed down by Neymar. However, in a split second, the defender cut back, sending Neymar absolutely flying.

But Walker wasn’t done there and as Marco Verratti came lunging in with a tackle, he skipped past him.

Humiliating Neymar and Verratti in the space of a few seconds. Take a bow, Kyle.

After the match, Walker couldn’t hide his delight in reaching the Champions League final, admitting it was a dream come true.

“The Premier League, I can assure you, is 38 tough games, to win that is a real achievement, but this is the icing on the cake," he told the club's official website.

“To get this club finally into the Champions League final, we don’t just owe it to these brilliant fans, but we also owe it to the owners and the gaffer as well.

“A boy from Sheffield, it’s what you dream about. It was what I was dreaming about when we got the victory over there (in the first leg), it’s a dream come true and I’m buzzing.”

“Obviously against top quality players, we needed to put in a shift," Walker admitted.

“John, Ruben and Oleks, made some important blocks at crucial times and I thought we controlled the game well considering the amount of talent they’ve got up front.

“It’s a team game, we all go and celebrate a goal, we’re high-fiving when we score goals but for us as defenders the main thing is keeping clean sheets.

“This season we’ve done tremendously well in doing that and really sharpened up on our defensive duties but blocking a shot is just like scoring a goal for me.”

Ederson is the best passing goalkeeper in the world

Daily Mail 04 May, 2021 - 04:52pm

By Chris Sutton for the Daily Mail

Is Ederson the greatest passing goalkeeper in the world right now? Manuel Neuer fans might have something to say to me. But if I had to choose one goalkeeper to find a target 80 yards in the distance, I'd be shouting for the man in the Manchester City shirt. 

Hell, you're almost tempted to think he could do a job in a few Premier League midfields, the way he sprays the ball around as if it's nothing.

His long left-foot pass into the path of Oleksandr Zinchenko said it all. It was no hit-and-hope. It was meant and it was magic. All four of Paris Saint-Germain's defenders were on the halfway line. 

Ederson's range of passing on the night proved he's the best passing goalkeeper in the world

Ederson spotted that space behind and he saw Zinchenko was ready to start a run from his own half. So with one step to set himself, he put boot to ball and sent Zinchenko on his way. Ten seconds after Ederson's exquisite pass, City were 1-0 up thanks to Riyad Mahrez and 3-1 up on aggregate.

You have to think that was something Pep Guardiola had his players practise in training, given the starting position of Zinchenko. It's always nice when you see something that you've worked on during the week pay off on the big day.

In their desperation, PSG pushed up more and more. They were pressing vigorously but City were holding firm and trying to make the space that the Parisians were leaving behind work to their advantage. 

It was an intriguing tactical battle to watch between two great teams and two great coaches but City managed the game brilliantly.

Finally, Guardiola's City are in their coveted Champions League final.

Pep Guardiola has steered Manchester City to their first ever Champions League final

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