City rallies to win 2-1 at PSG in first leg of CL semifinal

After PSG captain Marquinhos headed PSG ahead in the 15th minute, De Bruyne equalized in the 64th with a dipping cross and Mahrez doubled City shortly after from a free-kick.

Manchester City players celebrate after winning the first leg of the Champions League semifinal against PSG at the Parc des Princes   -  AFP

Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez scored in quick succession during the second half as Manchester City rallied to beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in the first leg of its Champions League semifinal on Wednesday.

After PSG captain Marquinhos headed PSG ahead in the 15th minute, De Bruyne equalized in the 64th with a dipping cross that eluded goalkeeper Keylor Navas and bounced inside the post.

De Bruyne then left a free kick for Mahrez — who grew up in the Paris suburbs — and he curled the ball through a gap in the wall and into the bottom left corner in the 71st.

PSG’s composure soon crumbled, as has often been the case in recent seasons when under pressure, and finished the game with 10 players as midfielder Idrissa Gueye was shown a red card in the 77th minute for a dangerous tackle on midfielder Ilkay Gundogan.

City could have taken a bigger lead into the return leg next Tuesday, but winger Phil Foden shot straight at Navas after a brilliant jinking run through PSG's flagging defence.

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But PSG had the first sight on goal and, after Neymar went close, Marquinhos timed his run well to meet Angel Di Maria’s corner near the front post and head in the opener.

It was another important goal from the Brazilian, after netting a last-gasp equalizer in the quarterfinals and then scoring in the semis last season.

Di Maria was causing problems for City’s defence with his runs from the right flank, while both Neymar and Marco Verratti were opening City up with their passing.

With City now playing on the break, Foden wasted a good chance near the break when he shot straight at Navas from just inside the penalty area, after being set up by Bernardo Silva’s pass from the right.

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PSG threatened early in the second half when Di Maria’s superb pass over the midfield put Kylian Mbappe into space down the right. He twisted inside and out, putting two City defenders on the floor, but his fizzing cross was too strong and eluded his teammates.

De Bruyne set up City’s late winner in the League Cup final last Sunday and again took time to exert his influence after a brief spell out injured. The Belgium star went close with a shot on the turn that went just over on the hour mark.

Four minutes later, he was mobbed by his relieved teammates when his cross was intended for a teammate's head but stunned Navas as it bounced past him. Then he left a free kick to Mahrez who made good use of the chance.

He spotted a gap as PSG’s wall jumped too early and inched City closer to its first Champions League final.