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MOTD: Paris Saint-Germain 2-2 Manchester City
For all that riches can buy in football, perfection isn’t a trait on display in the storefront. Although Manchester City’s Champions League quarterfinal visit to Paris Saint-Germain had been dubbed as a battle between the two richest football clubs in Europe — the Gulf Derby, the Emirates Cup or El Cashico, if you will — the game was besmirched by a cacophony of errors. More so than the luxury talent on show, these errors decided the outcome of the result.
In the end, the mistakes evened out at two all. Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a penalty before Kevin de Bruyne equalized with a cool finish, yet Ibra pulled one back on the brink of the half, capitalizing on Fernando’s horrible blunder. Adrian Rabiot put PSG ahead on the other side of the half, before Fernandinho found a leveler with twenty minutes to go.
City are now in a prime position to clinch the tie in Manchester, and PSG, who have lost
just one of their last thirty-nine home games in European competition, will be less daunting opposition at The Etihad.
“The 2-2 draw is not a good result,” said PSG coach Laurent Blanc. “We made a lot of mistakes tonight. And City scored after two of them. That’s our main regret tonight. But we are also up against a very good Manchester City side who have a huge attacking potential. We should have scored first, but unfortunately we didn’t and City opened the scoring. We equalized and were looking good in the second half, moving ahead, before another mistake cost us that second goal.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic echoed his coach’s statements, telling PSG’s official website: “We made too many mistakes and Manchester City punished us. You can’t afford to make mistakes like this against a team of this quality. In the return leg, we have to play simple football and fix what didn’t work tonight.”
David Luiz made the most out of Bacary Sagna’s early challenge on the box and won a penalty, but Joe Hart came up big to stop Ibrahimovic’s low, well-placed effort. It was his second penalty stop in the competition so far this season and his third out of five penalties he has faced in his career in Europe.
Twenty-four minutes in, Ibra broke in between City’s two centerbacks at the end of an incisive through-ball, but uncharacteristically skied his shot over the crossbar.
He was left to rue his misses when De Bruyne tucked a cool finish past Kevin Trapp and into the back of the net from the right side of the box on a quick breakaway.
Yet in the forty-second minute, City were shellshocked when Fernando dallied on the ball right from a short goal-kick and Ibrahimovic closed him down quickly. Fernando attempted to hack the ball away, but a lucky deflection off of Ibrahimovic ricocheted into the back of City’s own net before Hart could react.
Rabiot converted the rebound off Hart’s fantastic save from Edison Cavani’s powerful header in the fifty-ninth minute, but Fernandinho pulled City level again after a comical series of deflections between Serge Aurier and Thiago Silva deflected right into the midfielder’s path six yards out from goal.
Neither manager was particularly happy with the nature of the match, but City walked away with a slim advantage to set up a tightly contested second leg that will be decided on stubbornness and decisiveness. And those are traits money cannot buy.