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Spitirit City draw PSG thriller

April 6, 2016

City emerged from a thrill-a-minute first-leg clash against PSG with a draw and two vital away goals at the Parc des Princes. 
The game was a rollercoaster of action and emotion as City went ahead, then behind, before drawing level in a dizzying Champions League last eight game. 
City fans were in ecstasy when Kevin De Bruyne smashed in the opener, but in agony moments later after Fernando was caught in defence and his pass charged down and into the net by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
It was a freak goal, and City were behind after the break when Adrian Rabiot tapped in at the far post. 
But just when PSG looked to be on the hunt for a third, Fernandinho had the travelling fans jumping again with a goal that typified City's fighting spirit.
In among all that returning skipper Joe Hart brilliantly saved a penalty from Ibrahimovic and PSG had Blaise Matuidi and David Luiz ruled out of the second-leg because of yellow cards.
It was a breathless game, but at the end of it all City can be proud of a performance against a side that is 25 points clear at the summit of Ligue 1 - and the Blues can head into the next week's return leg with great confidence.
Manuel Pellegrini made two changes to the side that routed Bournemouth at the weekend, with Hart returning from a calf injury to replace Willy Caballero and Bacary Sagna coming back in for Pablo Zabaleta at right back.
City were on the attack inside the first minute, when Sergio Aguero latched onto a searching ball from Nicolas Otamendi only to be hauled to the ground by Luiz.
Referee Milorad Mazic produced a yellow card for the challenge and the Brazilian centre-back will now miss the second-leg at the Etihad Stadium.
De Bruyne lashed a left-footed shot just over moments later in an excellent start from the side in ghost green.
At the other end City survived a major scare when Eliaquim Mangala stormed back to block Matuidi – the majority of the Parc des Princes side crowd were screaming for a penalty but the referee was unmoved.
Shortly after a spot-kick was given when Luiz went over Bacary Sagna’s leg in the box.
Hart had a smile on his face before Ibrahimovic took the spot-kick in a show of bravado, and he had one after too when he produced a brilliant stop low down to his right. 
The save rocked City back onto the front foot, and after a sharp interception from Fernando in midfield, Jesus Navas whipped in a pinpoint cross that David Silva could only glance wide.
The game was wide open, and after Otamendi had stormed forward into midfield and seen his pass charged down Ibrahimovic found himself one on one with Hart.
Everyone of a City persuasion was surely fearing the worst at that point, but the Swede could only curl an effort high and off-target.
As the half wore on PSG began to exert more pressure, but City’s wall stood strong to deny free-kicks from Ibrahimovic and Di Maria.
That rearguard action paid dividends because after 39 minutes City struck.
Fernando intercepted in midfield, Fernandinho strode forward and rolled a ball in between PSG defenders and into the path of De Bruyne.
The Belgian took a touch and blasted an emphatic finish beyond Trapp.
The joy turned to acute frustration just a couple of minutes later, though, as Ibrahimovic grabbed a freak goal. 
Fernando received a short ball from Hart, took a touch and then saw his attempted square ball out of defence charged down by the Swedish striker and straight back past the goalkeeper.
It was a goal from nothing and a sickening blow for City, but the sides went in all square after a frenetic half of football.
Shortly after the break Matuidi went into the book – and out of the second leg – for catching Otamendi’s heel.
PSG were pressing high, with Di Maria prominent early in the second period, but the action was still end to end. Fernandinho scuffed a half-chance wide before David Silva forced keeper Trapp into action with a low shot.
Just before the hour mark Rabiot grabbed the equaliser.
Hart parried Edinson Cavani’s header from a corner, but only into the path of the 21-year-old PSG man, who tapped in at the far post.
It was almost three but Ibrahimovic’s header ricocheted down off the underside of the bar as City came under intense pressure.
Somehow, City dug deep to find a response.
This time it was PSG’s turn to get into a defensive muddle. Navas fizzed in a cross, and after defensive pinball involving Serge Aurier and Thiago Silva, Fernandinho bundled the ball in.
As the game entered its final stages, City looked increasingly dangerous on the counter as PSG tired, but neither side could find a winner on the night.
The stage is now truly set for the return leg at the Etihad Stadium next Tuesday.

MATCH DETAILS:

Paris Saint Germain (2): Trapp, Maxwell, Luiz, Silva, Aurier (Van der Wiel, 78), Motta, Rabiot (Lucas, 78), Matuidi, Cavani, Ibrahimovic, Di Maria 

Manchester City (2): Hart, Sagna, Otamendi, Mangala, Clichy, Fernando, Fernandinho, Navas, Silva (Bony, 88), De Bruyne (Delph, 77), Aguero (Kolarov, 90) 
 

Goals: De Bruyne 38, Ibrahimovic 41, Rabiot 59, Fernandinho 72

Referee: Milorad Mazic. Bookings: Luiz, Matuidi Clichy, Fernando 
 

 

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