Manchester City take a one-goal lead from last week’s first leg victory at Parc des Princes over Paris Saint-Germain into tonight’s second leg as they try to qualify for their first Champions League final and Pep Guardiola’s first for 10 years since winning it for the second time with Barcelona as a manager (to add to the one he won as a player in 1992).
City have won a European semi-final before, 51 years ago, when they beat Schalke 5-1 at Maine Road after a 1-0 defeat in Gelsenkirchen to qualify for the Cup Winners’ Cup final in Vienna. It was arguably the finest performance of the Mercer-Allison era, Mike Doyle wiped out the deficit, Neil Young scored twice before Frannie Lee and Colin Bell turned the screw on the West German Cup-holders.
PSG buckled under City’s second-half swarm strategy in Paris last Wednesday and the home side are expected to be unchanged. PSG, however, have serious concerns about Kylian Mbappé and will leave a decision about whether he plays until the last moment. The World Cup-winner’s calf injury kept him out of their 2-1 victory over Lens on Saturday and in pictures broadcast on French TV last night, he was pictured limping as he arrived at training yesterday.
“We need to assess Kylian, today he’s going to start individual training session and see if he’ll be with the team,” Mauricio Pochettino said on Monday. “It’s still one day, we didn’t decide and we will see tomorrow.”
Having suffered a 2-1 defeat in Paris last week, PSG know they must score at least twice on Tuesday if they are to stand any chance of heading to their second straight Champions League final.
Pochettino said he will not tweak PSG’s formation – with or without Mbappé – but emphasised the importance of his team converting their counter-attacking opportunities.
“Tomorrow we must be ready to suffer and then be clinical and aggressive when we get chances,” he said. “They have an advantage and we need to take risks, be brave, plan the game knowing City is a team that can manage different ways to play.
“We need to be clever, believe and show our quality on the pitch. It will be a battle but we will be ready.” Pochettino’s Spurs side scored three at the Etihad two years ago to knock City out on away goals at the quarter-final stage. They would need at least three goals to do that tonight, a tall order even with Mbappé.
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