Champions League: City Set for Maiden Final

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Manchester City look to have enough about them to get past PSG and book their place in a first Champions League final.

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne in action against PSG.

With a 2-1 first-leg lead and home advantage on their side, Manchester City are on the verge of reaching their maiden Champions League final.

After finally making it through the quarter-finals for the first time under Pep Guardiola, all that stands between them and a place in the final in Istanbul on May 29 are Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG previously suffered from a similar hoodoo but after reaching last season’s final, only to lose to Bayern Munich, they again look set for Champions League heartache.

Steely City Look Too Good

Despite widespread domestic dominance since Guardiola’s arrival in 2016, three straight Champions League quarter-final exits left City’s Abu Dhabi owners wanting more.

The Spaniard looked on aghast as his team went down 3-1 to Lyon last August but he and his players have demonstrated enviable tenacity to bounce back from a miserable 2019-20 campaign to largely dominate at both home and abroad.

PSG have not had it so easy, currently sitting second behind Lille in the Ligue 1 title race and head into Tuesday’s game with a real doubt over Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe trained on Monday but there is uncertainty as to how hard due to a calf injury. With the World Cup winner far from fit and bereft of the midfield safety blanket provided by the suspended Idrissa Gueye, 4/6 City should have too much.

Value in a Repeat 2-1

That by no means suggests it will be easy for the Citizens. While on the field they have dominated opponents; blowing them away has been a rare occurrence, as demonstrated by Saturday’s 2-0 win at Crystal Palace.

A lacklustre first half in Paris saw them go behind to Marquinhos’ header but after trailing 1-0 at the break, they hit back through Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez.

In truth, they should have scored more but appeared content to keep their opponents at arm’s length. Guardiola’s side have now won their last three European games 2-1, an option that is 27/4.

Backing a PSG goal makes most sense, as even with the doubt over Mbappe, the Parisians still have an in-form Neymar and the ever-brilliant Angel Di Maria available.

City, though, have not lost at the Etihad in the Champions League since September 2018 and the 7/5 on a home win and both to score looks well priced.

Mahrez Magic Can Continue

Mahrez’s free-kick meant he was the match-winner in Paris and after taking time to settle at the Etihad, is now a fundamental cog in Guardiola’s plans.

The Algerian also netted from the penalty spot in the quarter-final win away at Dortmund and with much of the attention on talisman Kevin De Bruyne, the former Leicester man offers value in the anytime market at 8/5.

As good as PSG, they can be a touch scruffy at the back, keeping just one clean sheet in their last seven in the Champions League. Mahrez’s close control suggests it would be no surprise to see him slalom through Mauricio Pochettino’s rearguard, or if needed, step up to fire home from 12 yards, with over 0.5 penalties in the game 27/20.

*All odds correct at time of writing

The first choice in any quiz team, Jack is your man for stats, facts and information across a wide range of different sports. As well as a vast knowledge of football, he specialises in cycling, rugby and tennis amongst a number of other sports.

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