Diverted goal of Fernandinho gained a 2-2 draw for Manchester City against Paris St-Germain in the first leg game of their Champions League quarter-final in Paris. Kevin de Bruyne’s clinical finish put the visitors ahead after Joe Hart saved the penalty of Zlatan Ibrahimovic for PSG. Ibrahimovic benefited from Fernando’s mistake to level the score at the interval and Adrien Rabiot scored the second for PSG after the break to put French champions ahead. Fernandinho’s scraped attempt provided Manchester City a possibly important second away goal. PSG will visit Etihad Stadium for the second leg game on Tuesday, 12 April.
Teams who have drawn the first leg 2-2 away from home in European games have advanced on 220 out of 277 previous occasions – a 79.4% success rate. Manuel Pellegrini’s side were lucky to be in a position to rescue a draw as the delicate defence that has added to their disillusioning Premier League battle kept on looking temperamental. Their inadequacies without injured skipper and centre-back Vincent Kompany have been extensively recorded, and they have now achieved only one clean sheet in nine Champions League matches this season.
Rabiot, who had a short spell in the Manchester City youth set-up, benefited as much as possible from non-existent marking to score at the back post after Hart deflected Ibrahimovic’s header into his way. Ibrahimovic had lost a clear opportunity when through on goal, furthermore headed against the crossbar in the second half. Pellegrini may want to re-assess the 4-4-2 positioning in the second leg that saw his team press PSG high up the pitch, with left-back Gael Clichy uncovered by David Silva’s newness to his position on the left of midfield.
But Pellegrini stays in a solid position to secure a Champions League semi-final – and maybe title – for Manchester City, before being supplanted by Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola in the summer. Manchester City manager said: “A very close match right to the end. The quarter-final keeps on being open however this is a decent result for us.” We made a few imperative errors for the first goal and the second goal was offside. “In the event that we need to win, we can’t commit those sort of errors. But we are attempting to win from the first minute – it is the way we play,” he added.