Just the 21 seconds of added in time before the half-time whistle blows.
Manchester City pretty much did everything right but score the vital goal. PSG’s attacking trio were largely kept quiet, Mahrez led the way in attack, and the width of a post stopped Gundogan from putting City ahead.
Boos ring out after Messi goes down on the far touchline after looking like he was caught by Cancelo. Replays show it might have been a trailing arm, perhaps the City man leaving his mark on his opponent after being nutmegged by the South American. After a short while on the floor, Messi pulls himself to his feet.
Now it’s Sterling down the left of the box cutting back to Gundogan, and it’s yet another block from a defender in a dark blue shirt. City are stepping through the gears… but will the end result be a goal?
OFF THE POST! Panic stations in the PSG defence as the ball lands at the feet of an unmarked Gundogan inside the ball. He opens his body up and tries to find the bottom right corner but the ball smacks the upright instead.
At the other end, Sterling cuts the ball back to Zinchenko but Marquinhos throws his body in the way to block the half-volley from 12 yards. Zinchenko must have thought it was time to start celebrating the way he caught his shot.
CHANCE! Mahrez goes so close to giving City the lead. After clever play from City, Mahrez looks to curl one into the far top corner from inside the box but the smallest of deflections off the head of Hakimi means it goes over with Navas beaten in the PSG goal.
Hakimi steals the ball off the toes of Sterling just as the England man was about to pull the trigger in the box. Quick as flash the visitors are up the other end of the pitch. That’s the danger City face with over-committing players forward.
A bit of welcome keep ball for PSG but the men in blue have managed to get numbers back now.
There’s been plenty of early ball for City, who have Zinchenko in midfield. As Guardiola suggested pre-match, they’re looking to be aggressive off the ball and duly force Tavares Mendes to miscontrol on the near touchline.
It was against City that Messi got his first goal for new club PSG back in September. Since then he has added three more to his tally but he certainly has a liking for goals against Guardiola teams…. in five games, he has managed seven goals.
It’s never a quiet week where PSG are concerned. But the club and manager have had to fend off additional headlines over the last few days with Mauricio Pochettino linked to the now vacant post at Manchester United.
As James Ducker writes, however, the French club are determined their man will not be leaving before the end of the season – although they are open to a move at the end of the campaign. You can read more on that here
Manchester City went unbeaten in their first five meetings with Paris Saint-Germain in European competition (W3 D2), but suffered a 2-0 defeat in their most recent meeting back in September. City, however, have won both of their games against the French side on home soil in the Champions League – 1-0 in April 2016 and 2-0 in May 2021.
Paris Saint-Germain have only won 20% of their meetings with Manchester City in the Champions League (1/5). Among teams they have faced at least five times in the competition, only against Real Madrid (17% – 1/6) do they have a lower win percentage.
Meanwhile its Neymar, Messi and Mbappe up front for the visitors. Sergio Ramos, the four-time Champions League winner, is on the bench, and could make his debut tonight after leaving Real Madrid this summer.
Kevin De Bruyne was already a confirmed absentee due to Covid, and City will also be without Jack Grealish, who sat out training yesterday, and Phil Foden who is also not fully fit for the match tonight.
With all eyes on Mauricio Pochettino who is being considered for the Manchester United job and a return to the Premier League – and United’s structure behind the scenes scrutinised after their decline since Sir Alex Ferguson’s era – Pep Guardiola has underlined the importance of Man City director of football Txiki Begiristain in keeping him at the club.
“One of the reasons why I extended my contract two times is because Txiki is here,” said Guardiola. “He trusted me as a manager when I wasn’t anyone in world football, training in the fourth division and he trusted me when he could choose many incredible managers at that time.
“We met each other when I was 19. Since then, we have been close friends and we work together incredibly well and when we are winning we try to analyse why and when we are losing we try to analyse why and no one judges the other one, good or bad.
“I’m never judged for results, (but) for our capacity, him and me. He never goes to the media. Always success is for the other ones, he is always behind the scenes and you don’t find these type of people in this world because egos are also so so high.
“I can do my job completely free, accepting the good moments and bad moments. In the bad moments, he is closer than ever and in the good moments we celebrate with a glass of wine.”
Jack Grealish is poised to miss out with a muscular problem, while Kevin De Bruyne is out isolating with Covid-19.
“I think the biggest challenge is for both teams both managers know each other quite well,” said City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan. “Unfortunately he was able to beat us in the past quite regularly and also in the Tottenham games so that is not really an advantage for us but in the modern game all the teams started to know each other quite well, they have possibilities to scout each other so I don’t think there are much elements left.”