Manchester City came from behind to win 2-1 against 10-man Paris Saint-Germain and take a big step towards a first-ever place in the Champions League final.
Captain Kevin de Bruyne scored in the 64th and Riyah Mahrez’s free-kick seven minutes later cancelled out an early lead for last season’s finalists PSG from their skipper Marquinhos, DPA reported.
PSG’s misery was complete when Idrissa Gueye was sent off in the 77th for a tackle from behind on Ilkay Gundogan.
Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and company looked more dangerous for long parts of the game before the Premier League leaders hit back somewhat out of the blue and with some luck — with De Bruyne’s ball seemingly an intended cross and Mahrez’s free-kick going through the PSG wall.
The return leg is on Tuesday at the Etihad Stadium where City manager Pep Guardiola hopes to make the final set for May 29 in Istanbul for the first time in a decade since his Barcelona days.
“It was a game of two halves,” Man of the Match De Bruyne told BT Sport. “It was a shame we conceded. After 25 minutes we changed the way we pressed them and it became better.
“The second half was much, much better. The first goal was a little bit lucky with the way it went in, but we played great football and we did well.”
Marquinhos told RMC Sport that PSG “let in stupid goals” and that they “have to be more regular in both halves” next week.
Record winners Real Madrid and Chelsea drew 1-1 in the other tie on Tuesday, with their return leg at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
PSG and City are the both big clubs under Middle East ownership who have never won the Champions League.
PSG lost last year’s final to Bayern Munich who they ousted in the quarter-finals this time around. City have never reached the final, going out in the 2016 semis.
Marquinhos was fit to play again and Neymar forced Ederson to a big early save after City failed to clear a corner kick decisively.
The hosts went 1-0 up on the next set piece in the 15th, with Marquinhos running unmarked towards the near right post to head Angel di Maria’s corner into the far corner.
The goal gave PSG confidence, but City got a big chance to level shortly before intermission, with Phil Foden aiming right at Navas from a promising position.
PSG became too passive after the break and at all unraveled for them within 13 minutes with the two goals and red card.
City were level when De Bruyne’s curling ball into the area from the left went past friend and foe into the bottom right corner, with Navas frozen on the goal-line.
The goal rattled PSG and it got worse for them when Mahrez fired the 71st-minute free-kick through a poorly set up wall and into the bottom left corner.
A frustrated Neymar was booked and PSG’s fate sealed when Gueye got his marching orders from German referee Felix Brych in the 77th. Tempers continued to flare in some hectic final minutes in which PSG tried in vain to get an equalizer.
“A good result but anything can happen. The goals were the consequence of us playing better,” Guardiola said.