In Review

De Bruyne fires Man City into the Champions League last four

City ease past Paris Saint-Germain despite missing a penalty to make the semi-finals for the first time

Manchester City 1 Paris Saint-Gemain 0 [City win 3-2 on aggregate]

Manchester City are through to the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first-time after another action-packed encounter with PSG. As in last week's first leg in Paris there were plenty of talking points, including a penalty miss (this time from City), but while there were fewer goals than seven days ago the one that there was, was enough to take City through to the last four.

It came on 76 minutes courtesy of Kevin de Bruyne, the Belgian curling a sweet shot past a forest of players and in off the post into the visitors net. That left the Parisians requiring two goals in 14 minutes but in truth their hearts were never in it after De Bruyne's sweet strike.

The morale had been slowly sucked out of the French champions despite Sergio Aguero's penalty miss, which came after half an hour. The Argentine had been felled by Kevin Trapp, a reckless foul that on another night might have earned the PSG keeper a red card instead of the yellow he received from Spanish referee Carlos Velasc. Aguero picked himself up, dusted himself down and then sent his penalty wide of the left-hand upright. It was a horrible miss but one the French side failed to capitalise on.

Zlatan Ibramovic again looked out of sorts, though he did force Hart into an agile save from a first-half free kick, but he was careless in the number of times he strayed offside. The big Swede did eventually manage to put the ball into net in the second half but he was correctly ruled offside.

That proved costly, as did the withdrawal of Thiago Motta shortly before the break, the big Brazilian midfielder hobbling off clutching his hamstring. With David Luiz and Blaise Matuidi missing through suspension from the first leg, the loss of the influential Motta was a heavy blow for PSG coach Laurent Blanc, who had rested nine of his first-choice players in last weekend's league fixture.

Motta and Adrien Rabiot had shaded the midfield battle in the first half-hour but his departure gave encouragement to the City pair of Fernando and Fernandinho, and in the second half the 50,000 City faithful sensed their team starting to dominate.

Once de Bruyne had got the all-important goal the game was as good as won, and the final few minutes turned into a Sky Blues celebration as the fans counted down the clock. "It feels great," exclaimed de Bruyne. "PSG didn't create a lot and I think we deserved to go through. We are in the semi-finals, anything can happen. It will be tough but we are looking forward to it."

Joe Hart was more gracious in victory. "Credit to PSG, I thought they made it a fantastic encounter," he said. "An amazing night for us. We have worked hard in this competition. We struggled to start with but we have started to compete."

City will look forward to Friday's semi-final draw (which will also include Real Madrid, who overcame a 2-0 first-leg deficit to beat Wolfsburg 3-2 on aggregate) without fear, and manager Manuel Pellegrini was bullish when asked about the possibility of going all the way.

"Of course we can win the Champions League," he replied. "One of the targets for this club is to try to improve every year and we are doing that... if you are in the semi-final you know you will have to play against a big team. Tonight we played better than PSG who are a very strong team with very good players. We trust that we can play against anyone the way we played tonight."

For PSG, it was the fourth consecutive season that they've been eliminated in the quarter-final stage and coach Laurent Blanc had few complaints with the outcome.

"Both this evening and in Paris I don't think we were efficient and clinical enough," he reflected. "We lost a couple of players due to suspension tonight too. We are not going to hide behind that, though. We have paid the price by failing to take our chances. City were more clinical and more efficient and that's why they're through. Well done to them."

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