Manchester City’s two-goal hero Riyad Mahrez deflected the praise for Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final triumph over Paris St Germain towards his defensive team mates after a 2-0 home win earned a place in the final by 4-1 on aggregate.
The victory ended manager Pep Guardiola’s 10-year wait to return to the final of the competition he regularly describes as the pinnacle of the club game and sees City in the showpiece match for the first time.
“You have to be solid and everybody has to be solid defensively and that’s what we did. We didn’t concede much and I think that’s why we’re in the final,” said Mahrez, who had also scored in the first leg.
City’s back line ensured that PSG did not manage a single dangerous shot on target with central defenders John Stones and Ruben Dias both outstanding.
City are famed for their domination of possession and carefully constructed goals but Mahrez’s two goals both came after classic counter-attacks.
“It wasn’t the gameplan to counter attack, but they had to come at us and maybe at times we were a bit deeper and we are good on the counter. That’s how the two goals came about and we are happy,” said Algeria international Mahrez.
“It was a very good game. We didn’t start well again – we didn’t have a good first half – but we got the goal and we were more comfortable. We played well in second half and we could have scored more. They lost their nerve and started to kick us and after the red card it was more comfortable,” he said.
PSG’s Argentina winger Angel Di Maria was sent off in the 69th minute after a clash with Fernandinho.