X

Top Winners and Losers After Tuesday's Champions League Semifinal Leg 2 Results

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVMay 5, 2021

Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

For a second straight game, PSG gave up two goals to Manchester City. For a second straight game, they were given a red card in the second half. And for a second straight game, they lost to Man City, this time 2-0. 

And so PSG's hopes of Champions League conquest were quashed yet again. Pep Guardiola and his City charges, meanwhile, are headed to the final for the first time in the club's history. 

Let's break down the winners and losers from an eventful and memorable 90 minutes. 


Winner: Riyad Mahrez

Mahrez scored in his third straight UCL contest, and both were the finishing touches on City's brilliant build-up play. 

The first he finished with a nutmeg under a scrambling Keylor Navas:

The second, smashed into the top of the net from an inch-perfect cross from Phil Foden:

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Right place, right time, right player.

In a game when so many City players were deserving of plaudits—Ederson (more on him below), Foden, the effervescent Kevin De Bruyne, stonewall Ruben Dias, Oleksandr Zinchenko, etc.—Mahrez's brace made him the winner of winners. 


Loser: Angel Di Maria

And then there was the loser of losers, Angel Di Maria.

In a game that saw Kylian Mbappe kept on the bench due to a lingering calf injury, PSG needed someone to step up in his wake. Neymar was threatening as always (though contained), but Mauro Icardi was largely invisible and Di Maria offered less than quality in key moments. 

Crosses missed their mark. A shot attempt from outside the box at an empty goal, with Ederson out of position after an uncharacteristic City turnover, was sent curling wide. And then the moment that sealed PSG's fate: Di Maria's completely unnecessary stomp on Fernandinho in the second half to earn him a straight red. 

All in all, a performance worth forgetting. 


Winner: Ederson

Just look at this pass:

From a keeper, no less. Goodness. 

The staunch defense in front of Ederson kept him from having to make too many saves in goal. So he decided to become a playmaker instead. 


Loser: Marco Verratti

In the wake of the Di Maria sending off, Verratti lost the plot a bit and probably was lucky he didn't get sent off himself. 

Like Di Maria, he embodied PSG's loss of composure in the second half. Which was a shame, because he was one of the better players for Paris for much of the game.


Winner: Pep Guardiola

The maestro deserves some love. 

Any way you slice it, Guardiola was the better tactician in both legs than his counterpart, Mauricio Pochettino. His adjustments in the second half of the first game completely changed that contest. 

His tactics to start on Tuesday were brilliant as well. No true No. 9? No problem. Stifling Neymar? Consider it done. Crushing PSG on the counter? Oh, you bet. 

City's players executed the game plan to perfection. But the plan itself was pretty darn perfect, too.