Cantor of the collective, Pep Guardiola was also able to count on the success and individual qualities of Riyad Mahrez to take his Manchester City to the Champions League final. After his winning free kick at the Parc des Princes on the first leg, the Algerian scored twice in the semi-final second leg (2-0) on Tuesday, May 4. A form of consecration for the child of Sarcelles who is having his best season with the Citizens.
After the hail, which fell in abundance before the kick-off, Paris twice took lightning. In the costume of Zeus, a former kid from the Parisian suburbs, born a few kilometers from the Parc des Princes. Curious fate than that of Riyad Mahrez, passed through Quimper in CFA before joining Le Havre in Ligue 2, failed by OM, his club at heart, before exploding in Leicester. The Foxes’ wisp during this incredible epic of the title of champion of England (2016), the Algerian left-hander did not have it easy when he arrived at the Sky Blues of Pep Guardiola. Perhaps too “free” to come under the demanding Spanish technician on his right side. The frame, he ended up getting in the lead and finding it three times against PSG.
On the first leg, his kick had cracked the Parisian wall, offering a precious victory to his team (1-2). He was finishing a match where he had made Bakker dizzy with his twirling dribbles. On the return, Mahrez finished burying Parisian hopes almost on his own. An achievement full of cold blood in each half. The first to take a strike countered by Kevin de Bruyne in a tight angle (1-0, 11th). And in the second half, on a sublime counter-attack, he received an offering from Phil Foden perfectly put out of reach of Navas (2-0, 63rd).
Here he is involved in 21 City goals this season. Already scorer in Dortmund in the return quarter-finals, the Algerian has a third consecutive Champions League match with at least one goal. “Of course, scoring in big games, big moments, is what we dream of when we are young.“, he commented soberly after the meeting. “I managed to score three times, it’s good for the team.“
2 – Riyad Mahrez is only the 2nd player to score in the first leg and the return of a Champions League semi-final with an English club after Sadio Mané with Liverpool in 2017/18. Vista. pic.twitter.com/lSSV3vEOen
– OptaJean (@OptaJean) May 4, 2021
It is also for these qualities of finisher and blaster that Guardiola had chosen to attract him to City. The acclimatization was not easy but Mahrez held on until he became this “guy dancing on the field“, according to his trainer.”He’s been really good the last few months, confirmed the Spaniard after the first leg. He played really well, with personality. Riyadh is someone who doesn’t feel the pressure, he manages these big meetings very well. “ At 30, Mahrez was not born from the last hail. Winner of the CAN with Algeria in 2019, he is very close to a first title in C1.