Kevin De Bruyne once again made himself the man of the moment at the Etihad on Tuesday night, as his sole goal powered his Manchester City side to the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in their history, beating a Paris St-Germain side lacking their usual flair in a match which ended 3-2 on aggregate.
Man City could count themselves a little bit unlucky prior to De Bruyne’s 76th minute strike, with the usually skilful boot of Sergio Aguero missing a first-half penalty, and their defence alongside goalkeeper Joe Hart putting in one of their best performances of the season to keep out PSG’s star striker Zlatan Ibrahimović. In the end De Bruyne’s effort was to prove their only shot on goal of the match. The French league leaders dominated possession but never truly threatened in the final third, until Ibrahimović found the net five minutes from time, only for the goal to be ruled out by the assistant’s flag.
There were jubilant scenes from the home fans as the full time whistle blew, and although bookmakers make the Manchester side outsiders to lift the trophy, supporters will no doubt be dreaming of the final in Milan on 28 May, a game they’re now just once match away from.
Also on Tuesday Real Madrid ensured their place in the final four with an authoritative 3-0 victory over Wolfsburg courtesy of a hat trick from Cristiano Ronaldo for a 3-2 victory on aggregate, but Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane was keen to emphasise the efforts of ‘the whole team’ post-match, despite Ronaldo’s ‘special’ performance.
Wednesday brought the biggest shock of the quarter finals to the competition, with current holders Barcelona crashing out to Atletico Madrid 2-0 on the night (3-2 on aggregate) meaning that it will now have been 26 years since a team has defended their European crown. Meanwhile Bayern Munich ensured that there will be a least some German representation in the semis as their one goal advantage from their first leg with Benfica saw them through following a 2-2 tussle on the night.
The draw for the semi-finals of the 2015-16 Champions League will be made on Friday, with matches played on the 26-27 April and 3-4 May.
Featured image: Oli Scarff/AFP