Sergio Aguero reminded Pep Guardiola that he is "always ready" for action, even as his Manchester City career winds down.

Knee and hamstring problems on the back of meniscus surgery last June have hindered Aguero during his 10th and final season at the Etihad Stadium.

However, the Argentina striker produced some of his vintage best on Saturday, taking a single touch to control Benjamin Mendy's cross before netting a blistering half-volley to open the scoring in City's 2-0 win at Crystal Palace.

The result means Guardiola's side are within two points of the Premier League title and their status as champions will be confirmed if Liverpool beat Manchester United on Sunday.

"Yeah, finally I could play so I am so happy," Aguero told BT Sport.

"All the time not playing 90 minutes… the goal is good. Maybe we can win the Premier League tomorrow.

"Always Mendy tries to pass to me. [That was] the only one inside the box, I needed one touch or two touches – that is my show.

"Finally I got the goal, I am happy for that."

It was only Aguero's second Premier League goal of the campaign and first from open play.

He was only starting due to Guardiola's decision to make eight changes to the side that beat Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, with City defending a 2-1 advantage back in Manchester on Tuesday.

Aguero, whose 182 Premier League goals for City overall is only one shy of Wayne Rooney's single-club record of 183 set at Manchester United, believes he can still be the man for the big occasion before his contract expires next month.

"Always I'm ready. Like I said before, I'm feeling good, my knee is so good," he said.

"I just wait for the opportunity to play like today. If on Tuesday, I don't play, it doesn't matter - I want to be with my team-mates.

"Every player wants to play, but we'll see."

Kylian Mbappe will miss Paris Saint-Germain's game against Lens on Saturday due to a calf injury that could also rule him out of the Champions League trip to Manchester City.

Mbappe played the full game as PSG lost 2-1 to the Premier League leaders in the first leg of the semi-final on Wednesday.

However, the France international – who did not have a shot against City, though he did create four chances – is not fit to feature against Lens in Ligue 1, denying him the chance to add to his tally of 25 goals in the competition this season.

PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino was vague in his response when asked about the chances of Mbappe returning in time to play at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

"Kylian has a problem with his right calf," Pochettino told the media. "We hope it is not serious and that he can be back with us as soon as possible.

"He is an important player for us and when you don’t have a key player, it always has an impact. But we have players in the squad who can do well and fill in for him.

"This will get us close to the victory that we want, which is the most important thing."

PSG led 1-0 at half-time against City, captain Marquinhos heading them in front in the 15th minute at Parc des Princes. However, Pep Guardiola's side hit back impressively after the break, turning the game around thanks to goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez.

Despite the disappointing result, Pochettino insists the mood within the squad remains positive - and made clear the immediate focus is on the Ligue 1 title race, rather than the return meeting with City.

"After losing in the Champions League, the players want to be competing again to get over that bad feeling," Pochettino said.

"The players are doing well. We lost the first leg but are motivated and convinced that we can turn it around.

"With all respect to Manchester City, we will go there to play the game. The mood is good; we are motivated for the game tomorrow, which is the most important one."

Asked about the tactical approach for the second leg, he replied: "We want to reaffirm the positive things that we did in the first leg – and there were many of them. I think we have to analyse that.

"We did very well in the first half and were superior to City. We were in the second half as well, but after conceding two goals, which were tough blows for us to take, plus the sending off [of Idrissa Gueye], meant that we played with less players.

"The team remained mentally strong against a very good Manchester City team. In terms of tactics, we will be ready for a battle."

Dani Carvajal has suffered another injury setback just three games into his comeback, with the Real Madrid defender reportedly set to miss the rest of the season.

Carvajal was out for two months earlier this year due to a hamstring issue but had returned to action on April 21, coming on as a second-half substitute in a 3-0 win at Cadiz.

The Spain international played 68 minutes in the 0-0 draw with Real Betis last weekend, while he was on the field for 77 minutes in Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Chelsea.

However, Madrid have announced he sustained an injury to a muscle in his right hamstring, though did not issue a timeframe for his potential return.

"Following the tests carried out today on our player Dani Carvajal by the Real Madrid medical department, he has been diagnosed with an injury to the semimembranosus muscle in his right leg. His recovery will be monitored," a short statement from the club read.

Several Spanish media outlets have suggested Carvajal will miss Madrid's crucial LaLiga run-in as they aim to defend their title.

Zinedine Zidane's squad have five games remaining in the domestic campaign, as well as the return fixture against Chelsea to come at Stamford Bridge next week.

If they manage to progress at the expense of the Blues in the Champions League, the 2021 final takes place in Istanbul on May 29.

Carvajal has made 15 appearances in all competitions in the 2020-21 season; Lucas Vazquez had previously filled in for his compatriot in defence but a knee ligament injury ended his season early.

However, there was some positive news on the injury front for Zidane on Thursday as Sergio Ramos returned to training.

The centre-back has not featured for Madrid since the 3-1 Champions League win over Atalanta in the second leg of the last-16 tie on March 16.

Ramos did make three appearances for Spain after that fixture, returning to his club with a calf injury. He also tested positive for coronavirus this month, but Los Blancos' posted footage on social media of the 35-year-old working with his team-mates ahead of this weekend's game against Osasuna.

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe left Fabio Capello cold with their performances for Paris Saint-Germain against Manchester City.

Italian coaching great Capello sees little prospect of a PSG comeback in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final, after City snatched a 2-1 win at Parc des Princes.

The Ligue 1 giants took a 15th-minute lead through captain Marquinhos, but Kevin De Bruyne's cross bounced beyond Keylor Navas and into the corner just after the hour mark to put City level.

The PSG defensive wall then cracked to allow Riyad Mahrez to score from a free-kick seven minutes later.

Neymar had two shots in the first 15 minutes, which both hit the target, but Mbappe did not have a single goal attempt.

Neither reached the heights they are capable of scaling, leading former Milan and Real Madrid boss Capello to wonder why they were so underwhelming.

"There were two of the favourites to win the Ballon d'Or on the pitch and they weren't filled with enthusiasm," Capello told Sky Sport Italia.

"We thought we were going to see fireworks and instead they just showed a lot of tension towards the opponent. I expected more from Mbappe and Neymar.

"The Champions League is not only about beauty, but it is also a competition in which small incidents count for a lot.

"City won with two strokes of luck. Firstly, the very serious error by Navas on De Bruyne's cross, then the bad luck PSG had on the second goal with the ball passing right through the hole in the wall."

The outcome meant PSG lost after leading at half-time in the Champions League for the first time since March 2001, when they were beaten 4-3 by Deportivo La Coruna in an epic game.

PSG were 3-0 in front early in the second half of that game but folded.

Twenty years on from that match, PSG will hope that City's lead in their last-four tie can be whittled away in the second leg next Tuesday.

Yet Capello reasoned that PSG "are unlikely to overturn" their deficit against Pep Guardiola's team, adding: "When City play calmly, they are difficult to beat."

Old Trafford will not bring Roma many happy memories when they return for their Europa League semi-final first leg against Manchester United on Thursday.

The Giallorossi first made the trip to Manchester in April 2007, having won the home leg of their Champions League last-eight tie.

That had been the sides' first ever meeting and it remains Roma's sole win in six attempts. Three times they have lost at United and the pick of those matches, in 2006-07, saw a remarkable 7-1 humbling.

With the use of Opta data, we look back on that evening and what it meant for those involved.
 

Roma's ruins

This was a major European quarter-final and Roma were set to be far from straightforward opposition for United.

The 2-1 win for the hosts at the Stadio Olimpico meant the Red Devils would have to overturn a first-leg deficit in a continental knockout tie for the first time since 1984 (excluding qualifiers). They certainly did that.

Roma actually had a greater share of possession at Old Trafford (53.7 per cent) and only attempted two shots fewer than United, but Francesco Totti squandered 10 of their 21. He at least teed up Daniele De Rossi for an exquisite consolation.

Although the Giallorossi have since also lost 7-1 to Bayern Munich in 2014 and 6-1 to Barcelona in 2015, they had not been beaten by more than four goals in Europe prior to this match.

For United, it was their biggest European win since 1968 when Waterford United were defeated by the same scoreline. It still fell some way short of their record against foreign opposition, a 10-0 1956 demolition of Anderlecht.

Ronaldo's rise

In a breakout season, this was a breakout performance from Cristiano Ronaldo.

The winger – he was definitely still a winger at that stage – had previously failed to score in his 26 appearances in Europe's premier club competition, although he impressed in Rome in the first leg.

Goals later in the second leg changed the course of Ronaldo's Champions League career, but his early work would be alien to anyone who had only seen the superstar in action for Real Madrid or Juventus in recent seasons, prowling the final third.

As so often at that time, Ronaldo's speed and skill was key in leading United's breaks from deep. He completed eight of nine attempted dribbles in this match and a pass inside from the right found Michael Carrick for the opener.

The United number seven was involved in the third goal for Wayne Rooney, too, driving United forward again, and then put Alex Ferguson's side out of sight.

More clinical than Totti with his own 10 attempts, Ronaldo raced up the right once more to drill in the fourth before half-time, breaking his Champions League duck with the first of a record 134 goals at this level and 67 in knockout matches to date.

He never looked back and the fifth goal was his, too, toeing in Ryan Giggs' low centre to reach 20 for a season for the very first time.

Ronaldo has made that mark in every subsequent campaign and there have since been a further 36 Champions League outings with two or more goals.

Smith's swansong

As Ronaldo took centre stage, there was a final flourish for a previous quarter-final scorer. Alan Smith, a star of Leeds United's 2000-01 run, was handed a rare start.

Smith's time at Old Trafford had not panned out as planned following a controversial move, his mediocre form in front of goal contributing to Ferguson's belief the England striker would be better suited to a battling midfield role.

It was there that he suffered a career-altering leg break against Liverpool in February 2006.

As Ruud van Nistelrooy left for Madrid at the end of that season, Ferguson revealed the recovering Smith was "a player we intend to convert back to centre-forward after a spell in the midfield". But the ex-Leeds favourite found himself firmly behind Rooney, Louis Saha, Henrik Larsson and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the pecking order.

By the time Smith was named in the XI – in place of now United manager Solskjaer – against Roma, he had gone 507 days without a goal.

That drought ended with a beautiful right-footed finish, a reminder of what Smith once was, to put United two up, yet this was merely a last hurrah.

Although there was a first Premier League title and an FA Cup final appearance before the end of the campaign, there were no further goals and Smith then left for Newcastle United, where he failed to score once.

When the one-time £7million man finally found the net again, playing for MK Dons in League One in April 2012, 1,838 days had passed since that special Roma strike.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is dreaming of guiding the club to their maiden Champions League final after seizing control of the blockbuster tie with Paris Saint-Germain.

Last season's runners-up PSG looked on track to clinch a semi-final first-leg advantage over City thanks to Marquinhos' 15th-minute header before the English visitors produced a second-half comeback.

Outplayed in the opening half on Wednesday, Kevin De Bruyne's awkward cross-cum-shot found the back of the net just past the hour-mark and Riyad Mahrez's free-kick put the Premier League leaders ahead seven minutes later.

Under the current format of the Champions League (since 2003-04), City became the first English side to win 10-plus games in a single campaign.

City – on the cusp of winning the Premier League – have never reached the Champions League final.

"What we have done is incredible and we compete really well. In the latter stages you cannot compete for 90 minutes perfectly," Guardiola, who led Barcelona to two Champions League titles, told reporters.

"Of course it is a dream to reach the final for the first time and we are going to do it, knowing if we are able to do what we done for 55-60 minutes or be more cautious thinking about the result, being cautious and having to defend, or thinking about winning the game.

"We are going to play the game with the mentality we will have a good chance to go through."

City have now won their past 18 away matches in all competitions, scoring 46 goals during the run while conceding just nine.

In the history of the European Cup/Champions League, there have been 47 instances before City's victory over PSG of an English side winning the first leg of a two-legged knockout tie away from home, and on all 47 occasions the English team has progressed.

Guardiola added: "I was happy in the locker room after the players were just calm. Not cheering, just calm. Anything can happen in the second leg... I know it.

"We have the pressure because we have a good results and want to reach the final but I am not talking about the consequence of the result, I am thinking about what we have to do to be ourselves.

"Now we prepare for Palace because we want to win three Premier League from the last four years. And now I am going to analyse the team. PSG can change to another system and shape and many things can happen.

"We have a feeling when they are near our box how dangerous they are. We scored two goals away from home but everything is open. And I have the feeling my players know it. So it is not necessary to tell them."

Neymar said "we lost the battle but the war continues" as the Paris Saint-Germain superstar keeps the faith with the club's Champions League hopes in the balance.

Manchester City seized control of the semi-final tie thanks to Wednesday's 2-1 victory in Paris, where Pep Guardiola's visitors produced a sensational second-half turnaround against PSG.

PSG captain Marquinhos opened the scoring in the 15th minute as last season's runners-up outplayed City in the opening half in the French capital.

But Kevin De Bruyne's awkward cross-cum-shot found the back of the net just past the hour-mark and Riyad Mahrez's free-kick put City ahead seven minutes later, while PSG ended the match with 10 men following Idrissa Gueye's 77th-minute red card.

As PSG face an uphill task ahead of their return leg in Manchester, Neymar reacted to the result via social media.

"We lost the battle but the war continues," Neymar wrote in a Twitter post post-match. "I believe in my team.

"I believe that we can be better than we were. ALLEZ PARIS. One per cent chance 99 per cent faith."

Neymar has not scored in his last six games in the knockout stages of the Champions League, with his last goal outside the group stage coming against Borussia Dortmund in 2019-20.

The midweek collapse was the first time PSG suffered Champions League defeat when leading at half-time since 2001 – against Deportivo La Coruna.

PSG are winless in their four European games against City (D2 L2), only facing Juventus (eight) on more occasions without ever winning in their history.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino pointed to his side's knockout away wins at Barcelona and Bayern Munich as he tries to reverse their 2-1 deficit against Manchester City in the Champions League semi-finals.

City triumphed 2-1 in Paris in the first leg of their final-four tie on Wednesday, leaving Pochettino's PSG with an uphill battle at the Etihad Stadium next week.

However, PSG eliminated Barcelona 5-2 on aggregate in the last 16 following a 4-1 win at Camp Nou before ousting holders Bayern on away goals following a 3-2 win at Allianz Arena in matches played behind closed doors.

"Of course, we played well in the first half [against Manchester City on Wednesday] and it's our hope to go and play well in Manchester away from home," Pochettino told reporters post-game.

"We played well in Barcelona and also in Munich. Belief is the most important.

"It's very important to have that information right now so that you can play the 90 minutes back and build on it."

It was the first time PSG suffered Champions League defeat when leading at half-time since 2001 – against Deportivo La Coruna.

PSG are winless in their four European games against City (D2 L2), only facing Juventus (eight) on more occasions without ever winning in their history.

PSG's star forwards Neymar and Kylian Mbappe – who failed to attempt a single shot for the first time in his Champions League career – had few chances on Wednesday, although Pochettino said "I think that will be different in a week".

Pochettino insisted Ligue 1 champions PSG – last season's Champions League runners-up – have the talent to overcome their first-leg deficit despite the enormity of the task against City.

"It will be complicated, because Manchester City are a great team, but we have to believe," Pochettino said. "We have the talent to do it."

PSG will be without Idrissa Gueye for the second leg after his red card for a late tackle on City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, although Pochettino refused to criticise the Senegalese midfielder.

"I have nothing to say about it, it's football, it can happen," Pochettino added. "We all make mistakes, and he made it that way. It is an action that happens in football, it is not beautiful or good, indeed, but it can happen.

"Now we have to go ahead and prepare for the next game. We have to be ready for Saturday [against Lens in Ligue 1] and then Tuesday."

Mauricio Pochettino said it is difficult to accept Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League loss to Manchester City as he rued a game of "two different halves".

City seized control of the semi-final tie thanks to Wednesday's 2-1 victory in Paris, where Pep Guardiola's visitors produced a sensational second-half turnaround against PSG.

PSG captain Marquinhos opened the scoring in the 15th minute as last season's runners-up outplayed City in the opening half in the French capital.

But Kevin De Bruyne's awkward cross-cum-shot found the back of the net just past the hour-mark and Riyad Mahrez's free-kick put City ahead seven minutes later, while PSG ended the match with 10 men following Idrissa Gueye's 77th-minute red card.

The Ligue 1 giants face an uphill task reaching the Champions League final for a second consecutive season as head coach Pochettino lamented the manner in which the Ligue 1 champions conceded.

"There were two different halves. In the first half we did well. We created chances and deserved the lead, but in the second half they were better than us," Pochettino told BT Sport.

"The two goals were accidents, but they created more than us. In the end it was one half for each of us.

"We're very disappointed with the two goals. It's difficult to accept that this happened in the semi-final – it's really painful. In the second half they were more consistent.

"It was difficult for us to cope. Physically they were a little bit more aggressive. It was difficult for us to recover the ball."

It was the first time PSG suffered Champions League defeat when leading at half-time since 2001 – against Deportivo La Coruna.

PSG are winless in their four European games against City (D2 L2), only facing Juventus (eight) on more occasions without ever winning in their history.

"In football you need to believe. We go there in six days and will try to win and score goals," said Pochettino, who guided Tottenham to the 2019 Champions League final after dramatically upstaging Guardiola's City in the quarter-finals.

"Of course we are under a little bit of pressure, but in football you need to try."

Pep Guardiola revealed how a more aggressive approach was the key to Manchester City rallying from a goal down to beat Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

Second-half goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez clinched the Premier League side a 2-1 triumph on the road in an eventful first leg of their Champions League semi-final.

City had been second best before the break as they trailed to an early Marquinhos header, though Guardiola felt they were architects of their own issues due to a lack of experience.

However, a spectacular turnaround means City have a slender lead to take into the return fixture at the Etihad Stadium, where even a 1-0 loss will be enough to secure the club a first final appearance in the competition.

"Sometimes you need to be more relaxed, a little bit more yourself," Guardiola told BT Sport.

"In the first half, it was normal. There are 180 minutes and you don't want to lose the ball, you don't play free.

"We changed a little bit the way we press, we were more aggressive as the first 20 minutes we were so passive.

"The last 10-15 minutes of the first half, then into the second half, we were more aggressive - and it is not easy to be that way with [Kylian] Mbappe, Neymar and [Angel] Di Maria, but we found the goals and could have scored another one.

"In general, I'm so satisfied for the performance. But this is halfway. We still have many more minutes to beat them, and PSG is a team where anything can happen."

City have now won their past 18 away matches in all competitions, scoring 46 goals during the run while conceding just nine.

PSG have won in Manchester once already this season – they triumphed 3-1 against City's neighbours United in the group stages in December – but will be without Idrissa Gueye for the second leg.

The midfielder became the first player to be sent off twice in a single Champions League campaign since Real Madrid's Alvaro Arbeloa in 2012-13 following a late tackle on Ilkay Gundogan.

Guardiola made clear that while City have control at the halfway stage, they must remain true to their methods as they aim to remain on course for a famous treble.

"At 1-0 they were good, we couldn't press well and didn't have good possession in the right positions," the Spaniard – twice a Champions League winner while in charge of Barcelona – said.

"Sometimes that is normal. This club doesn't have much experience in this competition in the last stages, especially semi-finals, but I think this is going to help us realise that we have to be ourselves, or anything can happen.

"In the second half we were incredibly aggressive and played really well.

"All I want is for us to be ourselves in the second leg. If we are good it is playing in a certain way, we cannot do it differently."

Kevin De Bruyne credited Pep Guardiola's changes as decisive in instigating Manchester City's turnaround against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

In what proved a gripping Champions League semi-final first leg, City looked to be in trouble early on as Marquinhos headed PSG into a 15th-minute lead, with the hosts deservedly ahead at the break.

But the second half was an entirely different story as City played more on the front foot, with De Bruyne and a Riyad Mahrez free-kick completing the turnaround.

This was the first time Kylian Mbappe completed 90 minutes in a Champions League match and failed to attempt a single shot, highlighting PSG's issues.

While City's improvement was most notable in the second period, De Bruyne felt a key alteration was made just before the half-hour mark – it may partly explain why PSG did not have a single shot on target after the 28th minute.

Speaking to BT Sport, De Bruyne said: "It was a game of two halves. We started well in the first 10 minutes but PSG are an unbelievable team and have great quality up front.

"It was a shame the way we conceded. After that they had a couple of small chances. After 25 minutes we changed the way we pressed them and it became better.

"The second half was much, much better. We put them under pressure. The first goal was a little bit lucky with the way it went in, but we played great football and we did well."

Asked to elaborate on Guardiola's instructions at the break, De Bruyne added: "[We were told to] just play a little bit more with the ball.

"The first half, we were a bit too rushed, trying to go forward too quickly and that's not the way we are set up as a team.

"In the second half we tried to find space more patiently. They're a tough team to play against. The progression we made as a team was good."

The victory puts City in charge of the tie as they look to reach their first ever Champions League final.

The omens are good for them as well: in the history of the European Cup and Champions League, there have been 47 previous instances of an English side winning the first leg of a two-legged knockout tie away from home, and on each occasion that team has progressed.

Paris Saint-Germain captain Marquinhos lamented two "really stupid goals" conceded against Manchester City, but he remains steadfast in his belief they can reach the Champions League final for a second consecutive season.

PSG – runners-up in 2020 – looked on track to clinch a first-leg advantage over City in the semi-final thanks to Marquinhos' 15th-minute header before the English visitors produced a sensational second-half comeback on Wednesday.

Outplayed in the opening half, Pep Guardiola's high-flying City seized control of the tie as Kevin De Bruyne's awkward cross-cum-shot found the back of the net just past the hour-mark and Riyad Mahrez's free-kick put the Premier League leaders ahead seven minutes later.

PSG's collapse was compounded by Idrissa Gueye's red card for a dangerous challenge on City star Ilkay Gundogan with 13 minutes remaining in the French capital.

It was the first time PSG suffered Champions League defeat when leading at half-time since 2001 – against Deportivo La Coruna – but Marquinhos is refusing to give up on reaching the Istanbul decider ahead of the return leg in Manchester.

PSG are winless in their four European games against City (D2 L2), only facing Juventus (eight) on more occasions without ever winning in their history.

"It's true that in the second half we were too far behind, we couldn't get out of our half," Marquinhos, who became only the third player in Champions League history to score in both the quarter-finals and semi-finals in consecutive seasons, told RMC Sport.

"The City team were more aggressive, they played higher. That was it. We need to be more consistent in both periods in the next game, we have 90 minutes left but we have to do better to get to the final.

"It's hard to analyse immediately, but it's hard when you run behind the ball. We couldn't counter them well. You have to be smart, see the strategies that can be put in place. We conceded two really stupid goals, these are details, it's the Champions League. You have to better manage these little details and stay strong in goal situations.

"The return match? It will take personality, whoever does not believe in it should not even go there. It takes a warrior mentality, doing whatever it takes to get through. 

"We are very close, we must not doubt [ourselves] now. We have to improve what we did not do well today, but we have everything we need to reverse the situation. You have to believe and be strong."

Kylian Mbappe turned towards the bench. A wry grin was accompanied by what looked like a knowing nod, one that portrayed supreme confidence.

Had you been Joao Cancelo and seen such a display of composure from a player as deadly as Mbappe ahead of a Champions League semi-final, you might have been tempted to ask for an immediate substitution.

While much of the pre-match build-up from the PSG perspective focused on the Frenchman and his illustrious strike partner Neymar, in the end their magic was in short supply in Paris as Manchester City seemingly put one foot in next month's final.

City winning 2-1 wouldn't have been backed by many punters on the back of a particularly gripping first half at the end of which PSG arguably should've been more than 1-0 to the good.

There was a key pattern to the first half established within two minutes as PSG showed the raw tenacity of their midfield. Rodri was robbed and a counter was sprung, leading to Neymar shooting at Ederson.

That relentlessness from the PSG central trio was essential to the hosts outcompeting their City counterparts in the first 45 minutes.

While Mbappe and Neymar had been the centre of attention, it was their supporting case who were shining.

Mauricio Pochettino's set-up highlighted the respect held for Pep Guardiola and City, as PSG's shape resembled two banks of four designed to snuff out the spaces that the likes of Kevin De Bruyne enjoy exploiting.

But on top of that, PSG almost constantly had Mbappe and Neymar up as a central attacking duo. Pochettino was well aware that counter-attacking teams led by ball-carriers have been a problem for City.

Neymar's trickery at times in the first half certainly didn't make life easier for City. He left a couple of defenders in knots when testing Ederson in the 13th minute, before then pulling off a clever nutmeg on De Bruyne.

But for the most part PSG's star duo took something of a backseat.

Idrissa Gueye, Leandro Paredes and Marco Verratti were especially effective as they hounded after the City midfield, while the threat of counter-attacks meant City's full-backs played withdrawn roles.

While they would normally create overloads out wide, there was little sign of that as Cancelo and Kyle Walker were forced to sit deep.

Marquinhos' wonderful header was a just reward for PSG's excellent first-half display and might have had some pointing out: 'Hey, there's more to PSG than Mbappe and Neymar!'

But the tables turned in the second half, and dramatically so.

With the full-backs pushed higher and the wide midfielders coming in a little narrower, City looked to suffocate PSG and keep them penned into their own half as much as possible.

The intensity adopted by the likes of Verratti, Paredes and Gueye was seemingly unsustainable and the out-ball to Mbappe was cut out instantly almost every time, while Neymar became a passenger.

The Brazilian's most significant movement after the break was to sprint 30 metres to ask the referee to send De Bruyne off. He was unsuccessful.

City's start to the second half saw them well on top and that remained the status quo virtually until full-time, as they appeared in less of a rush and instead returned to their ideals relating to ball retention.

The equaliser certainly had a hint of fortune about it as De Bruyne's delivery from deep went all the way in, but it was a consequence of City's unrelenting pressure.

Their second, not too long after, will undoubtedly have Pochettino asking questions of his players, with Riyad Mahrez's free-kick somehow allowed to squeeze through a feeble wall.

Gueye's straight red then helped maintain City's lead, but it was Guardiola's changes at the interval – getting City back on the front foot and in control – that proved pivotal.

The Catalan has frequently in the past been accused of getting in his own way, overcomplicating things and getting caught out, especially in this competition.

Not here, though. No, he went back to basics when their situation was looking a little dicey and it proved a masterstroke.

Manchester City produced a sensational second-half turnaround to seize control of their Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain, Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez getting the goals in a 2-1 first-leg triumph.

A pulsating contest at the Parc des Princes saw PSG take a 15th minute lead when captain Marquinhos – returning to action from a groin injury – headed in at a corner.

However, having been second best during the first half, City were vastly improved after the break, an equaliser arriving when De Bruyne's curling delivery into the penalty area drifted beyond everybody to find the net.

An 18th straight away triumph for Pep Guardiola's side was secured courtesy of a Mahrez free-kick that found a gap in the wall and, having lost control of the game, PSG then lost their cool in the closing stages, Idrissa Gueye shown a straight red for a dangerous challenge on Ilkay Gundogan.

There had been little sign of the drama to come at half-time. The hosts were deservedly ahead after Marquinhos – who had not played since scoring in a 3-2 win over Bayern Munich in the quarter-final first leg – had flicked in a deliciously whipped-in delivery from Angel Di Maria.

City's best chance to equalise before the break came when the hosts gifted them possession, but Phil Foden was only able to shoot straight at Keylor Navas when afforded a clear sight of the target.

Yet Pep Guardiola's side penned PSG in to change the complexion of the tie completely. They had a 65.1 per cent share of possession after the interval, leading to them getting two crucial away goals ahead of the return fixture next week.

De Bruyne appeared to be aiming for a team-mate but ended up scoring himself, though there was no doubt Mahrez meant his strike, PSG crumbling under pressure.

While there is still work to do back in Manchester, a first-ever Champions League final appearance for the club is within City's grasp thanks to an unforgettable night in Paris.

Neymar believes he and Kylian Mbappe have formed the best duo in world football at Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe and Neymar are expected to start when PSG host Manchester City in the first leg of their huge Champions League semi-final tie on Wednesday.

The French champions were beaten by Bayern Munich in the final of last season's competition and are looking to become the ninth team to reach back-to-back finals.

Neymar arrived from Barcelona in 2017, the same summer when Mbappe was brought in from Monaco – with the two deals remaining the most expensive transfers in football history.

The two world-class forwards are at different stages of their careers and both are out of contract in 2022.

Neymar hopes they can continue their partnership at PSG, which he believes is making history, for the foreseeable future.

"With Kylian Mbappe, our relationship has always been very good since his arrival," Neymar said to RMC.

"We have been playing together for four years now and making history. He is a very high level player with whom I take a lot of fun playing. 

"I hope we will continue to play together for many years to come because it's hard to find such a duo for sure. 

"I don't see a better duo than us in football."

City eliminated PSG in their only previous knockout tie meeting in European football, progressing 3-2 on aggregate in the Champions League quarter-final five years ago.

Neymar has either scored or assisted in each of his three appearances in a Champions League semi-final.

The Brazil forward has also had a direct hand in nine goals from his 12 matches against English sides in the competition (five goals and four assists).

He thinks PSG, now managed by Mauricio Pochettino after the sacking of Thomas Tuchel, are playing at their highest level since he signed for the club.

"Absolutely," he said. "We are a team that are much more prepared and we know what to do. 

"Last year we went to the final, we hope to get there again. 

"I'm calm, I have complete confidence in my team, in my team-mates - we will get there."

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