Football

Money not the only reason behind City's first Champs League final: Pep

Big-spending Manchester City finally reached their first Champions League final in history after seeing off Paris Saint-Germain over two legs, but manager Pep Guardiola insisted that money was not the only reason they got there.

Thanks to a Riyad Mahrez double, the Citizens defeated PSG 2-0 in the semi-final, second leg yesterday morning (Singapore time) to seal a 4-1 aggregate victory. They will meet Chelsea or Real Madrid in the May 29 final in Istanbul.

Paying tribute to everyone at the club after the victory, Guardiola said: "Of course, we've invested money in the last decade since Sheikh Mansour took over the club, but it's not just about this.

"If you want to think it's just about money, it's okay. But there is a lot of incredible things behind the scenes, a lot of people working, supporting and a clear strategy to do it.

"To reach the Champions League final is so difficult. It's the toughest one but we did it."

Mahrez put City ahead in the 11th minute, making no mistake after Kevin de Bruyne's blocked shot fell to him in the box.

The visitors, who were without the injured Kylian Mbappe, could have levelled five minutes later but Marquinhos headed an Angel di Maria cross against the bar from close range.

Di Maria was next to miss when, after robbing Bernardo Silva of the ball, he failed to find the target with City custodian Ederson out of position.

Without Mbappe, Neymar was rarely a danger, floating deep as he looked for the ball.

City put the tie beyond PSG in the 63rd minute with a classic counter-attack, as Phil Foden burst down the left and, after a quick exchange with de Bruyne, he picked out Mahrez at the back post who slotted in from close range.

Just as they did in the 2-1 first-leg defeat, PSG suffered a second-half capitulation.

Their players started losing their cool and Angel di Maria was sent off in the 69th minute for an off-the-ball stamp on Fernandinho before Marco Verratti, Presnel Kimpembe and Danilo Pereira were all booked.

PSG's players then accused Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers of insulting them.

"They lost their nerve and started to kick us and after the red card it was more comfortable," said Mahrez, who was born and bred in Paris.

PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino, who masterminded wins over Barcelona and Bayern Munich, was a disappointed man after the final whistle.

He told French broadcaster RMC Sport: "I congratulated Manchester City but I feel disappointed because we deserved more, but they were more clinical than us." - AFP, REUTERS

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