Born in Sarcelles, Riyad Mahrez (30) was happy to return to Île-de-France on Wednesday. On the lawn of the Parc des Princes, the left-hander did not miss this reunion. Aligned on the right side, he was, throughout the match, one of the best elements of his team. It was he who, in the heart of the second half, scored with a free kick the goal of victory for his Manchester City (1-2, semi-final first leg of the Champions League).
If he was rather well taken early in the game by Mitchel Bakker, often helped by Marco Verratti, the Algerian was a constant threat to the Parisian defense. He was very close to equalizing at the half hour mark but saw Leandro Paredes come back out of nowhere to get his head out, then gaining strength after the locker room. “We came back in the second half, we said to ourselves: ‘we lose 1-0, we will look for them. We stay in their camp, we play our football”. In the second half, we were better, but we weren’t at the top, I think ”, he soberly analyzed at the microphone of RMC Sport.
Impermeable to pressure
We will obviously remember this free kick, which he asks Kevin De Bruyne, his captain and usual shooter, to leave him, and his goal therefore, but also his dangerous ball for Phil Foden (75th) and his strike from close range ( 84th). Encouraged as one man by a citizen bench, very participatory throughout the meeting, Fennec therefore donned the savior costume and confirmed that he had become, over the months, one of the bosses of this Mancunian team. Pep Guardiola, interviewed at a post-match press conference, could only bow.
“Riyadh played very well. He’s been really good the last few months. He was very aggressive from the start, as with his pass for Kevin De Bruyne at the start of the match, magnificently defended by Marquinhos. He played really well, with personality. Riyadh is someone who doesn’t feel the pressure, he manages these big meetings very well ”, greeted the Catalan, conquered. He will still need him next week to validate the qualification for the Champions League final.