Browsing Tag

Norwich City

732 posts

It’s like Kevin De Bruyne is playing FIFA on ‘easy’ mode and it’s ‘frightening’ what Manchester City can do, recalls Todd Cantwell who explains what it’s like to face Player of the Year candidate

Manchester City are widely recognised as one of the best teams in the world – and Kevin De Bruyne one of the game’s finest players. Pep Guardiola’s side, with the playmaker in the side have already lifted the Carabao Cup this season, are on the cusp of winning the Premier League and have booked a […]
Read More

Manchester City 2-0 PSG (agg: 4-1): Champions League semi-final, second leg – as it happened

Riyad Mahrez scored twice to book City’s trip to Istanbul 10.42pm BST Player ratings. Related: Manchester City 2-0 Paris St-Germain: player ratings from the semi-final 10.40pm BST Congratulations to Manchester City, then, for reaching their very first European Cup final. They’ll play either Real Madrid or Chelsea on 29 May. David Hytner was at the Etihad this evening to witness a little bit of history. Click below for his report. Thanks for reading this MBM. Nighty night! Related: Mahrez fires Manchester City into first Champions League final after win over PSG 10.32pm BST Kyle Walker is also a very content man. “For a boy from Sheffield, it’s what you dream about. It’s a dream come true. Against top-quality players, we needed to put in a shift. We controlled the game well considering the amount of talent they have. It’s a team game, we all go and celebrate a goal, but for us as defenders the main thing is keeping clean sheets. So blocking a shot is just like scoring a goal for me. We’re human, we feel nerves just like the fans, and it was about controlling that.” 10.23pm BST An extremely happy Pep speaks to BT. “It is definitely a huge step forward for the club. I am incredibly proud. My first thought is for the players who didn’t play today. I know for them it is so tough, they deserved to play, and everyone has made his contribution in this Champions League season. We have one step to the Premier League, then two or three weeks to prepare for the final. PSG put a lot of players in the middle, and we struggled a lot to make the high press, but in the second half was fantastic. An aggregate 4-1 against a team that knocked out Barcelona and Bayern Munich, so that means a lot to us. PSG are huge competitors, they fought until the end, but we were so composed. We suffered together, and we did it. We are in the final of the Champions League and those are nice words!” 10.10pm BST Some post-match managerial chit-chat coming up, but in the meantime, David Hytner’s report has landed. Be about your business! Related: Mahrez fires Manchester City into first Champions League final after PSG win 10.01pm BST Riyad Mahrez speaks to BT! “It was a very good game. We didn’t start good again. We didn’t have a very good first half but we scored the goal. In the second half we played very good and could have scored more. They lost their nerves and started kicking us. After the red card it was more comfortable for us. We were good in the counter, and that’s how the two goals were. It is something we work on all the time, and today it worked good. Everyone had to contribute defensively, and that’s what we did. We didn’t concede much, and now we’re in the final. We have a game on Saturday we have to win to be champions, and then we can concentrate on the final. Ah, finally!” 9.59pm BST On May 29, Manchester City will face either Chelsea or Real Madrid in the 2021 Champions League final! Oleksandr Zinchenko is close to tears, though everyone else remains reasonably calm, the enormity of what they’ve achieved perhaps yet to sink in. Or perhaps they’re just tired. Ah hold on, here’s the birthday boy Fernandinho, 36 years young today, smiling widely. He was immense this evening, one of many City heroes. Phil Foden, Ruben Dias and the two-goal Riyad Mahrez are also worthy of citation. Pep congratulates his men … as does his opposite number Poch, with the good grace that some of his charges lacked towards the end of the game. 9.55pm BST Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Fernandinho, happy birthday to you! 9.54pm BST 90 min +2: Neymar aims for the top right, but the free kick is nowhere near. Not his night, huh. 9.53pm BST 90 min +1: Neymar is bundled over, 25 yards out. Chance for a consolation. 9.53pm BST 90 min: In 120 seconds, Manchester City will be celebrating their first Champions League final. 9.52pm BST 89 min: PSG are a pitiful rabble now. Danilo attacks Jesus from behind, his studs catching the striker’s knee. PSG should be down to eight, and Walker standing on Neymar’s foot earlier in the move offers no mitigation. 9.50pm BST 87 min: Kimpembe is booked for one of Zach Neeley’s 1970s scythes on Jesus. He really should be walking, but Jesus did him a favour by jumping out of the way and not complaining too much. Just a yellow, which is preposterous really. Had Jesus’ leg been planted, that could have been very ugly. 9.49pm BST 86 min: Sterling nearly zips clear down the middle, but loses his footing. He somehow manages to keep chasing the ball for a good 20 yards before the inevitable happens and he falls over. Some good slapstick styling there. 9.48pm BST 85 min: The astonishing Foden is replaced by the equally amazing Aguero. 9.47pm BST 84 min: A couple of City corners. Nothing happens, but no matter. This has long been over. “In the old days, a leg breaker might be coming from PSG,” notes Zach Neeley, not inaccurately. “There are some upsides to the modern mercenary game.” 9.45pm BST 82 min: The only worry for City now is whether anyone foolishly gets themselves suspended for the final. With this in mind, Guardiola hooks De Bruyne, on a yellow, and Silva. On come Sterling and Jesus. PSG meanwhile switch Diallo for Bakker. 9.44pm BST 81 min: With nine minutes remaining, City have one foot and four toes in the Istanbul final. On the touchline, Pep is still gesticulating like a man attempting to bring six planes in to land at once. Of course his is. 9.42pm BST 80 min: Foden has yet another go from distance. Navas denies him. The young man has done everything but score. Maybe he’s saving the fairytale for the final. 9.41pm BST 79 min: PSG have actually had more attempts in this match, 12 to 11. Only problem is, none of them have been on target. City have had four. 9.40pm BST 77 min: Foden spins into space down the left before gazzaing his way down the flank and pearling a low diagonal shot off the base of the right-hand post. Exclusive breaking news: this kid is quite the talent. 9.39pm BST 76 min: PSG replace Florenzi and Paredes with Danilo and Dagba, then nearly put the tin lid on everything as Navas just escapes De Bruyne’s press while playing out from the back. Once again, this has been a quite spectacular unravelling by the Parisians. 9.37pm BST 74 min: Mahrez sails in from the right and nearly completes a hat-trick with a curl into the bottom left. Blocked. The loose ball is shuttled away by Paredes, who is blocked by De Bruyne. The City man goes in the book, though remember, despite having been yellow-carded in the first leg, he won’t miss the final, as you need to accumulate three yellows to earn a suspension. 9.35pm BST 72 min: Zinchenko eventually calms down. Verratti not so much, as he flies into another stupid challenge. PSG have totally misplaced the collective noggin. They’ll do well to end the match with ten men. 9.35pm BST 71 min: Verratti clatters into the back of Foden, the head gone. Just a yellow. Zinchenko loses the plot completely as Paredes flicks the ball off the prone Foden’s head. Verratti is booked, and so is Zinchenko, who also cops a bollocking off his captain Fernandinho. The old boy doesn’t want to see his team-mate talk himself out of the final. 9.33pm BST 69 min: It was always bound to happen. Di Maria and Fernandinho tussle over a throw. Fernandinho cheekily nudges the ball away. Di Maria flashes a kick at the Brazilian, clipping him. The referee has no option. Fernandinho perhaps went over easily, but he’s played his opponent there. So stupid from Di Maria. 9.30pm BST 68 min: PSG win a corner down the left. Di Maria takes. Who’s there to clear? Dias, naturally. This is getting old! 9.29pm BST 66 min: Draxler drives down the inside-right channel before reaching the box and creaming a shot goalwards. Dias flings himself in the road. Another heroic block. What a defender. 9.27pm BST 64 min: PSG now need three goals in 26 minutes. Not impossible, but it’d be peak old-school City if they somehow make it. And they’re not playing peak old-school City. The Champions League final is with touching distance now! 9.26pm BST … City break quickly, Foden and De Bruyne one-twoing down the left. Foden into space. He rolls crisply across the face of goal. Mahrez, coming in from the right, roofs home fro six yards. Simple as that, but so lethal. Istanbul ahoy! 9.25pm BST 62 min: PSG make their big move, swapping Herrera and Icardi for Kean and Draxler. But it could all be in vain, because … 9.24pm BST 61 min: So having said that, PSG finally cause some bother in the final third. Di Maria crosses from the right; Stones hoicks clear as Icardi was shaping to shoot from six yards. Di Maria’s cross is then half-cleared, falling to Herrera, whose scissor volley is taken full in the face by the brave Dias. What fine last-gasp defending! 9.23pm BST 60 min: PSG have enjoyed nearly 60 percent possession in this second half … but as yet, Ederson has had nothing to do. City are doing a proper number on the French champions right now. 9.22pm BST 59 min: Mahrez hands off Herrera. Free kick, though the PSG midfielder holds his mouth before gesticulating towards the referee, who isn’t much interested. The visitors getting a little frustrated, as they struggle to bust out of the City press, which is forcing them deep. 9.20pm BST 57 min: There’s a heightened atmosphere now. PSG are beginning to throw more bodies forward as the clock ticks on, leaving City opportunities on the break. 9.18pm BST 55 min: Neymar embarks on a George Best style diagonal dribble, left to right. He nearly works enough space for a shot … only for his effort to be blocked brilliantly by Zinchenko, who then celebrates with Dias like he’s just scored a last-minute winner in the final! If you didn’t already know how important this is to City, you’ll be aware now. 9.16pm BST 54 min: De Bruyne releases Foden down the inside-left channel with a peach of a pass. Foden is clear … but his eventual shot is smothered by Navas. The flag goes up anyway, but City come again, Foden having another whack from distance. Navas parries this one well, too. 9.15pm BST 52 min: Neymar slips a pass down the left for Verratti, who earns a corner off Walker. Di Maria takes. Fernandinho heads out for an action replay. Di Maria takes again … and the referee spots some Parisian shoving in the middle, blowing up for a City free kick. Mind you, Dias shoved Paredes in the back there, taking quite a risk because you’ve seen penalties given for less. 9.13pm BST 51 min: It’s all a bit slow right now, which suits City perfectly. Time is already conspiring against PSG. 9.11pm BST 49 min: Verratti dribbles neatly down the left before slipping the ball inside for Di Maria, whose shot is calmly blocked by Stones. 9.09pm BST 47 min: It’s still raining, though. 9.08pm BST 46 min: The groundstaff have cleared most of the snow from the pitch. There are still patches, but the pitch no longer looks like a cheap Christmas card. City are quickly on the front foot, but De Bruyne’s effort squirts through to Navas, who claims easily enough. 9.07pm BST City get the second half underway. No changes … so that means no Mbappe. Yet. City are so close to the final of the Champions League at long, long, long last. PSG need … well, not a miracle, but they’ve got quite a job on here. “Like a Pochettino-coached team is going to score three times in the second half of a Champions League match away from home,” tuts James Maslen. Related: Ajax 2-3 Tottenham (agg: 3-3): Champions League semi-final, second leg – as it happened 8.56pm BST Half-time postbag. “No matter who scores the next goal, it’s going to be interesting. If PSG score, game on. If City score, let the PSG full-on meltdown begin” – Rob Coughlin “I love how Ruben Dias has added a swagger to City’s defending nowadays, even in a semi-final, as exemplified by that sliding headed block of the cross. What a stud” – Nas Iqbal 8.51pm BST … that’s the end of the first half. Wow, that flew by. PSG have played more of the football, on balance, but have achieved nothing in the final third. City by contrast have looked solid and calm at the back, and occasionally dangerous up front, with Riyad Mahrez scoring that precious, nerve-settling goal. Manchester City are 45 minutes away from their first-ever European Cup / Champions League final! PSG need two goals to take the tie into extra time. 8.49pm BST 45 min +3: Mahrez has another crack from the spot where he scored the goal. It’s blocked. Silva latches onto the rebound and tries a curler towards the top left. That’s deflected out for a corner. One corner leads to another, and … 8.48pm BST 45 min +1: Marquinhos should clear a long ball down the City left, but allows De Bruyne to nick the ball away. Fortunately for the visitors, he recovers the situation just in time, before De Bruyne can skitter free. 8.46pm BST 45 min: PSG continue to hog the ball, but City’s shape is solid and there’s no way through. There will be three added first-half minutes. 8.45pm BST 43 min: Di Maria feeds Neymar, 20 yards out. His shot is blocked. The ball breaks right to Paredes, whose low drive into the six-yard box is spectacularly blocked and headed out for a corner by Dias. For a split second there, a PSG tap-in looked the most likely outcome. What a block! Nothing comes of the corner. 8.43pm BST 41 min: A little bit of space down the left for Foden. He feeds Mahrez, who attempts a snapshot from a tight angle. The ball breaks up into the air, allowing Navas to claim. 8.41pm BST 39 min: Silva clips the ankle of Neymar, and is slightly fortunate not to go in the referee’s notebook. Neymar isn’t impressed and briefly goes nose to nose with the City midfielder. The ref places himself in between the pair, and everyone calms down quickly enough. But there remains a sense that PSG are combustable, and it might not take too much more for everything to spark, if things don’t start going their way soon. 8.39pm BST 37 min: A free kick for City out on the right. Everyone lines up on the edge of the Paris box. De Bruyne’s delivery is uncharacteristically poor, failing to beat first man Diallo, and the danger is cleared. “Am finding almost nothing to latch onto here in terms of drama or tension,” writes the jaded Ian Copestake, who may not find too many City fans in agreement. “Am not even feeling any spiteful pleasure at watching millionaires forced to play out in the May snow.” 8.37pm BST 36 min: Di Maria and Diallo cause a few problems down the left, and the ball breaks to Herrera, who creams a first-time shot towards the top-left corner from the edge of the box. Just wide; just over. A fine effort, though Ederson almost certainly had it covered. 8.36pm BST 35 min: It’s PSG’s turn to ping it around in a sterile fashion. City’s press keeps them on their toes, and they go nowhere in particular. 8.34pm BST 33 min: Some room for Di Maria down the middle. He’s got Neymar and Icardi to his left, but hesitates, allowing City’s defence to funnel back and get into position. Eventually a high ball’s flung into a crowded box and easily claimed by Ederson. 8.33pm BST 31 min: De Bruyne has a look from distance. Nope, though Navas scrambles after it in the manner of someone who knows another City goal would almost certainly be terminal for the visitors. 8.32pm BST 29 min: Nothing much comes of the City corner. A free kick is eventually awarded … just in time for PSG, too, because Herrera was arriving to get involved, and would surely have escalated a garden-variety minor tangle into an international incident had the whistle not gone. He really does need to take it down a notch. Someone should press a ball of lovely cool snow onto his brow, or the nape of his neck. 8.29pm BST 28 min: Foden gets out his shovel in the snow, and dinks a pass down the inside-left channel. He’s this close from releasing De Bruyne. Florenzi toe-pokes out for a corner, just in time. 8.28pm BST 27 min: Di Maria dinks a cross in from the left. Too long for Herrera, who at least seems to have calmed down a bit since his four-minute tantrum. Goal kick. 8.27pm BST 26 min: Everyone’s been getting a little over-heated, despite the weather, so City calm things down with some sterile possession in midfield. “I’m watching on Univison in the US, where the Spanish-language commentators are almost as loud as the piped-in ‘stadium noises’,” writes Justin Kavanagh. “And with all that white on the pitch, I’m having flashbacks to the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. I expect Pochettino to start chain-smoking any minute now.” Related: The Joy of Six: smoking sports stars 8.25pm BST 24 min: Di Maria tries to release Neymar down the middle, but there’s too much weight on the pass and it sails through to Ederson. PSG have enjoyed 55 percent of possession so far. 8.24pm BST 22 min: Herrera is now asking Gundogan for a square go, after being harshly penalised for a 50-50 challenge with Silva. His over-reaction earns the first yellow card of the game. It’s a bit early for PSG to enter into meltdown, surely? “As PSG’s chances go downhill on the snowy piste, I expect that we will see an increasing number of slalom runs by Neymar,” quips Peter Oh, because somebody had to. 8.21pm BST 20 min: Kimpembe is down, getting some treatment having copped an accidental slap in the mush from Stones. Then, before you know it, he’s up and good to continue. 8.21pm BST 19 min: Ederson rolls the ball out to Gundogan, who is immediately stripped of possession by Di Maria. The goal is unguarded, but Di Maria flashes his shot inches wide of the right-hand post. City were so close to gifting PSG a precious away goal. 8.19pm BST 18 min: A hand-ball decision goes against Foden. Herrera gets up in his grille and there’s a bit of shoving. Both referee and the nearby Pochettino both step in to calm things down. 8.18pm BST 16 min: Neymar takes, looking for the top left. It’s not a particularly good effort, but Fernandinho eyebrows it into the air anyway, and it’s the first corner of the game. From that, PSG faff about on the left. Then suddenly Di Maria crosses, Marquinhos rising highest in the middle to meet the ball. He guides a header across Ederson and off the top of the crossbar! City hurry to clear. What a breathless start to this game! 8.16pm BST 15 min: Neymar sashays in from the left at full tilt. Gundogan nibbles at his ankle and he goes down, just outside the D, in a central position. Di Maria and Neymar’s eyes light up. 8.15pm BST 14 min: PSG continue to attack with purpose, though. Diallo crosses low from the left but there’s nobody in dark blue making a run. Ederson gathers in his snow-flecked six-yard box. 8.14pm BST 13 min: What a nerve-settler! City started this match very gingerly, but that superbly clinical move has changed the mood entirely! The task isn’t much different for PSG as things stand – they still need to score twice – but now City have an extra insurance policy. Kuipers pointed to the spot six minutes ago; it already seems like six years! 8.12pm BST … but it’s City who break through first! Ederson launches a long pass down the left for Zinchenko. He pulls back to De Bruyne, who shoots. Blocked. The ball breaks to the right, and Mahrez gets to it first, driving across Navas and into the bottom left! City edge ever closer to Istanbul! 8.11pm BST 9 min: City will nevertheless reflect that they’ve been second best so far, having started slowly. Walker in particular will be thankful the penalty decision was overturned; during the build-up to the incident, he was robbed easily by Icardi near the left-hand corner flag. 8.09pm BST 7-8 min: Drama as the ball is crossed into the City mixer from the left. Neymar misses a header. The ball clips off Zinchenko’s shoulder, but the referee points to the spot! Zinchenko loses the place completely, understandably so, but no worries: the referee keeps calm, goes over to the VAR monitor, and admits his mistake. We play on, and City breathe again. 8.07pm BST 6 min: Di Maria dribbles down the left before falling theatrically as he enters the City box. He screams for a penalty he’s never going to get. 8.06pm BST 5 min: The first shot in anger is taken by Neymar, just inside the City box on the left. Stones blocks. This is a confident start by the visitors. 8.05pm BST 4 min: It’s slightly surreal to see a pitch for a Champions League semi covered in snow. Of the two teams, PSG seem to have acclimatised the quicker, but there’s a fair bit of slipping going on, and the ball leaves a white trail as it rolls this way and that. 8.03pm BST 2 min: The birthday boy Fernandinho, 36, slides in late on Di Maria. Just a foul, but he’s already on a warning from the referee. 8.02pm BST 20 secs: Foden stands on Florenzi’s toe. Welcome to Manchester. 8.01pm BST PSG get the ball rolling … but only after everyone takes a knee. There’s no room for racism. Challenge it. Report it. Change it. Kick it out. 8.00pm BST Here come the teams! City in their famous sky blue, PSG in their first-choice dark blue with red vertical stripe. It’s a chilly night in Manchester, the groundstaff forced to run a broom over the lines to clear them of the light dusting of snow that carpets the Etihad. It’s the fourth of May! The old adversaries Pep and Poch hug. We’ll be off in a minute. “Everything points to a City win,” begins Mary Waltz. “I think they are the better side. But if PSG scores an early first goal will City start to see the Ghosts of previous CL failures? I doubt it but the mind is a powerful thing, for bad and for good.” 7.49pm BST Pep Guardiola – relaxed, if slightly bedraggled under Mancunian skies – speaks to BT Sport. “Don’t worry, now the sun rises! We will try to win the game. We don’t think about the result from one week ago, or the consequences. Play to win the game.” He’s asked about his team selection. “It is Fernandinho’s birthday, it is my present,” he jokes, his veteran captain turning 36 today. “Everyone is able to play, I don’t know, I decide for these guys.” 7.41pm BST Some pre-match reading. Related: Manchester City ‘to suffer’ against PSG in search of Champions League history 7.22pm BST Disciplinary matters. “Kevin De Bruyne got a yellow last week,” begins a worried Richard Birtles. “If he gets one tonight, is he out of the final?” You’ll be pleased to hear that De Bruyne would only be suspended for the final, should City qualify, if he gets himself sent off tonight. A yellow would be fine. All yellow cards expired on completion of the quarters, and players are now only suspended for the next competition match after totting up three cautions. As a result, nobody is walking this particular tightrope this evening, though Idrissa Gueye is suspended tonight after getting himself sent off for that ill-mannered lunge on Ilkay Gundogan last week … and won’t be available for selection if PSG make it to Istanbul either, his red-card punishment being two games. 7.07pm BST From April in Paris to May in Manchester. It’s raining. Torrential rain. Hailstones too. And hold on … that’s not … that’s not snow, is it?! None of that’s going to put off any Mancunian worth their salt, though, and so the City bus was greeted upon its arrival by a large group of fans lending the support they dearly wish they could give inside later on. 7.00pm BST First up, the big news: Kylian Mbappe isn’t fit to start for Paris Saint-Germain … but despite his calf injury, he’s named as a substitute. He’s one of three changes to the starting XI Mauricio Pochettino named last week at the Parc des Princes. Mitchel Bakker also drops to the bench, while Idrissa Gueye is suspended. Up step Mauro Icardi, Ander Herrera and Abdou Diallo. As expected, Manchester City recall nine of the big guns rested at Crystal Palace on Saturday. More pertinently, Pep Guardiola has made just two changes to the side he sent out in Paris last week. Fernandinho replaces Rodri in midfield, while Oleksandr Zinchenko comes in for Joao Cancelo. The demoted pair take up seats on the bench. 6.51pm BST Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko, Silva, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Mahrez, De Bruyne, Foden.Subs: Ake, Sterling, Jesus, Aguero, Steffen, Laporte, Rodri, Torres, Mendy, Cancelo, Carson. Paris Saint-Germain: Navas, Florenzi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Diallo, Herrera, Paredes, Di Maria, Verratti, Neymar, Icardi.Subs: Kehrer, Mbappe, Rafinha, Pereira, Rico, Kean, Sarabia, Kurzawa, Draxler, Bakker, Dagba, Randriamamy. 3.12pm BST After last Wednesday’s masterful second-half performance in Paris, Manchester City are on the brink of their first European Cup final. It’ll end a quest that started 53 years ago, when Malcolm Allison promised to attack like peak-era Real Madrid, only to come a cropper against Fenerbahce in the first round. Three quarter-finals and one other semi-final appearance later, this is the closest they’ve got. A draw tonight, even a 1-0 loss, and they’ll be off to Istanbul to face either Chelsea or Real Madrid. Related: De Bruyne and Mahrez put Manchester City in driving seat against PSG Related: Manchester City ‘to suffer’ against PSG in search of Champions League history Continue reading…
Read More

‘Unstoppable’ Kevin De Bruyne treated Norwich thumping like playing FIFA on ‘easy’ mode as Todd Cantwell explains what it’s like to face Man City star

Manchester City are widely recognised as one of the best teams in world football. Pep Guardiola’s men have already lifted the Carabao Cup this season, while they are on the cusp of winning the Premier League. Norwich City academy graduate Todd Cantwell knows all to well about the talents of De Bruyne and co. On […]
Read More