The art of the block: Manchester City's defending against PSG deserved celebrations

sports.yahoo.com
5 min read
fairly easy
Manchester City's most ferocious celebrations of the night did not come at the end of their Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain, after...
The art of the block: Manchester City's defending against PSG deserved celebrations - Reuters

they had secured a place in their first ever final. Nor did they come in the aftermath of Riyad Mahrez's goals, struck either side of half-time to seal an emphatic victory.

No, Pep Guardiola's players instead reserved their most spirited bear-hugs and fist pumps for a defensive challenge in the 55th minute. This great side offers so much tactical innovation with their 'false nines' and 'phantom full-backs', and they score so many gorgeous goals, but even for them there is clearly nothing so satisfying as a good old-fashioned block.

Oleksandr Zinchenko was the player who produced the challenge in question, but it could easily have been John Stones instead. Both City defenders were there as Neymar shot towards goal, throwing their bodies in the way of the strike. Ruben Dias was not far away either, and all three of them were close enough to embrace afterwards, before PSG could take the corner.

It was far from an isolated incident. Mahrez took the headlines with his goals but this was a victory built on defensive grit as much as attacking class. The blue wall stood firm under considerable pressure from some of the world's most talented forwards, who regularly squirmed past the City midfield but were then allowed to go no further.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences. Update your settings here to see it.

In all, City made nine blocks in this second leg — the…
Sam Dean
Read full article