6 great sport channels
Football, Rugby, UFC, GAA
All free when you join eir Broadband
A Kevin de Bruyne strike sent Manchester City past Paris St-Germain into the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time in their history.
At an almost-packed Etihad Stadium, Manuel Pellegrini’s side produced a display which was deeply impressive in its discipline and denied their opponents time and space in which to supply their attacking talents.
The outstanding Sergio Aguero blew an early opportunity to edge City closer to the last four but he blasted a spot-kick wide of the target on 29 minutes.
Laurent Blanc’s side failed to sparkle, missing the absent Marco Veratti’s ability to control the midfield, and aside from a couple of Zlatan Ibrahimovic set-pieces and an Edinson Cavani chance late on, they never looked like getting the goals they needed.
With 15 minutes left de Bruyne made the breakthrough to send the home support into raptures and his side three games away from glory.
City started brightly as they were roared on by their home support but soon enough PSG began to assert themselves on the pitch while their fans were making the only noise off it.
The first real threat on goal came courtesy of an Ibrahimovic free-mick which powered and dipped over the wall, forcing Hart into making a fabulous fingertip save.
Fernando and Fernandinho were struggling to get on the ball but their impressive work-rate was denying the visitors room in which to create openings and it was City who threatened next, Aguero thumping a shot into the side-netting before moments later he fired a dipping effort from outside the box just wide.
The home side were now in the ascendancy and they were handed a golden opportunity just before the half-hour mark to take control of the tie when Kevin Trapp chopped down Aguero but the little striker steered the resulting spot-kick just wide of the left-hand post.
Jesus Navas was next to find himself in a good shooting position but the winger, predictably, was well wide with his curled effort.
Shortly after the restart Hart saved well from another Ibrahimovic free-kick as the French champions, having reverted to a back four, began to control more of the play.
However, PSG continued to find chances hard to come by and their next occasion to worry Hart wasn’t until the 65th minute when Thiago Silva met a corner kick and headed downwards but the England keeper was able to flick the ball over the bar in relative comfort.
The game became more tense as it moved towards its closing stages with the quiet from the stands reflecting how delicately poised the tie remained.
The breathing space City were so desperate for came in the 76th minute, de Bruyne skipping inside his man outside the edge of the box before unleashing a pinpoint curling strike past Trapp.
PSG were rattled, City had an extra spring in their step but they needed Hart to rescue them in the final 10 minutes when Cavani was sent clear but the keeper was quick off his line and spread himself well to block the shot.
They thought they had a lifeline with five minutes remaining when Ibrahimovic finished Maxwell’s cross from close range but the linesman’s flag, correctly, signalled for offside.
That was as close as PSG came to getting back into the tie as City saw the game out comfortably against a backdrop of a party atmosphere in the stands.