- Chris Sobey
It was a very satisfying week for the only two English clubs left in European competition as both Manchester City and Liverpool picked up vital draws and away goals in their respective Champions and Europa League first leg away ties this week. League Cup winner’s City had the returning Joe Hart to thank for their draw against French Champions PSG at the Parc d Princes on Wednesday night, as he brilliantly saved Ibrahimovic’s 12th minute penalty.
The brilliant Kevin de Bruyne opened the scoring for City 7 minutes from the interval, but their defensive frailties this season came back to haunt them minutes later when Fernando gifted Ibrahimovic the ball on the edge of the area, and the former Barcelona striker made amends for his earlier penalty miss to level the score at half time.
PSG looked like they were going to justify favouritism and take control of the match when Rabiot gave them the lead just shy of the 60 minute mark, not long after Ibrahimovic almost doubled his tally and PSG’s lead when he rattled the cross bar with a bullet header.
However, City managed to overt this period of intense PSG pressure and they were back level less than 15 minutes later when City midfielder Fernandinho took advantage of a mix up in the PSG area, and his shot was deflected past Kevin Trapp to make it 2-2 on the night.
City are hitting form just at the right time and the return of Kevin de Bruyne and Joe Hart could not have come at a better time. If they can keep this starting eleven fit and also get Kompany, Toure and Sterling back for the return leg next Tuesday they have every chance of progressing to the semi-finals, especially as PSG will be without the influential David Luis in defence and Blaise Matuidi in midfield as both picked up bookings that rule them out of the return leg.
Jurgen Klopp, who left Europa League favourites Borussia Dortmund to join Liverpool at the end of last season, came back to haunt his old club last night as his underdogs produced an heroic away performance at the Signal Iduna Park. Klopp’s brave decision to start with inexperienced 20 year old striker Divock Origi, instead of Daniel Sturridge, may have had many an expert scratching their heads, but the German mastermind’s strategy soon paid off when Origi opened the scoring 5 minutes from half-time.
Liverpool’s dream of a another famous European win was short lived as German International Mats Hummel equalised for Dortmund, and on balance a draw was a fair result considering the home side not surprisingly dominated possession and shots on goal. Klopp will be more than satisfied with the result and while Dortmund are still favourites to progress to the semi-finals, it would be hasty to right Klopp and Liverpool off just yet. They have a vital away goal and will be playing in front of packed and frenzied Kop, which has witnessed many great European performances by their beloved Reds over the years.