Tuesday 20 February 2018

City and PSG set for petrodollar play-off

“It’s a difficult draw as always,” Pellegrini said Photo: Reuters
“It’s a difficult draw as always,” Pellegrini said Photo: Reuters

Jason Burt

It will be the petrodollar play-off when Manchester City face Paris St-Germain in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

There are so many parallels to be drawn between the rise of City, funded by the Abu Dhabi takeover in 2008, and the ascent of PSG after they were acquired by the Qataris just three years later, and it was inevitable that they would eventually meet in this competition.

PSG will go into the tie as favourites not least because they have wrapped up their fourth successive French league title, with two months to spare, so can tailor their preparations fully on eliminating City.

The cause of the Premier League club will not be helped if captain Vincent Kompany is ruled out through injury. The central defender will certainly miss the first leg in Paris on April 6 but Manuel Pellegrini held out some hope that the Belgian could be back for the return leg six days later even if the City manager admitted he was mystified by his captain's calf problems.

Kompany suffered his fourth significant injury setback of the season during Tuesday's Champions League match against Dynamo Kiev, and has now undergone 14 calf injuries in his eight years at the club.

Asked why Kompany was suffering so many calf injuries, the City manager said: "I don't know. I am talking to the doctor and I think Vincent has an injury in the other leg. It's not the same calf as last time. It's not really in the calf, high behind the knee. We will see how he improves, but maybe in one month he can be ready, so in part of the season, he will play again."

Having reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time in the club's history, Pellegrini will feel he has achieved a degree of success before he leaves this summer to make way for Pep Guardiola.

"It's a difficult draw as always," Pellegrini said. "When you are among the best eight teams in Europe, it's always a difficult draw. At the moment, Barcelona are the team that makes a difference. All the others are exactly the same.

"We are in the eight best teams, maybe one team can be less of a big name than another, but if they are at the same stage, they deserve it because they have eliminated important teams. I don't think you can have an easy draw in the last eight." (© Daily Telegraph, London)


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