Paris Saint-Germain captain Marquinhos lamented two “really stupid goals” conceded against Manchester City, but he remains steadfast in his belief they can reach the Champions League final for a second consecutive season.
PSG – runners-up in 2020 – looked on track to clinch a first-leg advantage over City in the semi-final thanks to Marquinhos’ 15th-minute header before the English visitors produced a sensational second-half comeback on Wednesday.
Outplayed in the opening half, Pep Guardiola’s high-flying City seized control of the tie as Kevin De Bruyne’s awkward cross-cum-shot found the back of the net just past the hour-mark and Riyad Mahrez’s free-kick put the Premier League leaders ahead seven minutes later.
PSG’s collapse was compounded by Idrissa Gueye’s red card for a dangerous challenge on City star Ilkay Gundogan with 13 minutes remaining in the French capital.
It was the first time PSG suffered Champions League defeat when leading at half-time since 2001 – against Deportivo La Coruna – but Marquinhos is refusing to give up on reaching the Istanbul decider ahead of the return leg in Manchester.
PSG are winless in their four European games against City (D2 L2), only facing Juventus (eight) on more occasions without ever winning in their history.
“It’s true that in the second half we were too far behind, we couldn’t get out of our half,” Marquinhos, who became only the third player in Champions League history to score in both the quarter-finals and semi-finals in consecutive seasons, told RMC Sport.
“The City team were more aggressive, they played higher. That was it. We need to be more consistent in both periods in the next game, we have 90 minutes left but we have to do better to get to the final.
“It’s hard to analyse immediately, but it’s hard when you run behind the ball. We couldn’t counter them well. You have to be smart, see the strategies that can be put in place. We conceded two really stupid goals, these are details, it’s the Champions League. You have to better manage these little details and stay strong in goal situations.
“The return match? It will take personality, whoever does not believe in it should not even go there. It takes a warrior mentality, doing whatever it takes to get through.
“We are very close, we must not doubt [ourselves] now. We have to improve what we did not do well today, but we have everything we need to reverse the situation. You have to believe and be strong.”