Riyad Mahrez believes the comeback victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-final second leg was the key moment in Manchester City’s march to their first-ever Champions League final.
Although City had recorded a 2-1 home win in the first leg, they were staring down the barrel of yet another agonising quarter-final exit when Jude Bellingham put Dortmund ahead in Germany after just 15 minutes.
A 1-0 Dortmund win would have dumped the Blues out on away goals but Mahrez scored a crucial equaliser in the second-half from the penalty spot, before Phil Foden found a winner on the night with 15 minutes remaining to send City into the semi-finals.
Mahrez believes the manner of the victory showed City’s character and helped spur them on to defeat Paris Saint-Germain and reach the final.
“I think it was the Dortmund game, away, when we were losing 1-0 and we would have been out of the quarter-finals,” the Algerian said.
“But we showed very good personality and character to stay in the game and not panic, and then we were rewarded.
“I think the penalty [was a pivotal moment for me] in Dortmund and Phil’s second goal too. When we all went over to the bench and all hugged each other, it was a very good moment.”
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City will face familiar foes Chelsea in the final in Porto on Saturday and Mahrez is predicting a close affair.
“I don’t think it [the fact it’s another English side] affects preparation, but, obviously, we know them and they know us, so it’s going to be a tight game,” he added. “We just have to play our game and try to be solid defensively and clinical in front of goal.
“It would mean a lot to win the Champions League here. It would mean so much to this club, to this organisation because we’ve never won it. It would be amazing to lift it.”