The English Empire continues to look like adding some European silverware this season, with two sides entering the finals stage of the Europa and Champions Leagues.
Manchester City downed Paris St Germain in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
This is certainly one way of rousing the English monarchy – Lizzie has been lacklustre in recent years, who knows what Charles has been up to and Harry hasn’t played ‘strip billiards’ since Chelsea last won the Champions League in 2012.
After a 2-2 draw in the first leg in Paris, Manchester City managed to pinch a 1-0 lead after a superb strike from £55 million winger, Kevin De Bruyne.
The ease of the win over the French giants tells the tale of City’s performances this season, with brilliance but no real consistency the recurring theme.
The Blues leant on their key performers in this pivotal match. Joe Hart, De Bruyne and Sergio Augero all performed well in front of the home crowd.
Hart made three important saves against PSG front-man Zlatan Ibrahimovic and was instrumental in coordinating the livewire centre back pairing of Nicolas Otadmeni and Eliaquim Mangala.
City used this match as an opportunity to unveil the extension to the southern stand at the Etihad, which increases capacity to 61,000. Joe Hart told Manchester City TV the support was vital to their semi-final campaign.
“It’s something we have been pushing for a while and we’re finally getting where we want to be,” Hart said.
“It was a special night tonight, with the flags and everything.
“You know the new stand was full and we definitely felt as a team (the fans) got us over the line and we need to thank them for that.”
City will have a tough task, with Real Madrid awaiting them in their next UCL fixture.
They are joined in the latter stages of European competitions by Liverpool. The Reds managed a 4-3 upset win against their manager’s former club, Borussia Dortmund, in the Europa League quarters.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side has impressed in the short time he has been in charge of the Merseyside club. This match is one to add to the list of remarkable wins the Reds have pulled off since December.
They struggled early, conceding two quick goals, but fought back throughout the first half in a frenetic, emotional game.
Rival managers Klopp and Thomas Tuchel were fiery on the sidelines, barking orders at their players from go to whoa and celebrating manically at any glimpse of a goal chance.
Klopp had the last laugh, with Dejan Lovren scoring via a last-minute header. This sent Anfield into a spin and Klopp was still firing on all cylinders when BT Sport asked about the chances of his side progressing.
“Come on, please don’t ask me this shit,” Klopp fired.
“It’s so hard, I know nothing about the other results.
“All the Spanish teams are unbelievably strong, I could never understand when people predicted the winner of this game would go on to win the trophy.”
Klopp has made fans a priority since taking over at Liverpool – and his method seems to be working. He also took a few pages from former manager Brendan Rodgers’ textbook, bandying about Rodgers’ favourite buzzword, ‘character’, in his halftime talk.
“When we brought Daniel Sturridge and Joe Allen on we gave them the message, ‘we have to show character’,” he said.
“I don’t care if we lose, we have to show them and we did even more. This is European football at its best.
“At halftime it’s difficult to stay brave but we agreed that the we had to go the hard way. It is a game that all fans – even not of Liverpool or Dortmund – can say, ‘OK, football is a nice game’.”
One thing is assured, if Liverpool or Manchester City are able to bring home a bit of silverware there will be a big one at London SW1A 1AA, United Kingdom.