IT is time to deliver for Manchester City and Paris St Germain as the two mega-rich teams prepare to lock horns in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday (9.45pm).
PSG, who were crowned Ligue 1 champions last month, are attempting to reach the last four for the first time since Qatar Sport Investment started investing hundreds of millions of dollars into the club in 2011.
City, who have been backed by the wealth of Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi for the last eight years. are featuring in the last eight of Europe’s biggest club competition for the first time.
France midfielder Samir Nasri believes his City side are the underdogs.
“Paris are the favourites,” said the former Arsenal player. “They’ve got the experience.”
PSG, who knocked Chelsea out 4-2 on aggregate in the last 16, geared up for Wednesday’s game by thrashing Nice 4-1 with talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic bagging a hat-trick to take his goal tally in Ligue 1 this season to 30 goals.
City also warmed up in style with a handsome 4-0 win at Bournemouth but they have several injury concerns.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men are definitely minus captain Vincent Kompany and are likely to be without goalkeeper Joe Hart and midfielder Yaya Toure. All three players have calf problems.
“It may be difficult for them to be fit for Wednesday,” Pellegrini said of Hart and Toure.
The good news for City is that Nasri and Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne are fit again following lengthy injury layoffs.
PSG midfielder Marco Verratti is sidelined with a groin injury although his team managed well enough without the Italian international when they beat Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in the second leg last month.
Forward Javier Pastore, who is often used as a substitute, is missing with a calf problem but playmaker Angel Di Maria is set to return following a minor knee injury.
Ibrahimovic has been on fire in attack recently but midfielder Thiago Motta said it was more important how PSG fared as a team against City.
“It will not be Ibra against City but PSG against City,” the Italian said. “Maybe he will make the difference if he scores a goal but that’s not what matters.
“What matters is that we win the game. If he puts himself under pressure saying he has to win the match it’s not going to go well.”