City use Zlatan, Di Maria to sell out Etihad
MANCHESTER, England (AP):
Manchester City harnessed the star power of Paris Saint-Germain forwards Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Angel Di Maria in a late bid to fill the stadium for today's Champions League quarter-final.
On the eve of the second leg, adverts aired on Manchester radio stations calling the match "unmissable" and highlighting the chance to see Ibrahimovic and Di Maria in action. The day started with more than 1,500 seats available, but the advertising blitz and late appeal by City manager Manuel Pellegrini succeeded in eventually selling out the Etihad Stadium for the hosts' biggest-ever Champions League fixture.
City will be hoping Ibrahimovic and Di Maria don't provide too many "unmissable" moments in the game.
Ibrahimovic scored in the first leg in Paris last week when City grabbed important away goals to draw 2-2.
"He is someone very demanding of himself ... he wants to be more clinical in front of goal tomorrow," PSG coach Laurent Blanc said yesterday through a translator. "I think his conversion rate will be higher."
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WIN
Both teams are trying to win the Champions League for the first time - a key objective for City's big-spending Abu Dhabi owner and PSG's Qatari investor.
PSG have already wrapped up the title in the French league it completely dominates.
The inability to sell out the stadium long ago was the latest sign of an uneasy relationship with the Champions League, and competition organiser UEFA, which sanctioned City - and PSG - because the owners spent too much to strengthen their squads.Throughout the season City has booed the Champions League anthem when it is played before games. But it has coincided with City's best run in Europe's elite competition.