Manchester United beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in the UEFA Champions League at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday evening. It was the second time that United had achieved a good result on the road in Paris with Marcus Rashford scoring the winner each time. United took the lead in the first half from the penalty spot with Bruno Fernandes scoring the second time with the penalty retaken because Keylor Navas was off his line. Anthony Martial scored a rare own goal ten minutes into the second half to put PSG level. It was the second own goal for United in as many matches, which is unfortunate. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be happy with the result though.
United started the match in fine fettle with both Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford seeing a lot of the ball going forward. Debutant Alex Telles seemed to fit right into the squad too, which is a good sign. Neymar had his first chance in the sixth minute of the match, cutting inside before being clattered by Bruno Fernandes, which was a fair challenge. United had their first chance three minutes later with Fernandes at the fore and Rashford lurking with intent – PSG were able to break the attack down though. United made a crucial save through David De Gea in the 12th minute with Neymar playing Angel Di Maria on the edge of the box and the Spaniard saving it.
A minute later, De Gea made yet another fine save with Kylian Mbappe whipping in a brilliant ball and Layvin Kurzawa charging in, getting contact on the ball with the Spaniard once gain making a brave save to deny the French champions. Martial then had a chance, but it was well off target. On another attack, United were awarded a penalty in the 20th minute after a challenge on Martial by Abdou Diallo. Fernandes took the penalty with Kaylor Navas making the save, however, he came off his line before the ball was struck, so the penalty was taken again. This time, Fernandes was in a mood to score, putting United 1-0 up with a fine finish.
PSG started to look uncomfortable after United took the lead and just did not see any of their tricks paying off in their bid to find an equaliser. The French side have not lost a Champions League match at home since 2004. There is a first time for everything though. Despite United’s defence seeming ramshackle in the fact that there is one experienced central defender, Victor Lindelof, the inexperienced Axel Tuanzebe and Luke Shaw, who is a left back with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Telles in the fullback areas. Neymar and Mbappe seemed to get into the game late in the half to no avail with United coming out on top at the end of the first half.
The second half started well for United with Rashford and Martial working well to try and double their lead, however, it not working out for them. At the other end of the pitch, De Gea produced yet another fine save to deny the home side from scoring. Inside ten minutes of the second half, it was all squad with PSG on the attack and Martial heading the ball into the back of he net from a defensive position. It was unfortunate for United but PSG have not been the better side so far with United looking more likely to score, and they have with both goals of the match. Wan-Bissaka defended well with Mbappe on the prowl to take the lead for the Parisien side.
United had a chance at the other end of the pitch minutes later with Rashford through on goal, running out of space with the ball going out for a corner. Telles took the corner and Scott McTominay, who was booked in the first half, tried to get United ahead, the ball being cleared and Martial then trying to correct his error with another chance on goal, which was just over the crossbar. United made their first substitution in the 67th minute of the match with Paul Pogba replacing Telles, who had a good debut for his club. Before the substitution, both United and PSG had chances on goal with both teams seeking to find a way to win all three points this evening.
In the final ten minutes of the match, both United and PSG had many chances to try and take the lead, but they were not happening. United looked lively with Rashford and Fernandes running into the box and every time that United looked to get forward, PSG looked out of their depth and it ended up with United at least getting into the box and sometimes getting a shot on goal. Neymar looked off his game tonight which will be a worry for PSG, who kind of need him to be fit and firing from all cylinders. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be happy with what he has seen, which seems miles away from the form shown in that match against Spurs.
United were not finished and were determined to get the result they wanted, another victory at the Parc des Princes. Rashford beat Navas with Pogba providing the assist at the same end of the pitch that he scored his penalty late in the game the last time United were in Paris in March 2019. It was a good match for United to rediscover their pedigree in the Champions League after quote a poor start to the 2020/21 season. United ended the unbeaten run for PSG at home which stretched back to 2004 with United having another glorious night in Paris in the Champions League. Now they will be able to get ready for the visit of Chelsea in the Premier League.
Goals: Anthony Martial 55′ o/g; Bruno Fernandes 23′ penalty, Marcus Rashford 87′
Assists: Paul Pogba 87′
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Tuanzebe, Lindelof, Shaw, Telles (Pogba 67′); McTominay, Fred, Fernandes (Van de Beek 88′); Rashford, Martial (James 88′)
Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Fosu-Mensah, Williams; Pogba, Mata, Pellistri, Matic; Ighalo
Bookings: Neymar 34′, Daniel Pereira 84′, Moise Kean 90′; Scott McTominay 36′, Axel Tuanzebe 72′
Written by John Walker