Manchester United 0-2 Paris Saint-Germain
PSG put on a classy show at Old Trafford tonight to end Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s unbeaten start as Manchester United boss and all but deny the Red Devils further Champions League adventure.
Thomas Tuchel’s Ligue 1 giants outplayed United in front of a passionate crowd, and goals from Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe gave them a huge advantage.
The Champions League 2019 betting odds on PSG to win the tournament had decreased, while Manchester United climbed the ladder. us football fans know which way they’ll be going now!
When the draw was made—with Jose Mourinho still in charge at Old Trafford—few fans and pundits, this one included, gave the Red Devils much hope. Ole’s start as boss opened the tie up, but probably only for 90 minutes.
Highlights of the game
Edinson Cavani was ruled out of this game after pulling his thigh in PSG’s Ligue 1 match against Bordeaux, joining Neymar on the sidelines and putting the pressure on the shoulders of Mbappe.
Solskjaer, perhaps smelling blood against the shorthanded French champions, gave a start to Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in a Manchester United forward line full of pace.
The Red Devils pressed from the off, but it was former Red Devil Angel Di Maria who got the first shot away, swerving wide of David de Gea’s post.
All Paul Pogba needed to rediscover his form for Manchester United was an arm around the shoulder from Solskjaer, who simply told him he was the best midfield player in the world.
The Frenchman got in on the act on 16 minutes, bursting down the wing past Kimpembe, but Gigi Buffon just managed to keep his cross away from Jesse Lingard. But then Pogba went into the referee’s notebook after a daft foul on the dangerous Marco Verratti.
PSG came so close to opening the scoring when Julian Draxler put Mbappe through, but he slid his effort just wide under pressure from De Gea.
There were four yellow cards in the first half hour and after Kimpembe picked one up, he was a little lucky to stay on the pitch when he tripped Luke Shaw.
De Gea was called on again to thwart Di Maria, and then it was Ashley Young’s turn to sweat. He was on a yellow when he bundled the raiding Di Maria off the pitch, luckily avoiding a red. One each!
The Ligue 1 side had the last chance of the half when Draxler was fouled by Nemanja Matic some 25 yards out, but Dani Alves fired the ensuing free-kick over the bar.
Martial had been struggling and was replaced by Juan Mata at the start of the second half. PSG, however, dominated the early stages of the second period and eventually took the lead.
After De Gea made a fine save from an Mbappe header, the visitors went ahead. As Di Maria floated the resulting corner over, Kimpembe took advantage of the dawdling Matic to slam the ball home.
PSG were all over United now and almost immediately made it two, but Alves’ shot flew inches wide after ricocheting off Pogba. And then in the blink of an eye, it was two.
In a lightning break, Di Maria beat Young for pace and squared the perfect ball for Mbappe.
It was all PSG, and De Gea kept United in the tie with two superb saves—one to deny Mbappe in another one-on-one and second to stop a fierce angled drive from Juan Bernat.
The Parisians began to showboat and at times, United were merely chasing shadows. The home fans’ night took a turn for the worse when Pogba was sent off in the dying minutes.
The pre-match odds on PSG look pretty generous now, and they will be much shorter for the return in Paris. Pogba will be out for the second leg and Cavani may well be back for PSG. If the Red Devils manage to overturn this, it will be one of the biggest Champions League 2019 results so far.
Mbappe took the headlines in the absence of his attacking partners by scoring his eighth goal in ten appearances. It took his season tally to 23, one more than Cavani and three more than Neymar. They are some trio!
PSG are the first French team to beat United at Old Trafford, and it’s only the second time they have won in 11 games away to English opposition.
This game was the start of a phenomenal run of matches for Solskjaer’s United. Next up, it’s Chelsea away in the FA Cup.
After that is a match against Liverpool at home, a game that probably means the most to the Red Devils. Old Trafford fans would love to put a spanner in the Mersey works, even if it means helping Manchester City to another league title.
The Parisians are hurt by the fact they are still to progress beyond the Champions League quarter-finals, and they’ll aim to break through that glass ceiling this season.
But next, it’s back to domestic matters when they visit fifth-placed Saint-Etienne. Tuchel’s men pretty much have Ligue 1 wrapped up, ten points clear of second-placed Lille OSC with two games in hand.
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