United opens Champions League with 2-1 win over PSG
Table of Contents
A night to remember
It was a memorable return to the Champions League for Manchester United on Tuesday.
The Reds who didn’t take part in the top club competition last season were full marks for their 2-1 win over last season’s finalists PSG.
United were the only ones to score all three goals in this one.
Bruno Fernandes got the ball rolling from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute.
Anthony Martial’s own goal off a corner in the 55th minute leveled the match.
Marcus Rashford got the game-winner in the 87th minute for the Reds.
It appears Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team has finally woken up after a dreadful start to the EPL season.
Despite having only 38% of the possession the Reds made the most of their opportunities and were dangerous all game long.
The ice-breaker came in controversial fashion after Anthony Martial was judged to have been fouled inside the box in the 23rd minute by Abdou Diallo.
Skipper Bruno Fernandes who replaced Harry Maguire as the captain stepped up to take his 12th spot-kick for United.
Just like over the weekend against Newcastle his kick was stopped this time by Keylor Navas in the PSG goal.
However, Navas was penalized for encroachment so they kick was retaken.
On the second attempt Fernandes made no mistake, finding the bottom corner for the opening goal.
In the 35th minute, PSG came close through Mbappe who was denied by a great recovery and challenge from Tuanzebe.
The half ended with a nice cross from Neymar in the 43rd minute that was well handled by de Gea.
Into the second half United came close to doubling their advantage when Rashford tried to feed Martial only to have his through ball cleared.
Minutes later it was PSG through Mbappe who forced a great save in close by de Gea.
PSG began to pressure and was close to equalizing in the 54th minute when Kurzawa’s cross hit the bar.
Moments later from a Neymar corner, Martial’s headed clearance sailed into the far corner past de Gea to put PSG level.
The equalizer seemed to spark both sides with some great end to end action from there.
A vital challenge from Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the 57th minute prevented a great opportunity from Kylian Mbappe.
Rashford had a great effort on the edge of the box in the 69th minute parried away by Navas.
In the 80th minute, a great run by Fernandes came to Rashford whose one-timer was saved again.
On 82 minutes Neymar had a free shot at the top of the box well saved by de Gea.
In the 87th minute, Rashford finally got things right with a brilliant low shot from just inside the box which found the far corner.
United hung on for the victory in Paris.
The victory was impressive however both coaches will be disappointed by how unselfish their squads were.
Particularly Man United who had several clear opportunities where they made one pass too many.
Fernandes chose to pass back to Rashford in the 80th minute despite appearing to be clear on goal.
At the start of the second half, Rashford looked to be clean in on goal but chose an extra pass to Martial rather than going in himself.
The unselfish play took away some great scoring opportunities.
Solid at the back
The Reds looked much more comfortable with newcomer Alex Telles at the back.
They conceded only 5 shots on target and had some critical tackles notably by Wan-Bissaka which helped keep PSG at bay.
David de Gea made several big saves as well to keep United in the driver’s seat throughout the match.
Man of the Match
Marcus Rashford was a threat all game long.
He completed 17 passes, took four shots and scored the match-winner.
He’s got goals in his last two games with the Reds.
If he’d been a little more selfish he could’ve had more.
The stats favoured PSG though United was more clinical at the back and in front of goal.
Each team had 14 shots but United had 6 on target to PSG’s 5.
PSG had 85% pass accuracy while United had 79%.
Excelling on the Road
Man United continue to impress away from Old Trafford.
Tuesday’s victory is their 4th win this season on the road.
United has not lost an away game since January 19th when they fell to Liverpool.
Over the past 9 months they’ve gone 18 games unbeaten away from home.
What it means
With the win United are tied at the top of their group with RB Leipzig with 3 points from one game.
Leipzig blanked Istanbul 2-0.
Matchday 2 for United will be on Wednesday, October 28th when they battle German powerhouse, Leipzig, for the very first time from Old Trafford.
The team’s next game is Saturday at home against Chelsea. (JSL)