|Image from Daily Express.|
And Solskjaer has won it!
Manchester United are though the Quarter Finals of the Champions League with one of the most dramatic and historic comebacks in Champions League history as they traveled to France to take on PSG for the second leg of the Round of 16. And as you already know, PSG had a very convincing 2-0 win at Old Trafford in the first leg. United travelled to the Parc des Princes with 10 first team injuries and were also without main man, Paul Pogba, who was suspended following a second booking in the first leg. Many football fans around the world and even some Man United supporters were in doubt that the Red Devils could progress to the next stage after being totally outplayed in the first leg.
But then again, this is Manchester United – the last minute winners, the team that turns nothing into something and unfortunately for PSG, they found out the hard way.
Manchester United defeated Paris Saint-Germain in an intense and very emotional 3-1 (3-3 on aggregate) scoreline which saw United qualify to the next stage of the Champions League on away goals. Goals coming from Lukaku, who picked up yet another brace and a last minute penalty which was netted home by no other than Manchester’s very own, Marcus Rashford.
But what all did we learn from this rollercoaster-ride in France?
PSG vs Manchester United. What We Learned.
Romelu Lukaku can score in big games.
Big Rom nets himself three straight braces in a row and this time, it came against PSG. Many people criticize Lukaku for not scoring against big sides or in big games but in this case here, that all flew out the window when Lukaku scored in the opening two minutes to give United the lead they needed and a glimmer of hope of making it though. And then came a rebound off Gianluigi Buffon from Rashford’s shot from distance, Big Rom was there to give United the lead again after Juan Bernat netted an early equalizer. This would not have been enough to see United through but once again meant that they only needed one more goal to see them through.
Rashford can handle the pressure.
Marcus Rashford had plenty of pressure put on him since being rewarded with the number 10 shirt this season and he has delivered tremendously ever since. The England international is having the best season of his senior footballing career so far and wanted to be the man to take United through to the next stage of the Champions League as he took responsibility for the late penalty kick that was awarded to Manchester United and slammed it into the top corner and all but sealed the win.
Pressure? Thank You, Next.
Eric Bailly, Forgettable Night.
Eric Bailly had a horrible night in France, so much that he was changed for Dalot in the first half, Bailly was caught ball-watching which led to PSG’s equaliser and was allowing way too much space for the opposition to create and have a field day, it could have ended the chances United had. But thankfully, it didn’t. Bailly certainly has the ability to be a good enough CB but hasn’t showed it very much this season.
Diogo Dalot, a super-sub again.
Ole Solskjaer’s decision to leave Dalot out of the starting Xl came as a shocker to me but was later fixed as he realised that he had put Tyler Blac… I mean Eric Bailly in instead, as he was caught ball watching. Dalot almost had an intimidate impact when he was brought on. Shifting through the Paris’s defence and made a pass inside the box which almost lead to an own goal. But it wasn’t until the dying minutes of the second half when he made the most effective decision of his career so far when he went for what I believe was a shot at goal but struck the hand of Presnel Kimpembe. Which lead for the referee to take what seemed like forever in using VAR to determine whether to award a penalty and that led to the big moment for Rashford. So yes, it was Dalot’s shot that gave Manchester United the win! Debate all you want, it’s true.
Manchester United are into the Quarter Finals in the Champions League which certainly seemed out of reach for Ole Solskjaer when he was appointed caretaker, and certainly out of reach when being 2-0 down at home coming into the away game and then managing to score three goals against PSG at home, something Premier League sides have struggled to do with Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool all unable to win against the French giants in recent seasons.
But again, this is Manchester United and every team that advances though, should be on red alert after this fixture.