Manchester United’s Champions League status is hanging in the balance after the Red Devils were beaten by European giants PSG. Neymar opened the scoring for the visitors. Moreover, the UEFA Champions League joint- top scorer Marcus Rashford brought United back into the game via a deflected shot. Brazilian playmaker Fred was controversially sent off in the second period.
United dominated large parts of the second half and wasted several opportunities to take the lead. PSG took the lead through Marquinhos’ close range finish before notorious winger Neymar completed the rout in the dying stages. Overall the score line was an unjust reflection on United’s performance.
The Red Devil’s Costly Poor Start:
Following the heroics in Paris, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer named yet another attacking side to face the PSG. The front three consisted of Anthony Martial, Edison Cavani and Marcus Rashford. It seemed inevitable that Manchester United would attack PSG from the off. As soon as the first whistle went, it was the French champions who began strongly. Solskjaer would have made it clear to his side prior to the match that PSG would be looking for revenge. As defeat to the Red Devils would leave them with little chance of qualifying to the next round. Manchester United got a taste of their own medicine as Neymar finished off a swift PSG counter-attack. The French side effortlessly played through United’s midfield. As the ball ricocheted around the United box, Neymar reacted and gave his side the lead.
Questions will be asked of David De Gea, who could have perhaps done more in closing the angle. But it was the lack of reaction from the United defenders and midfield that erected great anger from United fans. PSG dominated the initial 20 minutes, in which United barely left their half.
Solskjaer saw his side eventually spring into life. Anthony Martial played a delightful ball into the path of Bruno Fernandes, who spurred the goal-scoring opportunity. Aaron Wan Bissaka pulled the ball back for teammate Marcus Rashford, whose deflected shot wrong-footed Navas. This flurry of action was not the main talking point as the sides went into the halftime. United’s deep-lying playmaker Fred escaped a red in a heated exchange with Paredes. Tempers flared even more following McTominay’s crunching challenge on the dynamic winger Neymar.
Red Devils Resurgence Halted by Neymar:
United fans worldwide expected the introduction of either Paul Pogba or Donny Van De Beek after Fred’s escape of a second yellow. However, Solskjaer persisted with the Brazilian, a decision which would later come back to haunt him. With Manchester United requiring just a point to qualify spectators all believed that United would play predominately on the counter. Instead United went and took the game to Paris ST-Germain. A quick exchange between Rashford and Cavani on the right-hand side of attack and Rashford was now bearing down on goal. Selflessly, Rashford set up his striking partner Anthony Martial, who needed a goal for his confidence. The Frenchman blazed over when it seemed almost harder to miss than score.
Moments later Martial played Edison Cavani through on goal, who produced an audacious chip. The ball came crashing back from the bar and the in-form Bruno Fernandes faked to shoot and provided Martial with yet another opportunity. Although this opportunity was much harder, the striker is clearly lacking confidence in front of goal and he saw his effort blocked.
Manchester United failed to make their dominance count and lost this contest in a game-changing minute. PSG regained the lead through yet another close-range goal. This time through Brazilian defender Marquinhos, who on the replay looked fractionally offside, but VAR did not intervene, and the goal stood. Things went from bad to worse when Fred’s poor touch and challenge on ex-United player Ander Herrera saw him sent off for a second bookable offence. Fred clearly got the ball but even Solskjaer knew the Brazilian was lucky to still be on the pitch prior to that challenge.
The resilient Red Devils pushed for an equaliser and came close through Paul Pogba’s long range volley. Neymar got his second of the night and left the United players wondering how they had fallen to another defeat at Old Trafford.
What’s Next For The Red Devils?
Manchester United go to Germany next Tuesday to play against RB Leipzig. United saw off Leipzig in the contest at Old Trafford where Marcus Rashford grabbed a hattrick. United need just a point to qualify to the next stages but could need a win to top Group H. Solskjaer will have to recover his side first for an equally important fixture versus West Ham on Saturday night, as they bid to continue their impressive away form in the league.