Paris Saint-Germain 1-2 Manchester United: Rashford steals the show in Paris again

Manchester United marked their return to the Champions League remarkably following a thoroughly deserved 2-1 away win to last year’s finalists Paris Saint-Germain.  

Bruno Fernandes opened the scoring halfway through the opening 45 minutes as he put his penalty woes behind him, converting from the spot. 

The host’s levelled the game after Anthony Martial glanced Neymar’s troubling corner into his own net. 

However, much like 18 months ago, Marcus Rashford stole the plaudits with a dramatic, thunderous winner just four minutes from time. 

Story of the game 

United started the game surprisingly strong in the very opening stages before PSG expectedly grew into the game with Neymar displaying his dribbling prowess from the offset. 

David de Gea was called to action around ten minutes as he palmed away a trademark curler from Angel Di Maria. The resulting corner was played short to Kylian Mbappe whose whipped delivery was fired towards goal from point blank range by Layvin Kurzawa, however, the Spanish goalkeeper stood strong to block what looked to be a certain opener for the hosts. 

United set their shop out from that point as the counter-attacking game plan came to light with ten players behind the ball most occasions, yet the threat of the break from Marcus Rashford and co. 

Such tactics appeared to have paid off 20 minutes in as a small period of pressure resulted in Martial intelligently spinning Abdou Diallo before being brought down by his compatriot for yet another penalty. With the miss in Tyneside fresh in his mind, Fernandes stepped up to put his penalty woes behind him. 

Following an uncharacteristically direct run up, Fernandes saw his effort saved by Keylor Navas, his second penalty miss in a week. However, the ball was almost immediately back on the spot as referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz spotted Navas a yard off his line when the ball was struck. 

Fernandes bravely stepped up for the retake, calmly sending Navas the wrong way to restore parity to his previously sublime record and give United a surprise lead. 

The goal seemed to reassure United, giving them the confidence to take the game to the Parisians while faring well with the ever-present threat of the host’s attacking trio. 

This newfound confidence resonated highly through captain Fernandes; whose long-range effort forced Navas into an uncomfortable diving save. The resulting corner from debutant Alex Telles was met well by Scott McTominay, whose glancing header was bound for the far corner, where it not for a fortunate deflection off Danilo Periera

The first period drifted towards conclusion from that point on, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer undoubtedly the happier of the two managers.

PSG came out for the second half with one thing on their mind, bringing loanee Moise Kean on for Idrissa Gueye as they searched for an equaliser.  

The first chance of the half fell to danger man Mbappe whose pace and skill allowed him past Aaron Wan-Bissaka onto his favoured right foot. His vicious effort appeared destined for the far corner before the flying De Gea tipped the ball round the post. 

It took just nine minutes for PSG to send the game back into equilibrium as Neymar’s corner was mistakenly flicked on at the near post by Anthony Martial into his own net with De Gea left stranded and helpless. 

United changed shape with around 25 minutes remaining as Telles was replaced by Paul Pogba as they reverted to a traditional four-back formation in an attempt to swing the momentum back in their favour. 

The game massively opened up following the change with both teams taking turns at landing the knockout blow in what had previously been a tactical game of chess with United taking more of the initiative as the clock ticked on. 

Half chances slowly became good chances as the tiring PSG struggled to cope with United’s pace before Neymar’s effort from 20 yards out was saved well by De Gea.  

However, with just four minutes remaining, United’s bravery was finally repaid as Marcus Rashford fired past Keylor Navas with laser accuracy into the bottom far corner following a sustained spell of pressure.  

In the ground he made history in 18 months ago, Rashford showed maturity and quality to hand United a warranted victory which, paired with last weekend’s 1-4 victory in Tyneside, will go a long way towards helping them put their poor run behind them. 

Rashford and Paris go hand in hand

Quickly becoming Manchester United’s big game player, Marcus Rashford took the game by the scruff of the neck and was deservedly rewarded. 

A constant thorn in the side of the PSG defence, his speed and power were too much to handle as his link up play with Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes was clear for everyone to see. 

His impeccable finish rewarded a near-perfect team performance and helped prove his on-field contributions are matching those off the field.