Manchester United overcame a two-goal first-leg deficit to defeat Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 and eliminate the French giants from the Champions League on Wednesday in one of the greatest comebacks in the competition’s history. The Red Devils advanced to the quarterfinals on away goals.
PSG squandered the hard-earned two goal advantage they picked up at Old Trafford last month with a pair of amateurish defensive errors long before the decisive call.
Those errors gave United the spark they needed, with Romelo Lukaku scoring twice in the first half of the game. Lukaku pounced on an errant Thilo Kehrer back pass and made it past Buffon to usher in the drama to come less than two minutes into the contest.
It was a dream start for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, but it didn’t last long. Juan Bernat stunning equalizer restored the hosts’ two-goal aggregate advantage just 10 minutes later after some erroneous defending in the box by the visitors left keeper David de Gea helpless:
Then another dreadful PSG mistake, this time by the legendary Buffon, gave United a second. The 3-2 overall scoreline held up until halftime, meaning United’s players came out for the second half knowing that another away goal would be enough to send them through to the quarterfinals on Away Goals basis:
For 44 minutes of an intense second half, it looked like PSG would survive. Then Slovenian referee Damir Skomina ran over to the sideline video screen after being alerted to an infraction. And while it didn’t look quite like a “clear and obvious” penalty, Skomina nonetheless pointed to the spot. And Rashford puts the ball where it belongs.
For PSG, it’s yet another early exit from Champions League, a competition that the club’s Qatari owners have been obsessed with winning for the last few years. The reason for the record-smashing quarter-billion dollar transfer deal with Brazilian superstar Neymar in 2017 . Yet the injured Neymar could only watch helplessly from the stands as his team lost.
Manchester United became the first team in Champions League history to qualify for the next round having lost the first leg of a knockout match at home by two or more goals.
PSG conceded with three of the four shots on target they faced in this game and have been eliminated at the last 16 stage in each of the last three Champions League seasons.
Marcus Rashford’s winning penalty was the first he has ever taken in a competitive match for Manchester United.
Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first match in charge on December 22nd, only Manchester City (15) have won more matches in all competitions than Man Utd (14) among teams in the top five European leagues.
Mason Greenwood became the youngest player to appear for Manchester United in the Champions League, aged 17 years and 156 days, breaking the record held by Gerard Pique (17y 310d).