Manchester United Beaten By Paris Saint-Germain At Old Trafford In Champions League Round 16
Former United Star Ángel Di María Returns To End Ole Gunnar Solskjær Unbeaten Run
By Marc Gingell
Manchester United 0 Paris St. Germain 2 (Presnel Kimpembe 53. Kylian Mbappe 60.)
Venue: Old Trafford. Attendance 74,054
Former Manchester United winger Ángel Di María, who signed for Manchester United in August 2014 for a fee of £59.7 million, came back to haunt his old club last night and send a message to those who doubted him.
United sold Di María to Paris Saint-Germain at the end of his first season with many experts referring to him as the worst signing of the season. The crowd gave him a tough time. He replied in kind!
For Ole Gunnar Solskjær many experts saw this as the first big test in a three-game challenge that could determine if he removes interim from his job title. Champions League PSG, FA Cup Chelsea, and Barclays Premier League Liverpool. Before last night he’d gone 11 games unbeaten.
United came flying out of the traps with good work down the right by both Rashford and Pogba early on. PSG’s 41 year old Italian keeper Gianluigi Buffon dealt with each situation comfortably. On 28 minute Julian Draxler found Kylian Mbappe free in United’s box but he fired a good chance past the right post. Just before the half time whistle Alexis Sánchez replaced the injured Jesse Lingard.
First Half Cards
11 Minutes: Yellow – Presnel Kimpembe (PSG) Roughing.
19 Minutes: Yellow – Julian Draxler (PSG) Tripping.
26 Minutes: Yellow – Paul Pogba (United) Tripping.
30 Minutes: Yellow – Ashley Young (United) Holding.
34 Minutes: Yellow – Juan Bernat (PSG) Roughing.
Juan Mata started the second half for United in place of the injured Anthony Martial.
As United re-grouped, after their enforced changes, PSG stepped up a gear and took the lead. From a Di María corner on the right, on 53 minutes after de Gea had done well to keep out a header from Mbappe, PSG defender Kimpembe found himself in space for a controlled left foot volley home from four yards.
Seven minutes later Mbappe doubled the visitor’s lead when he found space six yards out to meet a cross from Di Maria on the left. His clever finish gave de Gea no chance. PSG were now clinical and could have finished with four had it not been for good saves from de Gea.
In the 89th minute, Paul Pogba received his second yellow card for a bad tackle on Dani Alves which meant he left the field early.
Second Half Cards
50 Minutes: Yellow – Victor Lindelöf (United) Holding.
62 Minutes: Yellow – Dani Alves (PSG) Tripping.
87 Minutes: Yellow – Ander Herrera (United) Tripping.
89 Minutes: Yellow – Paul Pogba (United) Roughing (Sent off).
90+ 2 Minutes: Yellow – Luke Shaw (United) Rouging.
For Manchester United this represented a real battle and, apart from possibly away at Spurs, their first real challenge in Solskjær’s 12 games in charge. A reality check about where United really are.
At the back, United have issues to be resolved. Centrally Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelöf, and Eric Bailly might not have enough ability to cut it at the highest level. Luke Shaw is also not exactly proven as well. Also worrying for United is the poor form of Alexis Sánchez.
Manchester United: de Gea, Young, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw, Herrera, Matic, Pogba, Lingard, Martial, Rashford.
Subs: Romero, Jones, Sanchez, Mata, Lukaku, Fred, Dalot.
Paris Saint-Germain: Buffon, Kehrer, Thiago Silva, Kimpembe, Bernat, Verratti, Marquinhos, Dani Alves, Draxler, Di Maria, Mbappe.
Subs: Areola, Paredes, Choupo-Moting, Kurzawa, Nkunku, Diaby, Dagba.
Referee: Daniele Orsato (Italy).
Ole Gunnar Solskjær said:
“First half, both teams looked at each other, and there really wasn’t too much in it. But when they got the first goal … it was a poor goal to give away … but then they got the momentum and started to control the game. You can see that we have not played in games at this level for a while, and we will have to learn from the experience. It is not going to be a season-defining one for us, it is one we are going to learn from. Injuries are not a reason, we had quality players to come on. Let’s hope Jesse and Anthony are not too serious, they are muscle injuries so we have to wait a couple of days. Paul is trying to get his body across, and Alves is clever enough to put his foot in there so he hits him. I know he just wanted to shield the ball, but he’s unlucky and it hits him on the knee. Mountains are there to be climbed, aren’t they? You can’t lay down and say this is over. We are going to have to go there and play a good game, believe in ourselves. But today was a reality check.”
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