The race for qualification in group H is now wide open with a hard-earned victory for the PSG at Old Trafford. A brace from Neymar and a well-finished goal by the PSG captain Marquinhos ensured the three points for the Parisians. Missed chances by Antony Martial and Edison Cavani proved costly for the reds leaving their qualification hopes in doubt as they would need at least a point in their final group match against RB Leipzig.
Fred saw himself sent off in the second half even after escaping a head butt in the early stages of the game. This left many people questioning Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to not take him off at half time. It wouldn’t be an understatement to state that this win safeguarded the job for PSG coach Thomas Tuchel who looked increasingly likely to become the scapegoat for PSG’s poor run of forms.
FORMATION – (4-2-3-1)
GK– De Gea
Defense – Wan-Bissaka (Ighalo – 90′), Lindelof, Maguire, Alex Telles;
Midfield – Fred (Red card- 70′), McTominay, Rashford (Pogba- 74′), Bruno Fernandes, Martial (Greenwood – 79′);
Forwards – Cavani ( Van de Beek – 79′)
GK– Keylar Navas
Defense – Florenzi (Kehrer – 78′), Marquinhos , Kimpembe, Diallo (Gueye -90′);
Midfield– Paredes (Ander Herrera – 65′), Danilo, Verrati (Rafinha – 78′);
Forward– Mbappe, Kean (Mitchel Bakker – 65′), Neymar
The game started with the PSG in control with Neymar opening the bank for the visitors at the sixth minute after a sumptuous run by Mbappe which tore the Man United midfield apart. The reds slowly started to gain momentum and had ample possession in the latter part of the half. The most controversial incident of the game took place in the 23rd minute when there was a clash between Fred and Paredes which resulted in a shove by Fred and the Paris players started demanding VAR intervention for a possible red card offense. Then the referee was asked to check himself and he decided to award a yellow card which led to protests and discontent from the PSG dugout.
Again the duo was indulged in the tackle which saw Paredes earning a booking. Man Utd got their equalizing goal when Rashford’s right-footed shot got deflected by Danilo and ended up into the net. Man UTD certainly looked in the driving seat, tensions flared between Neymar and Mctominay as the Brazilian aimed to get a booking for the player. The first-half ended on level terms indicating the last year’s finalists are on their way to Europa League.
The much enthusiastic united side looked to put the game to bed when Rashford’s ball to Antony Martial put him for an easy tap in. But unfortunately, the Frenchmen couldn’t capitalize. Man Utd looked increasingly dangerous when Edison Cavani’s fantastic chip got past Navas only to be struck by the bar and out. And further Martial missing an easy one on one chance indicating that the Frenchman was missing his shooting boots. PSG looked to regain their attacking prowess with the Captain Marquinhos. He just missed a header from close range which could be attributed to the change in formation from the French coach ( 3-4-3) to provide a more attacking edge as well enabling the full-backs to take a more advanced position, as result a deflected shot from Ander Herrera came to the path of Marquinhos who thumped in from close range.
Minutes after the goal was scored. Fred added to United’s downfall by earning the much-awaited second yellow which resulted in United to battle with ten-man. PSG looked firm into the driving seat with sitting deep in defense. The substitute Rafinha provided the final nail in the coffin as he unselfishly passed the ball to Neymar to complete his brace. Which resulted in PSG taking all three points in the bag from Manchester.
The lost chances proved costly for the United. With some fingers pointed towards the official for the sending off, it could be argued that the United manager could have easily withdrawn the Brazilian at the half time. The brilliance of Neymar and the tactical prowess of Tuchel keeps PSG’s qualification hopes alive.
All in all, it was an entertaining game with both sides pushing hard for the win. The win for PSG puts them into the top spot of Group H though a win for Leipzig puts all the three teams equal at nine points providing the recipe for a nail-biting game in week 6.