How United Women made history on a special night

Wednesday 11 October 2023 17:00

There is always a special feeling under the lights at Leigh Sports Village.

Even arriving five hours before kick-off, there were already Manchester United fans milling about ready to take their seat and witness some football history.

It’s hard to believe that a team which is just five years old has made it into the Women's Champions League but when you look at the progression the Reds have made in that short lifespan so far, it just feels right that the Reds should be battling with the best.

Fans were singing and making themselves heard outside the stadium as the players walked in. The build-up to the game was full of excitement and anticipation with everyone waiting patiently for kick-off.

United Women fans were in fine form at Leigh Sports Village.

As soon as the Women’s Champions League music blasted around LSV and Paris Saint-Germain began to attack, the atmosphere changed.

We are so used to our fans being loud and proud at home that the periods when you could hear a pin drop caused an eerie feeling. The nerves were evident and the more that PSG came forward, the harder it got.

Despite this, with every attack from the visitors came another impressive response in United's defence. Whether it was Millie Turner clearing the ball off the line or Mary Earps proving why she is the best goalkeeper in the world, United weathered the storm and made it to half-time with honours still even.

Brazilian forward Geyse was brought on for the second half and her presence on the pitch immediately lifted the crowd. With every touch of the ball, the fans got excited, with every attack or chance, the atmosphere began to build. Her skill was exciting, her flair pushed the rest of the team forward. Every time she got the ball, fans were ready for a shot.

By the time Hinata Miyazawa and Melvine Malard were brought on, there was a belief once again amongst the crowd that we were still in the game, despite being 1-0 down. It felt like it was only a matter of time before we levelled things up. From Miyazawa putting in some important tackles in midfield to Malard making her presence known in the PSG box, the swing of momentum was firmly in our favour.

Hinata Miyazawa posing with fans.

Our summer signings have quickly become fan favourites and it’s easy to see why. They bring a flair that gives us an extra edge in a game.

After scoring on her debut against Arsenal last week, Malard was back once again to grab the goal that levelled things up. To the fans in the stands at LSV, or watching the game live on TV around the world, it seemed the momentum changed when the substitutes came on and that is how manager Marc Skinner saw it too. 

Melvine Malard and Geyse made an impact from the bench, as did Hinata Miyazawa.

“Geyse is enjoying herself. We brought her on to make an impact,” he said.

“That is the level we need. You play the ball to her and our team breathe. Then Mel [Malard] came on, bringing quality into the game. She is vibrant and injects that into everyone she meets.

“And then Hini [Miyazawa], I thought she was such a player tonight.”

After the home leg, the tie remains all square but United's belief that the tie is there to be won has never been stronger.