Manchester United players celebrate with penalty scorer Marcus Rashford

Paris Saint-Germain 1 Manchester United 3

Just when you think you’ve seen it all as a Manchester United fan, our wonderful club goes and throws up another epic conclusion to a match. And of course, it's somewhat fitting that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the man who scored the most famous goal in our history, steered us to an incredible 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night.

PSG held a 2-0 advantage after their victory at Old Trafford three weeks ago, but as an incredible second leg unfolded, a Romelu Lukaku double put an injury-ravished United side 2-1 ahead on the night before Marcus Rashford fired home a dramatic last-minute penalty, awarded with the aid of VAR, to send the Reds through to the quarter-finals on away goals. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said before the game this wasn’t mission impossible and the Reds certainly had a right good go at the task. Within two minutes of the kick-off the deficit had already been halved.

A terrible backpass from Thilo Kehrer was pounced upon by the in-form Lukaku and the Belgian rounded Gianluigi Buffon before sliding the ball home to stun the Parc des Princes.

Unfortunately for the Reds, the goal seemed to immediately waken up the hosts and thereafter came a sustained period of dominance and possession for PSG. United  survived a couple of close calls but were unable to prevent Bernat levelling the proceedings; the Spanish left-back arrived at the far post to convert a low cross from Kylian Mbappe, who had got in behind the Reds’ defence on PSG’s right.
 
Romelu Lukaku goes around Gigi Buffon to score the first goal
Lukaku goes around Buffon to open the scoring for United.
The hosts well and truly had their tails back up and Solskjaer’s men were thankful for the strong reactions of David De Gea when Dani Alves, Mbappe, Angel Di Maria and Bernat again all linked up. Thankfully United’s Spanish stopper was there to beat away Bernat’s effort at point-blank range.

By this point PSG were enjoying 86 per cent of the possession and they almost grabbed a second goal through a Di Maria rocket which thankfully sailed just wide of De Gea’s left-hand post. But as Solskjaer had already stated, anything is possible and on the half-hour mark his side went ahead. Rashford took aim from around 22 yards and while Buffon will know he could have done better with the parry, you had to credit Lukaku for being there to gobble up the spillage and restore United’s lead on the night. The predatory finish chalked up a notable stat for the Belgian – it meant he had scored multiple goals in three successive appearances for the first time in his club career.

Diogo Dalot, who had made such a big impact in the dramatic 3-2 win over Southampton, entered the fray five minutes later as a replacement for Eric Bailly and slotted into the right-wing spot with ease once more. Three minutes before the end of a breathless first half, he made a superb dart into the box from the right only to see his cross cannon off a defender and into the thankful arms of Buffon.
The second half began pretty evenly before PSG began to take a foothold once more. And United hearts were in mouths on 56 minutes when former Reds winger Di Maria clipped a finish past De Gea but the goal was rightly ruled out for offside.

Ashley Young, who had started the game on the right wing but switched to full-back following Bailly’s departure, made a hugely important interception on 72 minutes when the ever-dangerous Mbappe looked to find Di Maria. 

Ole insisted all his young players were ready should they be needed and Tahith Chong, fresh from coming on against Southampton, joined the action 10 minutes from time in place of Andreas Pereira, while 17-year-old Mason Greenwood made his United debut soon after in place of Young.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer passes on tactical instructions to Andreas Pereira
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer passes on tactical instructions via Andreas Pereira.
De Gea had had a relatively quiet second period, with huge credit due to the brilliant centre-back duo of Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof, but United needed the Spaniard on 82 minutes when he blocked substitute Thomas Meunier’s drive from a tight angle.

Then a last-ditch tackle from Smalling stopped Mbappe in his tracks, after he rounded De Gea, and Bernat then hit the outside of the post from the loose ball as time began to tick away for the Reds. PSG were still leading 3-2 on aggregate and seemingly en route to the next round.

Confusion reigned in the final minute when Dalot took aim from 20 yards and his effort was deflected away for a corner off Presnel Kimpembe. The referee, Damir Skomina from Slovenia, then signalled for VAR and after deliberating in front of a pitchside TV screen for a couple of minutes, he shocked everyone in the stadium by pointing to the penalty spot.

Rashford was the man for the job and he duly stepped up to thump home the spot-kick and prompt wild celebrations on the pitch, on the touchline, in the stands and all the way back to Manchester.
Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring his injury-time penalty
Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring his injury-time penalty.
Ole’s at the wheel… and we’re heading through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

MATCH DETAILS


PSG: Buffon; Kehrer (Paredes 70), Thiago Silva, Kimpembe, Bernat; Marquinhos, Verratti, Draxler (Meunier 70); Alves (Cavani 90), Di María, Mbappe.

Subs not used: Areola, Cavani, Choupo-Moting, Kurzawa, Dagba.

Scorer: Bernat 12.

Booked: Di Maria, Paredes.
David De Gea celebrates at full-time
David De Gea celebrates the stunning victory at full-time.
United: De Gea; Bailly (Dalot 35), Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; Young, McTominay, Fred, A.Pereira (Chong 80); Rashford, Lukaku.

Subs not used: Romero, Rojo, Garner, Gomes.

Scorers: Lukaku 2, 30, Rashford pen 90.

Booked: Shaw.

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