Talking Points: PSG 1 United 2
Manchester United started our 2020/21 Champions League in the best possible manner as we beat Paris Saint-Germain once again late on in France.
Nineteen months on from our famous victory at the Parc des Prices, Marcus Rashford once again grabbed a late goal to secure victory, after Bruno Fernandes netted in the first period.
Sandwiched in between those strikes, Anthony Martial scored an unfortunate own goal from a corner, but United dominated proceedings as the game drew to a close and deservedly came away with three points from the French capital.
On another memorable night in Paris for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men, there were plenty of talking points…
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BIG CHANGES FROM OLE
Without several key players unavailable for the Reds on Tuesday, the boss was always going to be forced into several alterations from last weekend’s win over Newcastle United. Solskjaer opted to hand Alex Telles his debut at the Parc des Princes, with the Brazilian playing at wing-back. Our new signing enjoyed a very impressive maiden appearance and his offensive runs down the left flank caused PSG problems all night, while his whipped corners really caught the eye until he was withdrawn after 67 minutes. Meanwhile, Axel Tuanzebe featured in his first senior game for United since December 2019 and faced a tough night up against PSG’s impressive attacking trio, but the Academy graduate’s excellent display was arguably his strongest to date for United.
BRUNO’S BIG NIGHT
Our no.18 may have been the first United player ever to find out he was set to skipper the Reds, live on TV. That’s what happened to Bruno during Monday’s pre-match press conference and just over 24 hours later, the Portuguese international put in a magnificent performance in Paris. Fernandes linked the play between midfield and attack all night and repeatedly provided service to Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. An all-round great night for our captain-for-the-night.
Well, there was one moment to forget from Bruno - when he saw his penalty saved by PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas after 22 minutes. However, his anguish didn’t last for too long, as VAR correctly noticed that the Costa Rican had strayed off his line as the spot-kick was taken. Therefore, the referee ordered the penalty to be retaken and Bruno showed his unflappable mentality as he demanded the ball and the responsibility of having another go. Second time around there was no mistake from the stand-in skipper, and he calmly slotted it past Navas.
You don’t become the world’s most-expensive player without having a few flicks and tricks in your locker, and Neymar certainly has that. We saw a few examples of that on Tuesday evening but, by and large, the United defence managed to keep the former Barcelona man quiet throughout the 90 minutes. It wasn’t just Neymar who posed a threat to the United backline, with Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria also offering plenty of dangerous moments, but the Reds’ defence put in a faultless performance to snuff out most attacks from the hosts.
On the rare occasions our defence was breached, David De Gea proved to be an imposing figure in the United goal. The Spaniard was called into action on several occasions, and produced an excellent full-length save to deny Di Maria in the first period, moments before making an instinctive stop from Layvin Kurzawa’s effort in the box. In the second period, as PSG mounted more pressure, De Gea made perhaps his best stop of the night to palm Mbappe’s curling effort wide, on an evening where once again the Spaniard showed his supreme quality and class.
TWO FAMILIAR FACES
Tuesday’s match was the first time we’ve come up against Ander Herrera since he departed United in 2019. The midfielder played 189 games in a red shirt and established himself as a firm fans’ favourite at Old Trafford. Elsewhere Di Maria, who spent the 2014/15 campaign in Manchester and played for PSG in both legs of our last-16 clash two seasons’ ago, was also in action.