Paris Saint-Germain took a immense step towards avoiding an embarrassing early exit from the Champions League and left Manchester United with work to do to succeed in the final 16 as Neymar scored twice in a 3-1 win at Old Trafford. PSG, United and RB Leipzig are now all tied on nine points at the top of Group H with one game to go. But the vinaigrette champions are in the driving seat as they host eliminated Istanbul Basaksehir on Tuesday, while United need a point when they commute to Germany. “Winning at Old Trafford is without doubt one of the biggest challenges on the planet,” said PSG boss Thomas Tuchel. “The team showed that they wouldn’t accept defeat. “We have taken a big step, a very tough one, but we still have to take the final step. We still want to work tough, play with the same mentality, the same fire.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were left to regret a host of immense chances early in the second one half with the match poised at 1-1 after Marcus Rashford cancelled out Neymar’s early opener.
“We had some big chances, big moments and that’s the reason the difference when you get to the big games,” said Solskjaer.
Alternatively, the United boss’ decision not to replace Fred before he used to be sent off seconds after Marquinhos scored PSG’s second used to be a naive mistake which cost his side.
The Brazilian midfielder had been fortunate to escape a red card before half-time when he used to be only shown a yellow card after a headbutt on Leandro Paredes used to be reviewed.
“Fred shouldn’t put his head towards him, it’s either nothing or a red card, he is a bit fortunate to stay on,” conceded Solskjaer, who admitted to considering making a change at half-time.
“We spoke approximately staying calm, staying on your feet and the second is nowhere close a yellow card.”
Leipzig’s late winner in a 4-3 thriller in Istanbul earlier on Wednesday piled the pressure on PSG to win and retain their destiny in their own hands going into matchday six.
The visitors started brightly in response and went in front after just six minutes when Neymar pounced on Kylian Mbappe’s deflected shot to drill low past David de Gea.
Fred’s first fortunate escape came on 24 minutes as Italian referee Daniele Orsato determined a yellow card used to be sufficient after reviewing the headbutt incident.
Tuchel used to be livid when United needed just eight more minutes to take advantage of that reprieve when Rashford’s shot took a depraved deflection off Danilo to wrong-foot Keylor Navas.
– Martial’s overlook –
But whether PSG’s luck used to be out before the break, they got the let-off they needed at the start of the second one period through United’s profligacy.
Anthony Martial someway blazed over with the goal at his mercy after brilliant work from Rashford and Edinson Cavani.
Cavani is PSG’s record goalscorer after scoring 200 times in seven seasons at the Parc des Princes, but the Uruguayan used to be allowed to leave for free when his contract expired in June.
The 33-year-old used to be inches absent from exacting revenge with a fragile chip over Navas that came back off the crossbar before Marquinhos’s courageous block denied Martial again.
Tuchel’s future as PSG boss would be plunged into doubt by a failure to progress from the group stage, but he made a telling contribution with a change of system to shore up his side’s susceptibility on the counter-attack as Ander Herrera and Mitchel Bakker were introduced.
De Gea produced an improbable save from Bakker low to his left, but that only delayed PSG retaking the lead by a couple of seconds as, from the resulting corner, the ball broke for Marquinhos to prod home from near range.
“We knew the little details would make the difference,” Marquinhos told RMC Sport. “They did not take their chances, we took ours and we are delighted tonight.
“In the second one half we had the courage and personality to play and take risks. The coach gave us the confidence, telling us to take risks. It worked and we are in reality pleased.”
Less than a minute after the goal, United were in the end down to 10 men as Fred’s luck ran out despite playing the ball before tripping Herrera.
And PSG gained some measure of revenge for their stunning Champions League elimination to United in 2019 by sealing a immense win with a third in stoppage time when Neymar rolled home Rafinha’s cut-back.
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