Paris Saint-Germain, the most inept great team in Champions League play over the past handful of years, saw their dreams dashed in the competition once again as Manchester United orchestrated a shock comeback by winning today’s round of 16 second leg by a score of 3-1.
When PSG drew United after the conclusion of the group stage, it looked like the Parisians had finally gotten some UCL luck, since at the time United were playing like dog shit. However, after the Red Devils sacked José Mourinho and brought in Ole Gunnar Solskjær and the new manager revitalized the team, the tie suddenly looked much more intriguing heading into the first leg.
Even without the injured Neymar, though, PSG were fantastic in that first leg, and their 2-0 win away at Old Trafford that day set them up well to progress to the quarterfinals. But this new-look United still had some fight left in them.
Today’s second leg in Paris started perfectly for us neutrals. An inexplicable error by PSG defender Thilo Kehrer sent Romelu Lukaku clear through on goal, and the Belgian punished the mistake by scoring the crucial opening goal just over a minute into the match.
PSG full back Juan Bernat equalized the scoreline 10 minutes later, but Lukaku scored a second time—once again thanks to a terrible defensive error, this time by the washed Italian legend, Gigi Buffon—in the 30th minute to keep the heat on.
Because United spent the bulk of the match just a goal away from taking the aggregate lead, the game remained tight throughout. However, PSG were pretty clearly the better team, which is reflected in the match stats: PSG had 72 percent of the possession, and took 12 shots to United’s 5. Though they often threatened, PSG never could find that second equalizer that would’ve given them breathing room.
Ultimately, that attacking profligacy came back to bite PSG. In the final minute of regulation time, United substitute Diogo Dalot ended a promising attack by uncorking a shot from outside the box that had about zero chance of going in. Ushering it even further over Buffon’s crossbar than it otherwise would’ve flown and out for a corner kick was some part of French defender Presnel Kimpembe’s body. It didn’t look like much in live time, but the video assistant referee flagged the incident for a possible handball violation.
After consulting the review screen, the head ref awarded United a penalty. It’s an incredibly close call, but you can see what made the ref give the spot-kick. Kimpembe does appear to be looking at the incoming shot and moving his arm that direction before he turns his back on the play.
Up stepped Marcus Rashford to take the penalty, and the rest is history.