PSG, thanks to goals from Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe, beat Manchester United (2-0) at Old Trafford, in the first leg of the Champions League on Tuesday, and took a major step towards the quarterfinals. 

Though there was no Cavani and Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain faced little problem and took a big step towards the quarter-finals. This Tuesday, the capital club took the best of Manchester United at Old Trafford in the round of 16 first leg of the Champions League. This is the first victory of a French team on the turf of MU! This success in the away leg allows Paris to take a serious option for qualification towards the quarters, before the return leg at Parc des Princes on March 6th. Without Neymar and Edinson Cavani, Angel Di Maria was the great architect of this victory.

A very competitive first period

After a minute of applause in honor of Emiliano Sala, the opening match was balanced and Di Maria, whistled by his former fans, created the first goal-bound situation of the match with a shot, not on-target. A few minutes later, the English club reacted with Paul Pogba with Gianluigi Buffon to the rescue. As Mbappe was invisible, PSG was struggling to be dangerous and chained clumsiness in the game in front of a furious Tuchel! At the half-hour mark, Mbappe finally woke up but lost his duel against De Gea.

Also Read: Lesser known facts about Mbappe

Second half, Man Utd tormented

Tired of making efforts in the first act to contain Mbappe, the English rearguard failed to hold out long after returning from the locker room. In the 53rd minute, Dani Alves addressed his center on the head of the French who found the gloves of David De Gea. On the corner that followed, it was Presnel Kimpembe who opened the scoring, Kylian Mbappe also ended by breaking the lock seven minutes later. After a very fast delivery, Angel Di Maria was thrown to the left of the attack. His low center found Mbappe. The call of the Frenchman, who deposed Lindelof, allowed him to be alone with De Gea. His deviation left no chance to the Spanish goalkeeper (0-2, 60th minute). The fourteenth goal of his career in the Champions League, and seventh in the knockout phase.

Solskjaer cracked, a reality check

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It is the first crack in the Solskjaer era, that so far had worked so well. The Norwegian technician focused on the guaranteed formula with the trio Lingard-Martial-Rashford, the three responsible for giving the frantic pressing that in the first few minutes and did send Tuchel defensive. Expecting a particularly aggressive United, he preferred to provide a median, sturdy with the Verratti-Marquinhos combination, leaving the newcomer Paredes on the bench. In addition to the sustained pace that the Old Trafford audience appreciated, the challenge also played on the nerves of the Norwegian boss. In the second half, as the scenario changed. As United went on hiding, PSG took control in Old Trafford and took the game to their opponents, where the interim one failed miserably.

Pogba bottled by Marquinhos

The duel that particularly marked this meeting was the one between Marquinhos and Paul Pogba. Long marked individually by his direct opponent, the French world champion did not have the leisure to express himself, as usual, his natural composure affected, the worst in the middle of the pitch for United and proving it. Worse, he cracked at the end of the game, being sent-off (89th) after a second foul on Daniel Alves. The first was made, as a symbol, on a long-time elusive Marco Verratti, who finished the match after his 75th-minute finish, touched the ball 87 times and 94% of passes. The Italian was able to juggle between defensive tasks, like a precious tackle on Martial just before the break.

United squad, out of depth

Manchester United had been second best for most of the night and looked to be out of their depth against what was a weakened PSG side. Confident and imposing in the Premier League, United suddenly looked hesitant and confused as they shrunk against an elite European side. Throughout the night, United could not trouble Paris Saint-Germain and were unable to create a single chance that threatened Gianluigi Buffon. It shouldn’t be overlooked that United were dealt some terrible luck with both Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard sustaining injuries in the first half and failing to return after the interval. Along with Marcus Rashford, United’s success over the last two months has been built on the pace and movement of this pair, and they simply didn’t look the same side in attack without them. Alexis Sanchez and Juan Mata were their replacements but struggled to make an impact on the night.

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