Contentious refereeing decisions go the way of PSG in 2-0 win
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lost for the first time as Manchester United caretaker manager as Paris Saint-Germain ran out 2-0 winners in the Champions League last-16 first leg at Old Trafford. With Paul Pogba sent off late on.
After a heated first half, the visitors were clinical with two quick-fire goals. First Presnel Kimpembe turned home at the far post from an Angel Di Maria corner (53). Before Kylian Mbappe finished off from another Di Maria assist (60). Giving United a huge task to overcome.
It would have been more but for some fine goalkeeping from David de Gea. But matters were made worse when Pogba was dismissed late on for a second yellow card. Meaning he will miss the second leg.
United registered just one shot on target as Solskjaer was defeated having gone unbeaten in his first 11 games. Meaning an uphill task in the second leg at Parc des Princes on Wednesday, March 6.
There were five yellow cards in a fiery first 45 minutes. As both sides cancelled each other out. But the best of the chances did fall to the visitors. Former United midfielder Di Maria curled wide from range early on. Before Mbappe slid in to poke wide under pressure from De Gea after being played through on goal by Julian Draxler.
On a yellow card, Young then nudged Di Maria out of play and into the railings at Old Trafford, prompting anger from the PSG players. But Italian referee Daniele Orsato kept his second yellow card in his pocket on this occasion.
Solksjaer’s plans were impacted when Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial were forced off with injuries. Therefore the introduction of Juan Mata and Alexis Sanchez was imminent. While De Gea was at his best to turn away Mbappe’s header moments before PSG’s opener.
Getting on the end of a Di Maria corner, Kimpembe lost Nemanja Matic at the back post before side-footing into the back of the net from close range.
A minute later, Dani Alves’ effort deflected off Pogba and dropped inches wide with De Gea rooted. However, PSG did get their second as they broke up the pitch with Di Maria on the left. The Argentine squared for Mbappe to simply slot home after beating Eric Bailly to the ball.
It should have been three but for De Gea’s clawed save from Mbappe. When the Frenchman went through one-on-one again. The goalkeeper once more kept the score down, beating away Juan Bernat’s fierce angled shot.
There was a late flashpoint as Pogba was sent off for a second booking from card-happy Orsato. Who showed 10 yellows overall. Meaning United will miss a key man for the second leg in three weeks’ time.
This compounded United frustration as Kimpembe could easily have seen red early in the second half. The Frenchman was already on a yellow card when he dragged down Marcus Rashford as he raced past him. Orsato claimed the England international had dived. But video replays clearly showed the defender pull the forward to the ground. Within ten minutes the defender scored the opener.
The omens aren’t good for United. None of the previous 34 teams to lose the first leg of a Champions League knockout match at home by two or more goals have progressed to the next round.
Since the start of the 2016/17 season, only Cristiano Ronaldo (16 goals) has scored more goals in Champions League knockout matches than PSG’s Mbappe (7).
Manchester United now go to Chelsea in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday night, while Ligue 1 leaders PSG are at St Etienne on Sunday evening. The second leg of this tie will be played in Paris on Wednesday, March 6.