Champions League: Three Takes From The First Leg Between Manchester United And Paris Saint-Germain

The first leg between Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United is in the books. Despite the homefield advantage, Man U’s lost to a PSG without Neymar and Edinson Cavani. PSG won the game by a score of 2-0 and they’ll enter the next meeting with a comfortable aggregate lead, as well as homefield advantage. The next meeting is March 6th.

Furthermore, Man U will go to Paris next month without Paul Pogba as he received a red card. Not only that, but this is Man U’s first loss under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær. Man U has been shut out for the first time since last November. Their chances of advancing in the next phase of the 2018-19 Champions League are very slim.

Three takes on the game:

Ruthless Aggression: A total of 24 fouls(17 on Man U and 7 on PSG) and eight yellow cards issued( four for both sides). Five yellow cards issued in the first 35 minutes of the game. The game truly got physical as both teams made a habit of frustrating each other. French defender Presnel Kimpembe was overzealous, fouling in the first 10 minutes.

Late in the game, Kimpembe controversially avoided a second yellow card. During injury time of the first half, PSG midfielder Angel Di Maria got tackled by Man U defender Ashley Young, resulting in Di Maria falling off the pitch and hitting a barricade. Amazingly, Young, who had been issued a yellow card earlier, stayed in the game. The decision made PSG players furious almost resulting in a heated verbal confrontation between the two sides.

Historical facts: Kylian Mbappe scored his 14th Champions League goal and he’s now tied with the Brazilian Ronaldo for Champions League goals. PSG goalkeeper Gigi Buffon earned his 50th career clean sheet in Champions League play becoming the third goalkeeper in Champions League history to do so, as well as becoming the first Italian goalkeeper to do so. PSG is the first French club to defeat Man U at Old Trafford in any competition in Europe coming in with four draws and ten losses. Solksjær is the second Man U manager to lose his first Champions League game.

Patience was key: PSG demonstrated the strategy of patience. In the first half of the game, they threatened to score only to be denied. PSG played it safe by not allowing the frustration to get into their heads. Instead, they relied on Man U allowing their frustrations to get the better of them. Man U’s offensive attacked continually, but grew in frustration with failed offensive pushes. PSG was patient enough to until the time was right to take control of the game.

What’s next for both teams?

PSG will play four Ligue 1 matches and one French Cup game. PSG is looking to increase their momentum so they can seal their ticket to the Champions League quarterfinals.

Man U is taking on Chelsea next Monday in a FA Cup match and will then play three Premier League games, one of which will be against Liverpool. Man U must win their next four games so they can come into Paris as a motivated, focused, and confident team. Beating Chelsea and Liverpool will be a big help. Man U has to pull themselves back together and regroup.

In the history of the Champions League, no team has ever advanced after suffering a 2-0 loss on home soil in the first leg in the knockout stage. Man U is looking to overcome the odds and become the first team to do so

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