Manchester United stunned the world. Rallying from a 2-0 aggregate-goal deficit to knock off Paris Saint-Germain allows them to advance to the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time since the 2013/14 tournament. As for PSG, it’s the third consecutive tournament where they were knocked out in the Round of 16.
To say that the odds were not in Man U’s favor is an understatement. Coming into the second leg without the likes of Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Antonio Valencia, Alexis Sanchez, and several other key players truly put them at a huge disadvantage.
Paul Pogba did not participate due to a red card he was issued in the first leg. However, Man U knew that the injuries and suspensions were no excuse because PSG came into this game without Neymar and Edinson Cavani. For the Red Devils, there was no room for excuses as it was time for them to put up or shut up.
PSG’s missed chances; Although Romelu Lukaku gave Man U the lead just two minutes into the game and again in the 30th minute, PSG had all the time in the world to level and seal the deal. PSG was able to maintain 72 percent of ball possession and complete over 750 passes while Man U was held to less than 300 passes.
PSG put pressure and was able to create scoring chances only to come up short. Man U’s defense despite the pressure showed great resilience and found ways clear the ball away to deny PSG. Man U’s defense was able to inflict pressure of their own in order to disrupt all of PSG’s attack threats.
Lukaku was able to lead the attack and penetrate PSG’s well-organized defense. Lukaku took advantage of crucial mistakes by the PSG defense, as well as goalkeeper Gigi Buffon. He is on a tear as he now has six goals in his last three games.
During injury time, Man U was awarded a controversial penalty due to a handball by PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe. Man U’s Marcus Rashford converted the penalty, making the score 3-1 and allowing Man U to win and advance. The penalty came after a review via the VAR system showing the ball hitting Kempembe’s arm while his back was facing the intending scorer.
CBS Sports spoke to a World Cup final official and he explained that the ruling is legitimate because Kimpembe’s arm was away from his body. He added that no penalty would have been awarded had Kimpembe’s arm been lining up with his body vertically. Neymar called the decision a disgrace.
History in the Making
Man U is the first club in Champions League history to overpower a 2-0 home first-leg deficit. Scoring in 21 consecutive away games in all competitions equalizes a club record that was set over 60 years ago. Lukaku scoring 111 seconds into the match, makes his goal the club’s fastest goal in a Champions League knockout game since Wayne Rooney scored in 63 seconds against Bayern Munich in 2010.
What’s next for both clubs?
PSG will continue Ligue 1 play and will participate in a semi-final match of the Coupe de France tournament. It’s a tough pill for PSG to swallow but they have to wrap up their Ligue 1 play in style. They find themselves playing for pride and that does mean something; finish with their heads up high.
Man U is taking on Arsenal this Sunday in Premier League play. Man U is currently looking to finish as high as possible in the Premier League standings knowing that the title is very well out of their reach now. However, they’ve improved greatly since the sacking of Jose Mourinho and they look to keep a positive vibe within the club.
As of right now, it’s unclear who Man U will face in the quarterfinals. They’ll find out on the 15th of this month.