PARIS ST GERMAIN 1, MANCHESTER UNITED 3 (Man Utd go through on away goals after 3-3 scoreline on aggregate)
Marcus Rashford scored an injury time penalty awarded by VAR to send Manchester United into the UEFA Champions League quarter finals away at Paris St Germain.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – the man in the gold bib – proved once again he had the Midas touch after Marcus Rashford scored a 94th minute penalty – his first spot kick for his club – to level the scores on aggregate and hand United a third away goal.
The Norwegian had to don the training bib over his dark coat to prevent confusion with PSG players from the assistant referee on the other side of the pitch as he stood in his technical area masterminding yet another amazing result – his 14th and most unlikely win in 17 games for the Reds.
And Solskjaer extended his own record of consecutive away wins in charge of Manchester United to nine.Embed from Getty Images
United became the first team in the history of the Champions League and the European Cup to lose by 2 goals in the first leg at home before going on to win the tie.
And it was another embarrassing collapse by PSG who threw away a 4-0 first leg lead at the same stage against Barcelona in 2017.
Romelu Lukaku scored his third double in as many games to to give United hope but Juan Bernat’s goal meant they needed another one to win the tie.
PSG had spent much of the first half tearing up injury-hit United’s makeshift right flank and should have made more of the chances they made, including hitting the post late in the game.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was forced into a change after his failed Eric Bailly experiment at right back ended with the Ivorian being forced off with injury.
The Norwegian can consider himself lucky to have just one goal to make up at half time but by the time stoppage time arrived at the end of the game, a VAR penalty handed United a lifeline and Marcus Rashford grabbed the chance with both hands.
Paris St Germain, 2-0 up from the first leg at Old Trafford, were unchanged but could afford to bring back previously injured players Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier to the bench.
United, however, were missing ten first team players starting with the suspended Paul Pogba but also including the injured Anthony Martial, Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard, Alexis Sanchez, Phil Jones, Matteo Darmian, and Antonio Valencia.
Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was forced to name four academy youngsters on an inexperienced bench due to those injuries.
James Garner, Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes, and Mason Greenwood joined Dalot on the bench for the biggest game of their lives while the most senior outfield man on the bench – Marcos Rojo – had not long returned from injury.
United had nothing to lose after Paris St Germain had inflicted United’s biggest European defeat – 2-0 at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tactical gamble at Paris St Germain initially backfires
United lined up in a 4-4-2 with Eric Bailly at right back and Ashley Young further forward on the right side of midfield – a huge gamble by Solskjaer and one that backfired.Embed from Getty Images
Both managers had claimed that the first goal would be crucial but neither side could have envisaged such an early goal.
Romelu Lukaku look full advantage of hesitancy by the home side after just 1 minute and 51 seconds and putting United 1-0 up after Thilo Kehrer’s poor back pass opened the door for a neat finish from an acute angle for the big Belgian after he had rounded Gigi Buffon.
Juan Bernat’s ball almost reached Kylian Mbappe for a possible equaliser, and the teenage French striker almost got his goal with the next attack after his pace took him clear of the United defenders but couldn’t hit the target.
Paris St Germain hadn’t failed to score in any game this season and United were soon run ragged by waves of attacks from the home side who utterly dominated the game after the shock opening.
United couldn’t hold out though and Bernat side footed Mbappe’s square ball in past De Gea from 4 yards out in the 12th minute.
Dani Alves volleyed the ball over, while Mbappe shot into the aide netting and Bernat had a shot palmed away by De Gea when he should have buried it in a breathless first quarter for PSG.
Di Maria forced a diving save by De Gea, while Bernat’s cross was missed by the Argentine winger who was going for the spectacular.
Rashford’s first shot was wayward as United briefly threatened but the home side were utterly dominant.
Rashford’s next shot was spilled by Buffon after it bounced in front of him and Lukaku was there to gobble up the loose ball with a left footed strike after 30 minutes.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tactical reshuffles change the game
United were in dire need of a solution at right back and Diogo Dalot came on to replace Eric Bailly after 35 minutes after the Ivorian succumbed to injury.
And it wasn’t the first change that Solskjaer made as he reacted to opposite number Thomas Tuchel’s changes positively throughout.
Rashford thrashed the ball wide from Young’s free kick from an offside position as United realised they were just one goal away from leading the tie on away goals.
The second half was slightly more even as United looked more solid with their re-shaped defence but chances were few after Bailly’s departure.
Di Maria thought he had equalised after 56 minutes after Mbappe’s flick released him with Young napping and he lifted the ball over De Gea but United were saved by the offside flag.
Romelu Lukaku sustained an ankle injury but was a virtual passenger as both sides took stock after an action packed first half.
Julian Draxler was withdrawn for Leandro Paredes after aggravating a hamstring injury while the luckless Kehrer was replaced by Thomas Meunier with 20 minutes to go.
Mbappe touched the ball wide after a mistake by Young allowed PSG and Di Maria a rare chance to counter attack against a compact United side.
United responded with a very brave substitution with Solskjaer handing 19-year-old Chong his Champions League debut – ten minutes against the French in place of Andreas Pereira in only his third appearance for the Reds.
De Gea saved from Meunier while Bernat hit the post after being slipped through by Mbappe who couldn’t beat United’s keeper.
17-year-old Mason Greenwood was brought on for Young – his debut for the Reds and their second youngest player to appear to United in Europe after Norman Whiteside – with 3 minutes to go as Solskjaer made his final roll of the dice with four academy products on the pitch.
VAR penalty completes Manchester United comeback against Paris St Germain
And there was one last twist to go as VAR came into play going into added time with United desperately pushing forward.
Dalot’s cross struck Presnel Kimpembe on the arm in the box and the referee examined the VAR monitor at the side of the pitch before awarding the spot kick.
Rashford stepped up and coolly beat Buffon with his first spot kick for the Reds to put United into the driving seat.
De Gea had to punch the ball away as PSG threw caution to the wind, throwing on Cavani for Dani Alves.
Marquinhos threw himself down hoping for a penalty in a frantic final few second but there was to be no reprieve for PSG after a titanic 10 minutes of added time.
MATCH STATS – PSG 1, Man Utd 3 (3-3 Aggregate, Man Utd win on away goals).
Paris St Germain: Buffon, Kehrer (Meunier 70), Thiago Silva, Kimpembe, Bernat, Dani Alves (90+5), Marquinhos, Verratti, Di Maria, Draxler (Paredes 70), Mbappe
Paris St Germain Subs not used: Areola, Choupo-Moting, Kurzawa, Dabga
Booking: Di Maria, Paredes
Goal: Bernat 12
Man Utd: De Gea, Young (Greenwood 87), Smalling, Bailly (Dalot 36), Lindelof, Shaw, Fred, McTominay, Pereira (Chong 80), Lukaku, Rashford
Man Utd Subs not used: Romeo, Rojo, Garner, Gomes
Goals: Lukaku 2, 30; Rashford 90+4 pen