Six first team players injured, one suspended, three vital squad members injured. Already two goals down in the first leg at home. An important fixture away at France against one of the genuine title contenders. Who would have even given them a chance. Exactly that’s when United scripted a fairy tale comeback to defeat the Ligue 1 champions PSG 3-1 and stormed their way into the quarterfinals of UCL on away goal advantage.
It was as if a film was being shot, with the perfect script and plots. Multiple twists and plot changes later, the Red Devils triumphed. The comeback kings justified their name tag in what will be remembered as a magical win for years to come. With Ole at the wheel, how could anything go wrong for the Reds? A bench full of academy graduates played against Champions, a match worthy of being compared to the combat between David and Goliath. In the end the Busby Babes’s worthy successors emerged successful in the enthralling duel.
The night was electric, fans were buzzing with enthusiasm. United Legends had graced the stadium once again to witness what this club has produced tirelessly for years. An astounding, breathtaking and a magical comeback was borne witnessed by all present. United rose from the dead to overcome all barriers as they defeated PSG 3-1 charismatically and unexpectedly.
Even a filmmakers couldn’t have produced a better script for the night. Lukaku opened the scoring from the Reds in the 2nd minute as he effortlessly dribbled past Gigi Buffon and slid in his first of the night. The home team didn’t take too long to equalise. Mbappe, Di Maria, Draxler, Verrati and Dani Alves all used their speed, skill and co-ordination to continuously trouble the United defense. They relentlessly made inroads into the United box until the equaliser was found.
For the next 15 minutes it seemed that the second string United midfield couldn’t hold the PSG attack and would crumble. PSG created their best chances during that time period. Lack of utilization and failing to cash in on some big chances eventually cost the French champions the match and effectively ruled them out of the Champions League. At the 30′ minute Rashford took a wild shot at the goal only for Buffon to spill it out of his grasp. Lukaku used his inherent poaching abilities to ensure United were on the lead once again as early as the 30th minute.
The second half saw United lying back and defending. They switched to a 4-5-1 formation waiting to counter on any available opportunity. Substitutions from the home team stabilised them to an extent. PSG held the ball for major parts of the game and created an enormous amount of chances only for their forwards to spill them. A long ranger by Dalot in extra time deflected of Kimpembe’s arm and was adjudged to be a hand ball by the VAR. Rashford clinched it for United through the resulting penalty and engraved his name in the rich history book of the club with a win against PSG.
Here are the three hugely important things we learned from the fightback.
1. The Academy is the Future for United
Three Academy players, Andreas Periera, Scott Mctominay, Marcus Rashford started the game for United. They had four more academy players on the bench. This shows clear signs that United is all about developing the youth. Players here are not just cultivated to be sold. The bench comprised of a promising talent from the U19’s. Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong, Gomes, Garner are all raw talents waiting to be polished and presented before the world.
They are world class talented prospects who can be groomed and nurtured to the Senior Level fruitfully. The club’s future looks bright with such starlets waiting for chances in the wings and ready to tackle any challenge thrown their way.
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2. Nobody, Nobody writes off United until the final whistle is blown
Since the start of the season, United have consistently justified their name tag of “Comeback Kings.” They have now successfully risen from the dead on several occasions.
Starting with Newcastle United till now United have shown that a game is not over unless the whistle is blown. Since the last season all the top teams in EPL have faced the wrath of United’s never give up spirit. Holding on to Sir Alex’s legacy the club has relished feasting on late goals and demolishing teams right at the death and crushing their hopes of a win.
3. Hard Work, Resilience,Grit and Determination coupled with a bit of Luck can win you games
There is a misconception in the footballing fraternity that possession equals domination in game. Possession of the ball for long periods doesn’t always ensure a victory. PSG created 11 chances in the game compared to United’s 3. The scoreline is proof enough to conclude that clinical finishing dominates ball possession in football.
The United midfielders were just superb. Thrown into the far end at such a critical juncture, the boys stepped up big time. Critics favourite McTominay and Fred proved what it is like to play for United. They held the fort together, made valuable interceptions, blocks, clearances and passed the ball around smoothly. It was all down to collecting points from the opposition’s mistakes due to limited resources available in the team. A plan that succeeded big time.
Lukaku was once again the star performer and his brace set the tone for the match. Smalling and Lindelof proved to be the better set of defenders as they collectively pocketed the dangerous Mbappe and nullified his threat. Shaw and Young were once again crucial defensively against PSG.
De Gea saved almost everything that came his way except for that one goal. The entire team stepped up and brought together their A-game to clinch the quarterfinal spot. With this win against PSG, United have proved that football isn’t all about money spent, it’s about teamwork, team-spirit and character.
In the end, Ladies and Gentleman,This Is what Manchester United is all about ♥