Almost dead and buried and on the threshold of a Champions league exit at the hands of Paris Saint Germain, Manchester United had the unenviable task of taking on the favourites for the competition in their own back yard with a depleted team, seemingly, with only pride to play for.
Nights such as these are rare, when a team hindered by so many obstacles comes out on top but Manchester United seem to feature regularly in these types of scenarios.
No team in the competitions history has ever lost the first leg and still gone through but Manchester United have never been seduced or intimidated by these types of statistics.
United relish the impossible and embrace the unlikely and this 3-1 win against Paris Saint Germain, is yet more evidence that Solskjær must be followed around by a United representative armed with a contract and a pen until he submits and signs.
He’s not the best tactician, often changing tactics and formation while the game is in progress, he is certainly inexperienced but let’s ignore all of that, he understands footballers and how to squeeze the best from them, even when it appears there’s nothing to squeeze.
Apart from Alexis Sanchez, who is an exception to almost every rule, the players who’s artistic licence was suffocated by Jose Mourinho, are playing with renewed purpose and vigour.
The resilience and determination is back and the last minute drama that was typified the Ferguson era and featured Solskjær, one memorable evening in 1999.
I’m not a United fan, as everyone knows but even I have to take my hat off and give credit for the Herculean performance and result which no one predicted.
United had only 28% of possession and just how a victory is remotely possible with that percentage is bewildering.
There were periods were United struggled and looked as if they would break but football is never as simple as it seems and at a time when the CL had become tired and predictable, the results of Ajax and United have delivered optimism when it was most needed.
— Ibrahim (@IbraComps10) March 6, 2019
United were obviously blessed by Lady Luck yesterday against paris Saint Germain, when against all the odds, they got the early goal they craved from Lukaku after barely 2 minutes on the clock, that advantage wouldn’t last long.
It was clear, that with the inventiveness, clarity of thought, precision and speed of Kylian Mbappé, Ángel Di María and Dani Alves, United could potentially suffer a landslide of goals.
Juan Bernat, PSG’s attacking left-back, replied from Mbappé’s pass in the box and we were in for something of a spectacle for even the impartial observer.
This wasn’t how it was supposed to play out and a bookmaker somewhere has surely taken to a darkened room to lick his wounds with this unexpected ‘Fergie’ type victory in the 90th minute, with the game all but over except for one breathy ‘Fweet’ on the referees whistle.
The goals up to the penalty are nothing more than brush strokes on an emerging painting and were nothing exceptional. Lukaku restored the lead for the visitors before half time and the clock started to countdown.
There were near misses, close calls and opportunities begging but if all came down to a gutsy ref and a vital last minute decision.
Damir Skomina, was informed of a possible handball from Kimpembe in the penalty area and after consultation with the monitors, which seemed last forever, the ref pointed to the spot.
Rashford dispatched it with ease and utter calm, after which there wasn’t enough time for Paris Saint Germain to fashion a reply.
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One could forgive PSG players for feeling robbed but this wasn’t a hand of god incident, it was dumb misfortune and bad luck. It evoked memories of Solskjaer’s last gasp goal to clinch the Champions League and Treble in 1999, was the most spectacular and audacious theft that left Bayern Munich devastated.
As an event and as entertainment, this game fulfilled its promise ten times over. No one will recall how it never really caught fire but they will remember the result and ensuing drama in the Paris Saint Germain Vs Manchester United game.