Despite missing key attackers Neymar and Edinson Cavani, Paris Saint-Germain handed Manchester United a reality check in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie, winning 2-0 at Old Trafford.

The victory gives PSG a strong advantage heading into the second leg, who also hold the bonus of playing the match in their home stadium.

PSG’s goals all came in a seven-minute period, with Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe striking early in the second half.

It was a feisty affair, with referee Daniele Orsato sending off United’s Paul Pogba in the 89th minute and distributing a total of eight yellow cards.

However, PSG were simply too superior for United and ended Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s dream form dating back to December.

While disappointing, the loss for United does not damage their season and is a wake-up call. Anything can happen in football, such as in the 2016/17 season when Barcelona overcame a 4-0 first leg deficit against PSG to win the second leg 6-1, also in the Champions League round of 16. Their form in the Premier League has also been outstanding, while they remain in the FA Cup.

As for PSG, the victory was extra special due to the absence of their two stars. United had entered the match as favourites, with many expecting them to continue their good run. However, this simply was not the case and Thomas Tuchel’s men outclassed United in their home stadium.

Angel Di Maria had two assists against his former club, despite being booed throughout the match. Di Maria also was lucky to escape serious injury, after United’s Ashley Young shoved him into a fence. The Argentine, who celebrates his 31st birthday tomorrow, had the last laugh and played a large role in PSG’s victory.

The second leg will take place at the Parc des Princes in three weeks.

Advertisements
Tim Sperliotis
tsperliotis@gmail.com