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58 DAYS AFTER their Champions League final disappointment, Paris Saint-Germain return in the hope of going one better. 

Tonight they face a ghost of European failures past at the Parc Des Princes: Manchester United, who infamously shocked them over two legs in 2019. That victory earned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the United job on a full-time basis, with the jury firmly out on his record in charge since. 

Welcome to our live coverage of PSG/United in Group H of the Champions League. Get in touch with us below the line or email gavincooney@the42.ie, with kick-off fast approaching at 8pm. 

Team news follows next…

Team news 

PSG 

Thomas Tuchel has picked his big guns up front: Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and erstwhile United attacker Angel Di Maria all start. Ander Herrera also faces his former side. 

Manchester United 

United return to the Champions League with some defensive issues, as Harry Maguire misses out through injury. It looks like Solskjaer has picked a back five, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and debutant Alex Telles at wing-back with Axel Tuanzebe, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw forming an inexperienced -and shaky – defence against PSG’s front three. 

Tuanzebe is playing his first game in 10 months. 

Bruno Fernandes captains United in Maguire’s absence, with Paul Pogba left on the bench. Fred and Scott McTominay will anchor midfield, with Rashford and Martial up front. 

United, unsurprisingly, are set up to play on the counter attack. 

Donny Van De Beek is on the bench, too, though Edison Cavani misses out against his old side. 

The other two sides in the group are RB Leipzig and Istanbul Basaksehir, who face off in Germany tonight. That game also kicks off at 8pm. 

In the early games tonight, Alvaro Morata scooted twice as Juventus won 2-0 away to Dynamo Kiev. 

Club Brugge, meanwhile, were 2-1 winners away to Zenit St. Petersburg. 

PSG are in the tunnel, and are about to emerge to…nobody, unfortunately. Champions League games are permitted up to 30% capacity at the moment, but that’s subject to the local health guidelines. 

With Paris in a Covid “red zone” and under a 9pm curfew, this game is behind closed doors. 

United are playing in that hideous, psychedelic Zebra kit. 

Peeeeeep! We’re underway! 

2Mins

As expected, it’s a back three for United, with Wan-Bissaka and Telles playing at win-back. 

4Mins

United have made a pretty confident start, and Kurzawa had to be alert to cut-out a smart through ball from Martial for Rashford. 

5Mins

Now Kurzawa gallops forward, and Wan-Bissaka slides in and forces a corner. 

6Mins

United clear the corner pretty comfortably. 

It’s a 5-4-1 for United without the ball, with Rashford dropping off to the left and Martial leading the line. 

9Mins

Fernandes whips a superb cross into the six yard box which Diallo swipes at in front of Rashford, but gets just enough on it to divert the ball back to Keylor Navas. 

That cross came at the end of a slick period of possession for United, in which they worked the ball from one wing to the other. They’ve started well. 

11Mins

Neymar drifts in with intent off the left wing, Mctominay tries to foul him but the Brazilian – somewhat out of character – stays on his feet and shrugs him off. His prodded through ball for Di Maria comes to nothing as the whistle blows for a foul against the latter. 

12Mins

De Gea is forced into action for the first time, throwing himself left to claw away a curled Di Maria effort from the edge of the box. Corner PSG. 

13Mins

Superb save by De Gea! 

PSG take the corner short as United fall asleep, and Mbappe whips a devilish cross into the six-yard box, where De Gea denies Kurzawa at point-blank range! 

15Mins

Neymar’s influence grows: he drives at the United defence and he’s again pulled back by McTominay. This time the whistle blows, and it’s a free-kick in a dangerous position for PSG…

16Mins

Neymar thumps the free kick right into the wall. 

16Mins

In the other game in this group, RB Leipzig have taken an early lead at home to Istanbul Basaksehir.

17Mins

Angel Di Maria lies in a crumpled heap in the ground after a challenge with Fred, and though it’s not a head injury, United generously put the ball out of play. 

Di Maria, you may not be surprised to hear, is grand. 

20Mins

United press high and rob the ball from PSG, and then they snap into attack. Rashford pushes the ball behind the defence for Martial, but he skews his shot miles wide. 

A poor finish, but diligent work out of possession by United and that gives them a blueprint to get something from this game. 

21Mins

Penalty United! 

Now they have a glorious chance to get that goal. 

Martial is clipped in the area by Diallo, and the ball is now at the feet of captain Fernandes… 

22Mins

SAVED! 

Fernandes skips in the run up, side-foots it to the ‘keeper’s left but Navas goes the right way and pushes the ball away! 

22Mins

….or not. 

Navas was found to have come off the line following a VAR review, and the penalty will be retaken! 

22Mins

GOAL! 

Fernandes scores at the second attempt! He called Navas’ bluff by taking the exact same penalty, with the goalkeeper going the wrong way.

United lead! 

25Mins

United are on top now, and they force a corner partly through sloppiness by Kurzawa. 

26Mins

Fernandes does really well to track back and intercept a Neymar pass for Mbappe as PSG broke clear on that corner. 

31Mins

Better by PSG, but Shaw is alert and heads away a dink into the six-yard box by Mbappe. 

32Mins

David De Gea is called into (ultimately needless) work in diving at Di Maria’s feet to win the ball, just before the offside flag went up. 

34Mins

This time it’s Shaw who is forced into the needless defensive work, sprinting back to cut out a skidding Neymar cross for Mbappe before the offside flag pops up again. 

37Mins

Neymar squirts a ball down the left wing for Mbappe, whose absurd pace takes him in front and then around Tuanzebe and into the penalty area. 

Tuanzebe catches up as Mbappe arcs into the box, however, and leans into him and forces him off the ball. Mbappe goes to ground and Neymar protests, but the referee is unmoved beyond booking Neymar for his haranguing. 

37Mins

McTominay goes into the book – a yellow card for scything down Neymar.

38Mins

Di Maria hoists the free-kick much too close to David De Gea. 

39Mins

Fernandes forces a good save from Navas! 

PSG are so passive, and allow Fernandes time and space to stride forward and take a dig from 25 yards. It’s a terrific curling effort that Navas claws left. Corner United…

40Mins

….ooof and United go close again. The ball hit McTominay and then Diallo before rolling just wide of Navas’ left-hand post. 

The subsequent corner comes to nothing as the referee finds a foul amid the clatter of bodies in the box. 

43Mins

United’s counter attack looks lethal: Rashford knocks the ball beyond Danilo in midfield and so finds loads of space into which he can run. 

He does that, but Diallo tracks back and slides in to deny Rashford as he gets into the box. 

United have a purpose to their attacks that PSG, so far, don’t. 

45Mins

Better by PSG, as they try United’s resolve with a couple of drilled crosses from the left. The second is more dangerous, bouncing off Mbappe and Lindelof before De Gea hacks it clear with his feet.

46Mins

Two added minutes at the end of a first half in which United have been comfortable and PSG non-existent. 

45Mins

Mbappe settles himself and curls a shot goalward…that hits Neymar and skids away for a goal kick. 

45Mins

HT: PSG 0-1 Manchester United 

A really fine first-half performance by United. They lead through Fernandes’ penalty, and while PSG have been miles from their best, United’s approach is smothering their attack while also retaining a threat of their own. 

A really good night so far for Solskjaer.

45Mins

Elsewhere… 

Chelsea 0-0 Sevilla 

Rennes 0-0 Krasnodar 

Lazio 2-0 Dortmund 

Barcelona 2-0 Ferencvaros 

RB Leipzig 2-0 Istanbul Basaksehir 

45Mins

Half-time change for PSG: Moise Kean is on for Idrissa Gueye. 

46Mins

We’re underway again in Paris!

46Mins

Kean, on loan from Everton comes on and Di Maria drops into midfield, to give PSG a little more threat. 

48Mins

Oh dear, Rashford. United crowd out Neymar and then just knock the ball forward, which left United 2 on 1! Rashford, however, rather than drive toward goal, tried to play the ball through for Martial, but it’s way overhit and the chance is gone.

48Mins

Superb by De Gea. 

Mbappe cuts and twists his way into the box – giving McTominay vertigo on the way – and sees his wicked shot beaten away by the United ‘keeper. 

De Gea saw that late, it’s a terrific save. 

49Mins

PSG win a free-kick that’s lamely aimed toward the box and easily cleared by Fernandes. The ball breaks for Herrera, who swipes a speculative volley into the empty stand.

50Mins

Fernandes pings a cross-field ball onto Martial’s feet, and Diallo stands him up and concedes a corner. 

51Mins

Telles whips the ball in and PSG fail to clear, and McTominay sees his goalward shot blocked by his own player, Victor Lindelof. 

55Mins

Okay, PSG have finally upped the ante. Kurzawa flicks the ball across the goal and the ball comes across the crossbar. Then Mbappe forces a corner. 

56Mins

GOAL! PSG 1-1 Manchester United (Martial og, 55′) 

Oh dear. Neymar’s corner is flicked into his own goal at the near post by Martial. All that good work by United…undone. 

57Mins

PSG are in the mood now. Wan-Bissaka does so well to track Mbappe’s run into the box, and dives in at the precise moment to block his shot. 

59Mins

Rashford is set clear again, but Danilo makes a good recovery run too shuttle back and block his shot in the box. 

United force another corner, Telles to take… 

59Mins

McTominay rises highest to meet the corner but his header is blocked, but the ball is quickly recycled by United, and Martial heads over! 

61Mins

Kean drives into the box and Wan-Bissaka slides from behind. Kean goes to ground, the PSG players wail for a penalty, but the referee’s initial call was correct, as Wan-Bissaka won the ball. 

64Mins

Confusion in the United box, but De Gea and Lindelof manage to half-clear the ball between them. It gets as far as Neymar, whose shot is blocked behind for a corner. 

This time United deal with the delivery.

66Mins

Gorgeous play by PSG – Neymar flicks the ball behind for Di Maria who in turn slides a ball left for the overlapping Kurzawa, but United hack his cross clear. Superb play, and PSG are very much upping the ante now. 

67Mins

Change for United -Alex Telles makes way for Paul Pogba. 

Will presumably make a change to the United system, too…

69Mins

Pogba’s first involvement is to tee up Fernandes for a dreadful long-range effort. He holds his hands up in apology. 

71Mins

Navas denies Rashford! Neat play by Fernandes, Martial and finally Rashford, whose low shot is superbly tipped away by Navas, who follows it up by punching the corner clear. 

United have switched to a back four with Pogba on the pitch now, so they are certainly going for this… 

73Mins

That substitute has handed the initiative to United again: Fernandes has a floated pass over the top of the PSG defence for Rashford cut out by Navas. 

73Mins

Tuanzebe challenges Mbappe in the air, and is rather harshly booked for it. 

74Mins

Tuanzebe again does well to match Mbappe stride-for-stride to force him off the ball. 

75Mins

Wan-Bissaka loses a challenge for the first time tonight, but as Kurzawa skips past him, Fred scuttles across and forces a corner. 

75Mins

The corner is poor, but Kean is given a free header from a cross from the opposite side of the pitch, which he heads harmlessly wide. It was a decent opportunity for Kean, and there are mystifying looks among the United defence as to how he found himself in so much space.

77Mins

Pogba and Martial exchange passes to allow the latter find space in the box, but he ends up fouling Diallo and the decision is a free out. 

78Mins

Fred robs Neymar in midfield, and Rashford tees up Fernandes for a shot he scuffs wide. 

PSG have gone off the boil again. 

79Mins

Double change for PSG: Rafinha and Colin Dagba replace Herrera and Florenzi. 

80Mins

Navas denies Rashford again! 

United counter swiftly again. Rashford flies down the right and pulls the ball across for Fernandes, who tries to pull the ball back to Martial in front of an open goal. Kimpembe diverts that effort, but the ball breaks to Rashford who sees his shot blocked by the goalkeeper. 

United by far the better team at the moment. 

83Mins

Neymar – almost out of frustration – just lashes a shot at goal from distance, and De Gea slaps the ball away.

84Mins

PSG see a corner cleared and United break with Fred, whom Danilo drags down just before he plays a pass behind the Paris defence for Rashford. 

Danilo takes a yellow card, which he will see as a small price. 

86Mins

Another double change for PSG: Pablo Srabaia and Mitchel Bakker on for Di Maria and Kurzawa. 

87Mins

Oooh a United corner causes havoc in the PSG box. The ball bounces off Pogba’s chest, and Martial goes too ground before he can pull the trigger. There are howls from the United players for a penalty, but the referee is unmoved. 

88Mins

GOAL! PSG 1-2 Manchester United (Marcus Rashford, 87′) 

That’s what United deserve! Rashford picks the ball up at the edge of the box, turns, strides forward and lashes a fabulous low shot in off the foot of the post! 

89Mins

Van de Beek and Daniel James come on for Fernandes and Martial. 

United don’t have long to close this one out. 

89Mins

Neymar sees a first-time effort fly narrowly over the crossbar. 

92Mins

Three added minutes. 

United have the ball at the corner flag, and they are almost home and hosed. 

90Mins

Tuanzebe, who has been terrific, clears a Bakke cross. United are almost there now. 

FT: PSG 1-2 Man United 

Another great night in Paris for Rashford and United. This was a richly-deserved victory, against an admittedly useless PSG. 

United sat deep  and smothered PSG for the first hour but looked dangerous on the counter attack, and the introduction of Pogba and switch to a back four when PSG were in the ascendancy swung the game back in United’s favour. 

A perfect start to the group for United, and a very, very good night for their manager. 

Thanks for following, night! 

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About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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