As often when it breathes the scent of crucial matches on the European scene, Paris Saint-Germain is unpredictable. Against Manchester United this Wednesday evening (3-1), he did not fail in his reputation. While he was going to reproduce the scenario of his last two Champions League matches and his last two outings in Ligue 1, taking the advantage before disintegrating, the club from the capital came back from nowhere to clinch a victory as epic as it is unexpected.
Marquinhos, the rebellious man
One day from the end of the group stage, PSG is almost qualified. He doesn’t even have to beat Istanbul Basaksehir in a week. Only one scenario would lead to his elimination: a defeat against the Turkish club (already eliminated from all European competitions) accompanied by a draw between Leipzig and Manchester United. As against Atalanta Bergamo last August, Marquinhos put on the savior’s habit, tearing off with the tip of his foot after a billiard shot in the opponent’s area to restore the advantage to his people (69th) while Manchester outrageously dominated since the end of the first quarter of an hour.
This is very logical, but with a touch of success (helped by the involuntary deviation of Danilo Pereira), than Marcus Rashford had equalized in the 32nd minute, responding to the opening goal of a Neymar opportunistic (5th). But the success was then very capricious with the Red Devils, who missed two huge situations. Ideally launched, Anthony Martial sent a ball to the stands during a face-to-face with Keylor Navas (49th), he who had already given a gift to the Parisians on the way out by scoring against his camp. Then it’s Edinson Cavani who hit the crossbar despite a tasty lob on his former teammate and Martial saw his recovery be countered in extremis by … Marquinhos (57th).
When Marquinhos threw himself in front David de Gea, Manchester received a real stab, interrupting their outrageous domination. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men naturally discovered themselves, they who only needed a draw to validate their qualification for the round of 16. Paris had a great time against. First, Kylian Mbappé missed the frame when he finally held his 100th goal with the capital club and especially the opportunity to end his scarcity of more than a year without scoring in C1 (89th). Neymar, he did not flinch, scoring a double, offered on a plateau by Rafinha (90 + 1 ‘).
From (almost) nothing to (almost) everything
If the players of Thomas tuchel have not erased their many gaps in the game, this unexpected victory, acquired with courage, has all of a founding victory. Last season, it was with their backs to the wall that PSG had experienced its two electro-shocks: against Dortmund in March and against Atalanta in August. With the return of executives like Marco veratti and an infirmary which has emptied well, the lights are turning green for the club in the capital. With his back to the wall a week earlier, he could finally complete the group stage in first place and feed the ambitions normally expected in a finalist coming out of the most prestigious European competition.