Two months after their lost final against Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain returned to the Champions League. Make way for the 2020-2021 edition with the reception of Manchester United for the first group match. Two years after their knockout round lost against the Mancunian club, PSG wanted to take revenge. But for that, it would have been necessary to put ingredients that Parisians did not have in store tonight. Long harmless, rough at all levels, and more than feverish in the second period, Paris was surpassed by an enterprising Manchester United (1-2). And if Keylor Navas kept the ship afloat for a long time, the Parisian goalkeeper could not do anything about the penalty withdrawn from Bruno Fernandes (22nd), and the late cannonball of Marcus Rashford (86th). Put back into play by the counter-camp ofAnthony Martial, Paris has never managed to display the intensity worthy of such a great event.
Martial, executioner with a big heart
Absent during the famous round of 16 of 2019, Paul pogba was a substitute at kick-off. A surprise for the French, who grew up in Paris, but good news for PSG who had to compose without Marquinhos. In front, the PSG, arranged in 4-3-3 with Neymar in false 9, relied on the other hand on a Angel Di Maria in legs, and all the more motivated as he faced his former club, where he spent a difficult year. In fact, the Argentine was all good shots at the start of the match: on the lookout in the area on a service from Neymar (10th), very close to the opening of the scoring on a curled from the left repelled by From Gea (12th) or in the direction of play. And on a corner obtained by… Di Maria, Mbappé centered in two stages towards Kurzawa who passed very close to the opening of the score with the tip of the foot at close range, but he stumbled on a great De Gea (12th).
However, this good start to the Parisian match was reduced to nothing by Anthony Martial. After a first acceleration full of vivacity, the Frenchman obtained an indisputable penalty on a control oriented in the area which pushed Abdou Diallo at the fault (19th). Exercise specialist Bruno Fernandes saw his attempt rejected by a Royal Navas. Except that the Costa Rican goalkeeper of PSG had advanced before the strike: the penalty was to be withdrawn. Same men, same side chosen by the Portuguese, but not by the Parisian goalkeeper, this time beaten (0-1, 22nd). Dominant since the kickoff, PSG were surprised by the Red Devils reinvigorated by this double twist of fate. Stunned, the Parisians finished the first act painfully, unable to deploy their game. It will be necessary to wait a few minutes before the break to see Mbappé and Kurzawa combine several times, without success, after another dangerous strike from Bruno Fernandes (38th).
Navas, De Gea: guardian angels
Lucid on the lack of efficiency of his team, Thomas Tuchel rectified the situation by returning to 4-2-3-1 on the restart with the entry of Moise kean. Back on his left side, Mbappé was immediately more evident. The French had a cold first Tuanzebe and Mctominay before unleashing a coiled strike boxed by De Gea, still imperial. But carried by Mbappé, PSG finally dynamited the meeting. On a corner obtained by the French, Anthony Martial achieved the perfect header. The Manchester striker was just in the wrong area and his helmet surprised his own goalkeeper to the delight of Paris (1-1, 53rd). In the process, the game got carried away but Kean, Parisian side (55th), and Rashford, Mancunian side (58th), lacked precision. In the process, Martial adjusted a head – in the right camp, this time -, slightly above.
Under more and more English rain above the Parc des Princes, the meeting was unbridled. Manchester returned to the assault by Fernandes, above (67th), and especially by a low shot from Rashford out of the fingertips by Navas (68th). Ten minutes later, the same two protagonists found themselves on a new Rashford warhead, countered by the feet of the Parisian goalkeeper. Enough to give ideas to the ghost of Neymar, who was finally coming out of his hiding place to also take his chance at the entrance to the surface, and to also be disgusted by the opposing goalkeeper (82nd). A stroke of brilliance, but nothing more. Because the dominated team, it was PSG. And it is therefore logical that Manchester United regained the advantage at the end of the match, on a Rashford missile, served by Pogba in the area (1-2, 86th). Finalist two months ago, PSG begins the 2020-2021 edition in the worst possible way.