Manchester United made Champions League history as Marcus Rashford’s last-gasp penalty secured a 3-1 win away to Paris Saint-Germain, sending the English side through on away goals after a 2-0 loss in the first leg.
No side had ever progressed in a knockout match in Europe’s elite competition after losing a home first leg by two or more goals, but United did the unthinkable, Rashford adding to Romelu Lukaku’s brace after VAR drama.
Although PSG controlled the first half, seeing 76 per cent of the ball, Thilo Kehrer and Gianluigi Buffon were guilty of gifting the in-form Lukaku two goals either side of Juan Bernat’s equaliser, meaning United led at the break.
PSG looked as though they had done enough, but with the use of technology, Presnel Kimpembe was penalised for handball and Rashford emphatically dispatched the opportunity, seeing the Ligue 1 team eliminated at the last-16 stage for a third year in succession.
A poor Kehrer pass in behind Thiago Silva gifted United the early boost they needed, as it released Lukaku and he duly slotted home after skipping past Buffon in the second minute.
But PSG swiftly began to dominate and drew level 10 minutes later – Bernat applying a straightforward finish after Kylian Mbappe’s pass across the face of goal.
Despite their dominance, PSG fell behind again before half-time, as Buffon spilled Rashford’s long-range shot and Lukaku punished him, shortly before United – who are already dealing with a lengthy injury list – withdrew Eric Bailly following a mistimed Marco Verratti challenge.
PSG should have put the tie beyond United late on, but Mbappe slipped when trying to round David de Gea, while Bernat hit the post when the loose ball ran into his path.
United made them pay.
Diogo Dalot’s long-range strike hit the arm of Kimpembe in the box and, following a review, a contentious penalty was given, with Rashford confidently smashing his kick beyond Buffon to spark mayhem among the United fans and book a place in the last eight.
What does it mean? Solskjaer has the magic touch
If there were any doubts about Solskjaer getting the job on a permanent basis inside United, there syrely cannot be any remaining now. While the Red Devils were certainly aided by two PSG gifts and VAR controversy, the fact remains they pulled off a truly remarkable turnaround, one only possible for a team all playing for each other.
Lukaku’s hot streak continues
Another very effective display from the Belgian, as he scored a brace for the third game on the bounce. Rashford was ultimately the hero, but Lukaku was immensely sharp and United would not have been in the position to complete their comeback were it not for his earlier efforts.
Thilo never recovers from a Kehr-less start
When you essentially give away a goal in under two minutes, it is always going to take something to pick yourself up again. The defender simply never really recovered, constantly looking nervous against Rashford. In the end, Kehrer’s error proved costly.
Key Opta facts
– PSG conceded with three of the four shots on target they faced in this game and have been eliminated at the last 16 stage in each of the last three Champions League seasons.
– Lukaku’s first goal after 111 seconds was Manchester United’s fastest in a Champions League knockout match since Wayne Rooney scored after 63 seconds against Bayern Munich in March 2010.
– Since the start of last season, the only Premier League players to score more goals in all competitions than Lukaku (42) are: Mo Salah (64), Harry Kane (64) and Sergio Aguero (55).
– Rashford’s winning penalty was the first he has ever taken in a competitive match for Manchester United.
– PSG have lost seven of their last 12 Champions League knockout matches (W4 D1), including each of their last two at the Parc des Princes.
– Manchester United have now scored in 21 consecutive away matches in all competitions, equalling the club record set between November 1956 and September 1957.
PSG have plenty of time to get their minds right again, as they do not return to action until next Tuesday, when they are away to Dijon in league action. United, however, travel to Arsenal two days earlier in a massive Premier League game which could be crucial in the battle for a top-four finish.