Manchester United overcame a two-goal first-leg deficit to beat Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 and knock the French giants out of the Champions League on Wednesday in one of the greatest comebacks in the competition’s recent history. The Red Devils advanced to the quarterfinals on away goals at a soggy Parc des Princes.
The result was not without controversy. Marcus Rashford scored the series winner from the penalty spot in the fourth minute of stoppage time, a decision that was made after video review determined that PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe had handled Diogo Dalot’s shot:
In truth, though, the Parisians have only themselves to blame. PSG squandered the hard-earned two goal advantage they picked up at Old Trafford last month with a pair of amateurish defensive blunders long before the decisive call.
Those gaffes gave United life, with Romelo Lukaku scoring twice in the first half-hour. Lukaku pounced on an errant Thilo Kehrer back pass and rounded Gianluigi Buffon to foreshadow the drama to come less than two minutes into the contest:
It was a dream start for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, but it didn’t last long. Juan Bernat leveled the match and restored the hosts’ two-goal aggregate advantage just 10 minutes later after some horrendous defending in the box by the visitors left keeper David de Gea helpless:
Then another dreadful PSG mistake, this time by the legendary Buffon, gifted United (and Lukaku) a second. The 3-2 overall scoreline held up until halftime, meaning United’s players came out for the second half knowing that another away goal over the final 45 minutes would be enough to send them through to the quarterfinals via the tiebreaker:
For 44 of those minutes, it looked like PSG would survive. Then Slovenian referee Damir Skomina ran over to the sideline video screen after being alerted to an infraction. And while it didn’t look quite like a “clear and obvious” penalty, Skomina nonetheless pointed to the spot. And Rashford did the rest:
For PSG, it’s yet another early exit from Champions League, a competition that the club’s Qatari owners have been obsessed with winning for the last few years. That’s the reason they signed Brazilian superstar Neymar for a record-smashing quarter-billion dollar transfer fee in 2017. Yet the injured Neymar could only watch from the stands as his team lost without him. And now PSG will be have to wait for next year once again.
Porto knocks out Roma in extra time
There was no shortage of drama in Wednesday’s other Champions League match, a see-saw affair between Roma and Porto. The Italians headed to Portugal’s capital up 2-1 following the first leg, but the hosts quickly put themselves in position to advance on away goals when Francisco Soares struck in the 26th minute:
But Daniele De Rossi leveled the game from the penalty spot before halftime to restore Roma’s aggregate lead. Shortly after the break, though, the hosts got the all-important second goal from Moussa Marega.
Things stayed that way well into in extra time, when Edin Dzeko nearly stole the win for the visitors:
Instead, with three minutes left and a penalty kick tiebreaker looming, Alex Telles broke the deadlock from the spot after the video assistant referee chimed in yet again:
Roma advanced to the Champions League semifinals last season, but this year’s campaign has ended early.
Porto, meanwhile, which features Mexican internationals Hector Herrera and Jesus Corona, advances to the quarterfinals in Europe’s top competition for the first time since 2015.
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