PSG brought Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s undefeated run as interim Manchester United manager to an end with a succinct 2-0 win at Old Trafford in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
On an evening in which Thomas Tuchel got his plan of attack right from the off, a stultified United were often reduced to bystanders as goals from Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe gave PSG victory on foreign soil.
United’s cause wasn’t helped when both Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard went off injured within five minutes of half-time, with the subsequent introduction of Alexis Sanchez once again proving somewhat akin to being reduced to 10 men.
Kimpembe then put the Parisians ahead in the 53rd minute when the defender came flouncing in at the far post to volley Angel Di Maria’s corner past David De Gea from point blank range.
Mbappe soon doubled the lead on the hour mark, galloping through the middle at full chat to get on the end of another inch-perfect Di Maria centre.
Just two minutes later it took a trademark De Gea reaction save to prevent Mbappe adding to his tally – a goal that would have seen him score his 15th Champions League goal and therefore move past Ronaldo Nazario’s career tally at the tender age of 20.
From that point PSG began to idle and slow things down while maintaining full control as United were pretty much left to their own devices – the travelling fans goading their hosts with choruses of ‘Ole!’ as passes were exchanged and minutes were wicked away.
However, there was still one more flashpoint left to come as the home side were actually reduced to 10 men in injury time when Paul Pogba was shown a second yellow for once again crucially mistiming one of those ‘leg dangle’ things he does.
And so it ended 2-0 to the Ligue 1 champions, with United – by Solskhjaer’s own post-match admission – facing a “mountain” of a second leg if they intend to continue fighting on the European front this season.
Pogba will definitely be missing through suspension, but United might also be without Martial and Lingard depending on the severity of their respective muscular injuries.
Honestly, depleted as they were, it’s difficult to see PSG, who look far more seasoned, letting this one slip from this particular vantage point.