The most prestigious cup hosts two fantastic fixtures today. Porto taking on Roma on their turf while Manchester United travel to the French capital to try and record a historic comeback. Will the French champions outplay Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men again or will it be a fightback?
MANCHESTER UNITED VS PARIS SAINT GERMAIN
Drawn against each other after hectic group stages for both the teams, no one was clear favorites up until the kick off of the first leg. The red devils had defeated Juventus in Turin and suffered a loss back in Manchester. Two wins against Young Boys ensured a place in the round of 16. PSG managed to top arguably the group of death with Liverpool and Napoli in contention.
Manchester united started off with their strongest XI with Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial as the fluid front three. Matic, Pogba and Herrera defined their midfield while skipper Ashley Young, Luke Shaw, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly were the back four. David de Gea started in the goal. However early injuries to Martial and Lingard hurt united’s chances of winning the match early on, with the home team being unable to recover. PSG on the other hand missed Neymar and Cavani with Mbappe and Di Maria playing in their attack, both of whom stole the show in Manchester.
With 0-0 at halftime it was anybody’s game until right after the whistle for the second half when the French center half Presnel Kimpembe put PSG ahead. It was followed by an brilliant goal from Kylian Mbappe as the second away goal shattered any hopes of United coming back into the match. A red card in the dying minutes of the game for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s star player, Paul Pogba meant that he would be missing the second leg.
Can Manchester United beat PSG?
With Cavani back in training and expected to start tonight, United will miss 9 players of their senior squad due to injuries with the exception of Paul Pogba (suspended). A huge set back of injuries means the English giants will have to start an inexperienced midfield of Mctominay, Andreas Periera and Fred. Sanchez, Mata Lingard and Martial are all out which also means United have a dented force in their attack.
But a bad history of defeats in the knockout stages for PSG will give United some hope. PSG were knocked out by Real Madrid last year despite taking the lead in the first match and then giving it up to a 3-1 loss. The second game went against them as well. Barcelona knocked them out of the champions league by overturning the tie with a 6-1 win compared to PSG’s 4-0 in Paris. Will it be another slip up for the French champions or will they be up to the task?
THE YOUNG GUNS
With Manchester United facing several injury blows, they have taken four teenagers in their 20-man squad. Mason Greenwood plays upfront and would be a valuable asset on the bench tonight for Ole if chosen to play. Brandon Williams plays at left back where he has captained the Manchester United U-18s. Angel Gomes who had a debut in 2017 at the age of 16 is no stranger to the United fans. Lastly it is Garner and Chong playing in the midfield and right wing respectively. Can a Manchester United young gun repeat what Rashford did in the Europa league league hardly 3 years ago and rise to the occasion?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given some very positive statements about his team who would not be giving up anytime soon. But Tuchel’s men also know that the job is far from done. Will it be the French Champions who go through to the last eight or can the English giants come up with a historic comeback?
Stay tuned to find out!
By Ibraheem Awan.