Neymar and Marquinhos set the stage for a thrilling Group H final as Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig vie for two places in the Champions League round of 16.
Marquinhos’ header in the second half, moments after blocking a low shot from Anthony Martial, was the vital goal surrounded by a brace from Neymar which secured PSG a 3-1 victory that leaves them tied with two others teams on nine points.
PSG looked destined for a much more comfortable victory as Neymar flew home from a tight angle in the sixth minute and Fred appeared to hit Leandro Paredes in the middle of the first half. But the United midfielder was given a brief reprieve with a yellow and the hosts were at the same level soon after when Marcus Rashford’s shot deflected Danilo.
Fred would squander his second chance with a reckless foul on Ander Herrera, earning himself a second yellow which made it all the more difficult for United to knock down Marquinhos’ goal, meaning they can no longer afford to defeat RB Leipzig. in next week’s decisive round. lighting. A brilliant third from Neymar on a late counterattack sealed the deal.
Recap the main talking points of the game below
Tuchel’s tactics save the day
Almost as soon as the whistle sounded for the second half, it seemed obvious that Thomas Tuchel was intending to go for the United jugular. No matter how many numbers the hosts sent, Neymar, Mbappe and Moise Kean would not follow.
At least it looked like a deliberate ploy. The reasons behind this weren’t entirely obvious, yes it would theoretically prevent United full-backs from joining the attack but although Alex Telles was kind of a threat there was no clear sporting reason. why PSG should be so desperate to keep Aaron Wan-Bissaka. to defend.
Whatever the logic this proved to be clearly ineffective, having collected six shots in the first half, it wasn’t until the 64th minute that they pulled off an effort again on David De’s goal. Gea. By then, however, Tuchel had spotted the problem and was in the process of fixing it.
Kean’s withdrawal for reserve left-back Mitchell Bakker and the addition of Ander Herrera in midfield hardly seemed the natural changes as PSG continued the game, but it worked. Suddenly Neymar and Mbappe’s defensive mistrust didn’t pose a problem as they formed a striking duo with Bakker and Florenzi pushing high in support.
This tactical change didn’t provoke Marquinho’s header, but it did help win the corner where that goal came from, with Bakker straddling Neymar and seeing his low shot superbly saved by De Gea.
Tuchel has handled under tremendous pressure this season at PSG and hasn’t necessarily helped his cause on multiple occasions but it was certainly a win he deserved a big part of the credit for.
Rashford alongside the best forwards
From the start at Old Trafford it seemed like a game where Neymar and Mbappe would reaffirm their status as one of the best frontlines in Europe. They did, but this game was a healthy reminder that Marcus Rashford is at least at the level just below the two PSG superstars.
There was a fair share of fortune in his goal, so in fact it ultimately becomes one of his goals rather than Danilo’s, but Rashford earned that chance with his fearless attack on the right. At a time when United looked drunk on punch, their No.10 continued to claim the ball, stepping back to put down the impressive Abdou Diallo and rushing forward when the opportunity to block presented itself.
If he gets that goal, it should be a fair reward for his excellent combination play with Edinson Cavani early in the second half, rushing to the right before calmly spotting that Anthony Martial would have a better angle for his shot. ‘he squared the ball. United’s No.9 should have done a lot better than exploding the ball in the stands.
Reception of Fred rouge
The great debate over whether consistency should trump common sense may never be resolved in much of football refereeing, but it seemed for some time that we had come to an approach. consistent that everyone agreed to make sense with regards to off-ball “head shots”. If you move your head towards an opponent, you will get a red card.
Sometimes that meant treating a forehead brush near an opponent with the same gravity as a purer stroke, but ultimately if you do something so cynical and silly you can’t complain if you see red. .
This was certainly the case when Nicolas Pepe tackled Ezgjan Alioski in a Premier League game between Arsenal and Leeds United. He was quickly fired and greeted without any sympathy, with his own manager Mikel Arteta saying he had ‘let down’ his teammates.
Why then, in an incident that was remarkably similar to Pepe’s, did Fred only see yellow when he attacked Leandro Paredes? It was a curious decision without any logical explanation or much immediate precedent. It would seem insane that the power with which the United player moved his head significantly dictates the penalty.
In the end, PSG had no reason to bemoan Fred’s continued involvement in the game. The Brazilian had struggled even before his indiscretion and was as guilty as anyone for letting Neymar escape without scoring. the first goal of the match. After his yellow a quarter of a match, he seemed unable to extricate himself mentally from the ongoing battle with Paredes, who liked to sting his opponent.
Indeed, maybe Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should explain why he didn’t pull Fred out sooner, after narrowly escaping a second yellow for stomping on Paredes, when he wasn’t performing enough to be worth the risk. . Instead, he found himself chasing a game against a man when Fred finally saw some red, perhaps tough for a firm tackle on Ander Herrera, but no less than his previous fouls had deserved.
Abdou Diallo: The reassigned center-back attacked with impressive pace and a wide goal on the left, staying high when PSG had the ball so Neymar could launch into the field. EVALUATION: sept
Anthony Martial: None of the three chances he rejected were necessarily goalies – their combined expected goal value was 0.52 – but Solskjaer could have expected more than three tame misfires where his striker didn’t even pull it off. his basic technique. EVALUATION: 3
Danilo: Barely the most advertised PSG midfielder, but he did his job skillfully, cutting off attacks and moving up to defense to add ballast against United’s frontline. EVALUATION: sept
A dramatic day in Group H left three teams looking for two places. RB Leipzig won 4-3 dramatically at Istanbul Basaksehir and must beat United to qualify for the last 16. If United get a point, they pass thanks to their one-on-one record. PSG will qualify with a draw.