It was almost impossible, so they did it. The statistics said that after their 2-0 win in the first leg of the Champions League on Manchester United, Paris footballers had a 97% chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals. They managed the feat of being eliminated by falling 3-1 on their lawn. Now we will debate whether, on the scale of humiliation, this elimination is more painful than the remontada of Barcelona, two years ago, when the Parisians, at the same stage of the competition, had lost 6-1 in Barcelona after winning 4-0 at home in the first leg. Given the comparison of the two teams – the MU of this year, which is deprived on Wednesday of part of its executives, including Paul Pogba, failing to protect the shins of Barça two years ago -, this elimination will remain perhaps more painful. And the absences of Cavani or Neymar will not excuse anything. They were not there either. This Wednesday, despite the tactical science of Thomas Tuchel, despite the talent of Kylian Mbappé (who has nearly missed everything he tried), the PSG has sunk on all fronts. A new industrial accident for the Paris club. Tens of millions of euros sucked into the tiny hole of the 3% that the statistics offered to Manchester United to qualify.
The match: an air of déjà-vu and a shocking denouement. Instead of the expected health walk, the Parc des Princes has been transformed for PSG into a roller coaster. The two surprising goals of Romelu Lukaku, registered from the outset (2e, 30e), have long plunged Paris into the anguish of a new "remontada" despite the goal of Juan Bernat (12e) … But there was total sneer when the referee called on the video assist to give a penalty in the last moments (90 minutes).e). Marcus Rashford, too happy to see the hand of Presnel Kimpembe in his box, did not miss to become the new Sergi Roberto, the author of the famous goal of FC Barcelona at the time of the accursed 8e return in 2017 (qualifying Barça 6-1 after being beaten 4-0 in the first leg)!
Despite the brilliant victory of the first leg (2-0), Paris did not listen to Kylian Mbappé's calls. The "fear" of a new "remontada", as well as the curse of the 8es final, a real glass ceiling for three seasons, has overcome the enthusiasm of coach Thomas Tuchel. No, Paris does not find the Top 8 continental, and the thrill of European springs. But the anxiety of an end of season without big major stakes, except the defense of the Coupe de France, so much it dominates the championship of France.
Lukaku in mission impossible mode
Under the eyes of the Emir of Qatar, owner of the club, and the star Neymar, back from his convalescence in Brazil, Paris has not been up to the praise since the feat of Old Trafford. Worse, he allowed his distinguished guests to witness the success of the "impossible mission" imagined by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer!
From the 2e minute, Romelu Lukaku took advantage of a huge mistake Thilo Kehrer, author of an unlikely surrender in the direction of his goalkeeper, to intercept the ball, hook Buffon, and open the scoring. Nightmarish start … But as promised by Dani Alves, the "fear" of a resounding failure did not invade Paris. Five minutes later, Mbappé was even a hair's breadth away from center-back Bernat, before his shot was blocked a few meters from goal.
Failing to score, the French world champion, the man in the form of PSG in the absence of "Ney" and Edinson Cavani, has shown that he also knew to turn into decisive passer. On his impeccable center shaven, it is the inevitable Juan Bernat, already author of two important goals in the Champions League, who took the leather at the back post to equalize (1-1, 12th). And on a magnificent move initiated by Alves in the wake, the left side has nearly doubled the set in stride! Well served by Di Maria, Bernat this time stumbled on a vigilant De Gea (14th). One of the turning points of the game.
Hand, VAR and fatal penalty
The team of Thomas Tuchel, by completely confiscating the ball – 87% of possession during the first half-hour! – without being able to accelerate the game, was let fall by the solid block Mancunian, who had bet on a tactic diametrically opposed to that of Ajax Amsterdam against Real Madrid (4-1) Tuesday: bet on the mistakes of his opponent. While there was no danger, the PSG managed to put back in the saddle ManU in a totally incredible way on a new dumpling, signed Gianluigi Buffon! On a harmless shot by Rashford, until then very rough, the legendary Italian doorman failed to capture the ball for the great pleasure of Lukaku (1-2, 30th). More than a goal and Manchester United was virtually qualified …
Groggy, Paris has tried to keep calm, like Thiago Silva who has continued to show signs of appeasement of the hand. With the support of the Park, he also sounded a few minutes before giving voice, the teammates of Marquinhos have tried to regain control of events. But it is Manchester, like the incoming Dalot, who almost made a Dusan Tadic (hero of Ajax against Real), erasing Bernat a sublime technical gesture, before seeing his center being two fingers to turn into a goal against his side (43).
At half-time, "Tuchel, Tuchel" came from the kop, as if to ask the master tactician to correct the shot, while Cavani tried to galvanize his partners at the exit of the tunnel just before the return of the locker room. Despite a second period as sterile as tense, Paris was close to taking shelter. Instead, Mbappé's failed duel and Bernat's post (83 ') served as a bad omen. Because Kimpembe, scorer in the first leg, turned into an unfortunate hero on the return, beating his elbow at the edge of the penalty area, Rashford's shot. And the VAR, which had missed so much in Barcelona, finally played him a bad trick …