Neymar’s double leads PSG to 3-1 win at Manchester United in UEFA Champions League

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December 03, 2020 1:33 PM

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was left to rue not bringing off Fred after he escaped with only a booking for a first-half head butt.

Paris St Germain's Neymar celebrates scoring their third goal against Manchester United. (Reuters image)

Neymar scored twice to lead Paris Saint-Germain to a 3-1 victory at 10-man Manchester United in the Champions League, leaving both teams’ hopes of reaching the knockout stage uncertain heading into their final group games.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was left to rue not bringing off Fred after he escaped with only a booking for a first-half head butt.

The midfielder was sent off in the 70th minute for a second yellow card after his challenge on former United midfielder Ander Herrera just after United had gone 2-1 down when Marquinhos scored.

“Fred played really disciplined in the second half,” Solskjaer said.

“He was lucky to stay on in the first half.” Marcus Rashford had equalized in the 32nd minute after Neymar had taken only six minutes to put last season’s beaten finalists in front. The Brazilian struck again in stoppage time at an empty Old Trafford.

“This is good for our confidence,” Marquinhos said.

“We’re still in the competition and very happy.”

While United remains top of Group H, PSG and Leipzig are only behind on goal difference. United only needs a point in Leipzig on Tuesday when PSG hosts Istanbul Basaksehir, which is six points behind the top three.

Losing to United in the Group H opener in Paris had put the heat on Thomas Tuchel, who has picked up two points from the last two French league games.

“We earned our luck today by hard work, by good mentality,” Tuchel said.

“It’s not the most easy time for us. We don’t play at the highest level.” The visitors did at the start in Manchester when Kylian Mbappe’s deflected shot bounced into the path of Neymar to score from the near post.

It took David de Gea’s save, palming away Alessandro Florenzi’s shot, to prevent the deficit from growing bigger for United.

Good fortune came in the form of Fred not being sent off for pushing his head toward Leandro Paredes, despite a VAR review.

“To give a yellow card I was very surprised,” Tuchel said.

“It says he touched him but not hard enough for a red card?”

After the reprieve, United drew level when Anthony Martial’s shot was parried by Kaylor Navas and Rashford’s strike deflected off Danilo past the goalkeeper for his sixth goal in five European games.

Fortunately again for United, Paredes was booked rather than Fred, who stepped on the PSG midfielder’s foot.
That still didn’t prompt Solskjaer to substitute Fred at the break.

United had chances to go in front after the break when Martial lifted a shot over and Edinson Cavani tried to chip Navas.
“It could perhaps have been completely different if they had scored,” Herrera said. “But we have players who can kill a match.” PSG was back in front in the 69th.

De Gea pushed Mitchel Bakker’s low shot wide but from the resulting corner Herrera passed to Abdou Diallo, who squared across the six-yard box for Marquinhos to knock the ball under the goalkeeper.

It was then a less contentious challenge on Herrera from Fred that earned the second yellow card. This time there was no VAR review, even as Fred lingered.

The game was getting away from United and it was killed off when Neymar began a move around the halfway line that led to the third goal.

The Brazilian sent a long-range pass to Mbappe and Rafinha then teed up Neymar to sidefoot into an open net.

“Their goals were scrappy goals, a ricochet and pinball around the box,” United captain Harry Maguire said.

“I feel we deserved something.”

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