PARIS (AP) — Marcus Rashford’s injury-time penalty sent Manchester United through to the Champions League quarterfinals on Wednesday, securing a 3-1 win at Paris Saint-Germain to overturn a two-goal deficit from the first leg.
Referee Damir Skomina awarded the penalty after a lengthy video review that showed defender Presnel Kimpembe jumping up to block Diogo Dalot’s shot with his elbow. Rashford kept his nerve, blasting the ball past Gianluigi Buffon to send the United fans to his left into raptures.
“The kid is fearless. He’s got no doubt. Slotted it in. Brilliant,” United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said. “I hope (the penalty) was the right decision.”
United has yet to confirm whether Solskjaer will get the job on a full-time basis, despite completely transforming the side after replacing Jose Mourinho.
“It’s been a fantastic time with the players and the staff I’ve got,” Solskjaer said. “I’m going to enjoy my job as long as I’ve got it. I’m going to smile.”
His players are smiling, too, after this win.
As they sprinted to celebrate with their fans at the final whistle, Kimpembe lay flat on the ground for several moments as a stunned Parc des Princes crowd looked on in disbelief.
VAR played a key part in the night’s other match, too. Alex Telles scored a penalty in extra time to send Porto into the quarterfinals with a 3-1 victory over Roma, overturning a one-goal deficit from the first leg. He converted the spot kick after Alessandro Florenzi had been penalized following a review.
United had only a slim chance after losing 2-0 at home in the first leg of the last-16 match, with Solskjaer’s task made even harder by the fact that 10 of his players were either injured or suspended. That included midfielder Paul Pogba, who was sent off at Old Trafford.
“Everything seemed to be against us, but we’re used to that,” Rashford said. “We showed what we’re about today and got the result we needed.”
But Solskjaer, who scored an injury-time winner when United won the tournament in 1999, oversaw more late drama 20 years later. It was the first time in Champions League history that a team lost the first leg at home by a two-goal margin and still went through.
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“We always believed; that’s the thing. We had a plan,” Solskjaer said. “It wasn’t about having the ball and out-playing them. The plan was to be in the game with 10 minutes to go and we were.”
United was also handed an immediate lifeline when PSG gifted United striker Romelu Lukaku a second-minute opening goal, before equalizing through left back Juan Bernat in the 12th. He turned in a cross at the back post after Kylian Mbappe got behind United’s static defense.
United scored from its first attack when Lukaku intercepted a back pass from Thilo Kehrer, rounded Buffon and slid the ball in from a tight angle.
Then, the hugely experienced Buffon spilled a low shot from Rashford and Lukaku turned in the rebound.
“We agreed that when Marcus steps out on the press that I would follow,” Lukaku said. “I told him every time he shoots I’ll follow the ball, and that’s what happened.”
Sensing Buffon’s uncertainty, Rashford fired another shot just wide as United finished the first half strongly.
PSG’s defense was having another one of its bad nights, a recurring theme during the knockout stages of a competition it has never won. Three years ago, PSG also made history by going out after winning 4-0 at home, then 6-1 away to Barcelona.
PSG played tentatively during the second half, knowing United needed only one goal to qualify on the away goals rule. PSG winger Angel Di Maria scored with a delightful clip over the advancing De Gea after being put though by Mbappe’s clever flick in the 56th. But he was adjudged to have been offside when receiving the ball.
Mbappe remained PSG’s biggest threat, and his pace took him clear through on goal with six minutes left only for the France star to stumble and for Bernat to smack the loose ball against the post.
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