Sports

PSG 3-1 Man Utd (agg. 4-2): Player ratings as Red Devils knocked out of Women’s Champions League

Manchester United have failed to qualify for the Champions League group stage after losing to Paris Saint-Germain. This would have been United’s inaugural appearance in the competition proper after last season’s WSL finish earned them a place in the second qualifying round.

The tie was locked level at 1-1 on aggregate from the first leg after Melvine Malard cancelled out Tabitha Chawinga’s opening strike. This time around, an early strike from Lieke Martens was levelled by Lisa Naaslund in the opening minutes of the first half. But within ten minutes, United had dropped to 3-1 when Martens and then Sandy Baltimore scored and were unable to claw their way back.

PSG booked their place in the group stage alongside Chelsea, who are now the only English representative in the competition following United’s loss and Arsenal’s defeat to Paris FC last month.

How the game unfolded

Early signs of nerves nearly cost United dearly. A long ball from the back found the run of Chawinga who had a clear shot on goal. Hesitating, Mary Earps’ was caught far off her line, but Maya Le Tissier came to the rescue to deny the forward an opener on the night.

However, 17 minutes in and the deadlock was broken. Chawinga tore down the flank and forced a bit save from Earps. Whilst it was a good stop, failing to clear the ball past the 18-yard box allowed Martens to smash the rebound past the England goalkeeper to take the lead.

Chawinga was winning the contest on the right against a struggling Jayde Riviere. United had lost their first choice left-back Gabby George through an ACL injury over the weekend in a 1-1 draw with Leicester, prompting a slight reshuffle in France.

Ella Toone had a fabulous chance to level the score before half-time after Geyse tore through the middle and drew the defenders away from her teammate. But the Lioness was unable to make her shot count, weakly sending the ball wide of the far post.

Similarly to the first leg, United started the second half far more intense, leading to the quick equaliser. Geyse crossed the ball from the near post and found Lisa Naalsund unmarked who slotted home. This was the Norweigan’s first goal for the side after signing in January.

But 19 seconds after play restarted, PSG stole the lead back. Chawinga once again exploited the flank, passed back to find Martens who netted her second from close range.

PSG were back on the front foot and took less than 10 minutes to further their lead. Baltimore’s narrow-angle strike spun in air, floating past a statuesque Earps. The goalkeeper, making her 101st appearance, was unable to even attempt a save and United had quickly lost a grip of the game.

Whilst Geyse was instrumental in travelling the ball forward and creating chances, the end product was ultimatley just lacking from United.

Leah Galton had the ball in the back of the net as they looked for a way back but controversially, the goal was ruled out for an apparent foul on PSG defender Clare Hunt seconds before.

Geyse had another opportune moment, pouncing on PSG giving the ball away. But in taking one too many touches, the Brazilian forward was unable to breakdown three Parisian defenders who formed a wall to deny the striker.

A last ditch stoppage time effort from Toone rattled off the post, while Katie Zelem had earlier gone very close from a free-kick, summing up the evening for United as they settled for defeat.

Ella TooneElla Toone

Ella Toone struggled to take her chances / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

GK: Mary Earps – 4/10 – Really should have done better to prevent the second and third goals.

RB: Jayde Riviere – 4/10 – Continuously beaten by Chawinga. Most of PSG’s threat came from the dominance they had over the Canadian full-back on the right.

CB: Millie Turner- 6/10- Looked confident at the back and provided some important stops to deny PSG further goals.

CB: Maya Le Tissier – 7/10 – Made several excellent clearances and was instrumental in preventing the scoreline from slipping further away.

LB: Hannah Blundell – 6/10 – The full-back did better than her previous few games but often lacking pace tracking back, leaving United worryingly vulnerable.

CM: Lisa Naalsund – 6/10 – Despite scoring United’s only goal, the Norwegian was dispossessed far too easily and was overzealous in her distribution, leading to Geyse having to work harder to make up for the skewd passes.

CM: Katie Zelem (c) – 6/10 – Once again, set pieces were on point from the captain and she managed to calm the team down when things began to go awry.

CM: Ella Toone – 5/10 – The England international did well to move the ball forward and had a great chance on goal in the first half but failed to make it count. Later hit the post.

RW: Melvine Malard – 6/10 – The loanee was good at applying pressure but struggled against Sakina Karchaoui, who was dominant on the flank to keep the first leg goalscorer at bay.

ST: Geyse- 7/10 – Positive and full of energy but her accuracy was missing. She struggled to be clinical in front of goal but was also let down by her teammates failing to capitalise on chances she single-handedly created for them.

LW: Leah Galton – 7/10 – Direct and threatening. Galton managed to look menacing and her goal really should have been allowed to stand.

Substitutes

SUB: Hinata Miyazawa (64′ for Naalsund) – 6/10 – Had a big impact to help United’s play flow better. Her passing was far more accurate meaning the team looked more connected after her introduction.

Lucia Garcia (64′ for Malard) – 6/10 – Known for stepping up in big moments, the Spaniard was unable to make a difference yet had some good moments to trouble the PSG backline.

Rachel Williams (82′ for Riviere)- N/A

Subs not used: Tullis-Joyce (GK), Middleton-Patel (GK), Evans, Guerrero, Ladd, Parris

Manager

Marc Skinner – 6/10 – Competing for the first time in the Champions League, Skinner did well to manage his side and give PSG a run for their money. Dampened by the loss of George, his defensive setup was lacking but the attack was direct and formulated well. At least showed positive signs that United can compete on the European stage in the future.

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