Kylian Mbappe and Paris Saint-Germain handed Manchester United a reality check under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, winning 2-0 in the Champions League last-16 Tuesday to inflict the interim manager’s first loss.
Angel Di Maria was the architect of both goals in the first leg on his return to Old Trafford as PSG more than coped without injured forwards Neymar and Edinson Cavani.
The winger’s corner was volleyed in by Presnel Kimpembe for his first PSG goal in the 53rd minute. After having a bottle thrown at him by United fans and taking a sip, Di Maria helped to complete a counterattack by crossing for the advancing Mbappe to score.
United will be without Paul Pogba in the second leg in Paris on March 6 after he received a second yellow card in the 89th minute for a lunge on Dani Alves.
Not only was it a first loss for Solskjaer in his 12th match since replacing Jose Mourinho, but the heaviest-ever home defeat for United in Europe, having previously been beaten only by one-goal margins.
“It was one of those experiences that can go either way,” Solskjaer said. “It’s not going to be a season-defining one for us. It has to be one that we are going to learn from.”
Photo: Franck Fife / AFP / Getty Images
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In the night’s other last-16 game, teenager Nicolo Zaniolo scored twice to lead Roma to a 2-1 victory.
‘Banksie’ dies: Gordon Banks, the goalkeeper on England’s only World Cup champion in 1966 and who in the 1970 Cup made what is considered one of the greatest saves in history on Pele, died at age 81.
“Banksie,” as he was known, already had cemented his status as one of English soccer’s most revered players four years earlier in 1966, conceding only one goal in five games, on a penalty kick by Portugal’s Eusebio, before England’s 4-2 win over West Germany in the final at Wembley Stadium.
Then in the searing heat of Guadalajara, Mexico, four years later, Brazil’s Pele aimed a header to bounce off the hard field, and certain the ball would creep inside the right post, he threw his arms into the air and screamed, “Goal!”
Banks, though, already had scurried across his line as the cross was coming into the penalty area, dived and with his outstretched right hand batted the ball over the crossbar.
The supreme feat of athleticism and agility on soccer’s biggest stage became widely acclaimed as the save of the century. “They won’t remember me for winning the World Cup,” Banks said. “It will be for that save.”
Pele himself once compared it to a “salmon leaping up a waterfall,” and says the save remains among the best he has ever seen.
Brazil won that 1970 group game 1-0 and then won its third World Cup title. But it forged a special bond between one of the greatest strikers and goalkeepers. When a statue of Banks was unveiled outside Stoke City’s stadium in 2008, Pele attended the ceremony.
“I am glad he saved my header because that act was the start of a friendship between us that I will always treasure,” Pele said. “Whenever we met, it was always like we had never been apart.”
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Champions-League-PSG-inflicts-Solskjaer-s-1st-13611907.php.