Manchester United’s brief stay in Europe is over after a disappointing second leg defeat to Paris Saint-Germain.
The French side lost the lead at Leigh Sports Village a week ago, and nearly did so again on Wednesday, but two second half goals from swift attacks against the run of play made the difference as they dispatched United and booked their ticket to the UEFA Women’s Champions League group stage.
United lined up in there typical 4-2-3-1 rather than the shuffled look they began the first leg with. Geyse led the line with Leah Galton and Melvine Malard on the wings and Ella Toone ahead of Katie Zelem and Lisa Naalsund in midfield. The match got off to a difficult start for the Reds however, with PSG taking the lead in the 18th minute.
Chawinga, who was so sharp down the left win in the first leg, nearly got her second goal of the tie after another good run down the right. She drew both Rivere and Le Tissier, meaning that when her shot was saved by Earps there was no one in position to collect the rebound. It fell instead to Martens, who smashed it past Earps for 1-0.
United found some chances after that, and really should have equalized before halftime. Ella Toone was set up perfectly by Geyse but dragged the shot well wide. Was clear through but couldn’t hit the target, something that would unfortunately repeat for United on the night.
An equalizer did come just after the restart however. Geyse charged through the defense down the right hand side and put the ball on a plate for Lisa Naalsund, who placed it perfectly first time past Kiedrzynek.
The joy didn’t last long however as a minute later PSG were celebrating again. Chawinga beat Riviere once again down the wing and set up Martens for her second of the night to restore the advantage for the Parisiens from close range. Earps had little chance on that one given how swiftly the attack came, but she did have a good look at the Next chance ten minutes later, and still could do nothing about it.
Baltimore, who had mostly created over the two legs, had a run at Blundell down the right and sent an audacious attempt toward goal. The curling shot had both speed and height, looping over Earps from a ridiculous angle to double the lead for PSG.
United should have gotten one back in the 69th and 71st minute, with Leah Galton beating Kiedrzynek to a cross and heading it home, but a foul inexplicably called by the referee. No foul from the contact, a ridiculous call to prevent a goal for the Reds.
The next was their own fault however, with Geyse set up clear on goal by Lucia Garcia, but failing to shoot by taking three touches and giving the defense time to recover and block the effort.
That was as close as the Reds came, apart from a couple shots in stoppage time when there was little to no time left for an equalizer afterward. It’s an immensely disappointing result after finally breaking into the European qualification spots last season, but the new standard is set with every chance to go and find their way back to this stage next season.