There are already a lot of games going on this evening – and one result in particular stands out. Paris FC are ahead 1-0 in Wolfsburg and lead 4-3 overall. The Ligue 1 club also missed a penalty in the first half. Last year’s finalists need an answer or they will be eliminated before the group stage…
Here’s some excellent pre-match reading as PSG’s new star striker Tabitha Chawingaspeaks to Osasu Obayiuwana for our weekly newsletter, Moving the Goalposts.
Paris Saint Germain (3-5-2): Kiedrzynek; Le Guilly, De Almeida, Hunt; Baltimore, Albert, Groenen, Geyoro (c), Karchaoui; Martens, Chawinga.
Replacements: Picaud, Samoura, Payne, Katoto, Bachmann, Fazer, Calligaris, Vangsgaard, Tounkara, Ana Vitória, Traoré, Elimbi Gilbert.
Manchester United (4-3-3): ears; Riviere, Le Tissier, Turner, Blundell; Naalsund, Zelem (c), Toone; Geyse, Malard, Galton.
Replacements: Middleton-Patel, Tullis-Joyce, Guerrero, Ladd, Evens, L García, Miyazawa, Parris, Williams.
Manchester United are a club with big ambitions in women’s football, but just reaching the group stage of the Champions League this season would be a huge achievement. Along with twice-beaten finalists PSG in a brutally tough play-off, they will be the underdogs in the second leg tonight at the Parc des Princes.
Marc Skinner’s side showed enough fight in the first leg, escaping with a 1-1 draw to show that an upset is certainly possible. “We have to compete and defend as a team,” the United coach said this week. “They’re going to create chances… we have to make the most of our chances.” It’s a formula that worked at home: United earned a draw, although PSG beat them 16-7 and 7-2 in shots on goal.
This competition will certainly expand in the future and the teams that finish second in the WSL and Ligue 1 Féminine will not meet often before the group stage. All the more reason to enjoy a game that feels like a European second leg with a sense of real danger. Just ask Arsenal, beaten by PSG’s neighbors Paris FC in the preliminary round, about the dangers of these play-offs.
The top-class hosts expect to progress this evening, but will face ambitious opponents who cannot be written off. And what better way to make your mark on the European stage than by taking out one of its biggest names? Kick-off is at 8pm in Paris, 7pm BST.