PSG's collapse against Manchester United is the club's latest Champions League disappointment
PSG had high hopes coming into this season with Gianluigi Buffon at keeper, but it came up short yet again
For the third year in a row, Paris Saints-Germain has found itself knocked out of Champions League play in the Round of 16. PSG suffered a 3-3 aggregate loss with the tiebreaker coming on away goals to Manchester United after falling 3-1 on Wednesday in France. PSG came into the match up 2-0, but gave Manchester United the win.converted by Marcus Rashford
It's poetic, in a way, that Rashford hit the game-winner. PSG (and soccer in general) fans mercilessly mocked Rashford when Manchester United interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer compared Rashford to Kylian Mbappe. Mbappe would score in the first leg, and the argument was seemingly put to rest.
Wednesday's collapse is the latest one for Paris Saint-Germain. PSG has won Ligue 1 in five of the past six years, but it just can't seem to get over the Champions League hump. After being bounced in the quarterfinals four years in a row from 2012-2016, it seems that PSG can't get out of the Round of 16 anymore -- it's the third year in a row the club has failed to make it out.
Here's a recap of the three latest Champions League exits for Paris Saint-Germain.
2016-17: PSG 5, Barcelona 6
Once the recency of the Manchester United loss wears off, this will probably still be remembered as the most debilitating Champions League loss for Paris Saint-Germain. PSG came into the second leg of its match against Barcelona up 4-0 after a dominant performance at Parc de Princes. Angel Di Maria had a pair of goals while Julian Draxter and Edinson Cavani put up a goal apiece, and it looked to be smooth sailing.
Then, at Camp Nou, things started out much like they did on Wednesday. Luis Suarez scored in the third minute for Barcelona, and then things went quiet until the 40th minute. Layvin Kurzawa had an own goal in the 40th minute, then the floodgates opened up in the second half. Lionel Messi got things started with a goal in the 50th minute on a penalty. Neymar put up a pair of goals of his own in the 88th and 91st minutes, before Sergei Roberto dashed PSG's hopes with a goal in the 95th minute.
Cavani scored in the 62nd minute for PSG, but it ultimately wasn't enough to stave off a 6-1 win from Barcelona that erased a 4-0 lead and ended with an aggregate score of 6-5. In group play, PSG had finished with 12 points, second in Group A to Arsenal's 14.
2017-18: PSG 2, Real Madrid 5
This match may not have had the heartbreaking come-from-behind factor that Barcelona and now Manchester United have had, but the PSG we saw in group play last year was utterly unstoppable. PSG had 15 points after winning five matches and losing one in the group stage. Paris Saint-Germain set a record for goals scored in a group stage with 25, breaking the record set by Borussia Dortmund a year before. On top of that, PSG gave up four goals in all of the group stage, setting themselves apart as arguably the most dominant club in a single group stage in Champions League history.
Then, PSG ran into Real Madrid. Madrid went up 3-1 after a pair of goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and an additional goal from Marcelo Vieira, with Adrien Rabiot notching one for PSG. In the second leg, Ronaldo notched another goal that put Real Madrid up 4-1 before Edinson Cavani drew PSG to within two goals. It would prove to be too little too late, and PSG went home empty-handed after fielding a team that looked completely unstoppable through the first stage of Champions League play.
2018-19: Paris Saint-Germain 3, Manchester United 3; Man. U wins on away goals
While this year's iteration of PSG didn't look as dominant in group play, the addition of Gianluigi Buffon was an exciting prospect. Paris Saint-Germain had a keeper who was hungry for Champions League win, and it showed in Buffon. After the first leg of PSG's match against Manchester United, spirits were high as they headed home with a 2-0 lead and a dominant showing from their stars.
Much like 2017, however, things went sour quickly. Romelo Lukaku scored in just the second minute for Manchester United, drawing the aggregate to 2-1. Paris Saint-Germain apparently settled down, however, with Juan Bernat Velasco scoring what felt like an inevitable goal in the 12th minute. Lukaku would strike again in the 30th minute, however, and it was suddenly 3-2 in favor of PSG with it effectively becoming next goal wins.
After a largely uneventful second half, Marcus Rashford buried a penalty kick in the fourth minute of extra time following a controversial handball call made by VAR. It capped off PSG's third straight heartbreaker in Champions League play.
Despite a completely stacked roster, PSG just can't seem to get over the hump in international play. To make matters worse, it's coming against legacy clubs. Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona are all teams that carry a tremendous amount of weight behind their names. Losing to the three of them in consecutive years may not take away from PSG's run of success since the 2010s began -- but it undoubtedly leaves an empty feeling for the players to continually come up short in Europe's biggest competition.
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