Melvine Malard scores first ever Man United Champions League goal in PSG draw

Manchester United's Melvine Malard acknowledges fans after the match.
Melvine Malard of Manchester United acknowledges the fans after the Women's Champions League Qualifying Second Round match vs PSG (Photo by Matt McNulty/Getty Images)

Finally getting their Champions League dreams underway, Manchester United welcomed PSG to Leigh Sports Village. The Reds finished second in the Women’s Super League last season, just two points behind serial winners Chelsea, to qualify for European football for the first time.

PSG also took second place in Division 1 Féminine, falling shy of their rivals Lyon who won their second consecutive title. The Paris side reached the quarter-finals of last season’s Champions League, before falling foul to Wolfsburg.

Man United vs PSG — Starting XIs

Manchester United

Earps; Blundell, Le Tissier, Turner, George, Riviere, Naalsund, Zelem, Toone, Galton, García

PSG

Picaud; Le Guilly, Jean-François, de Almeida, Karchaoui, Geyoro, Albert, Groenen, Baltimore, Chawinga, Martens

How it went

Despite naming a squad with plenty of Champions League experience, the hosts struggled to find a foothold throughout the opening half. Man United keeper Mary Earps was forced into several early saves to keep her side in the tie. An early injury to Oriane Jean-François forced Jocelyn Precheur into a substitution just minutes in.

The No.6 received a lengthy spell of treatment on the pitch following a collision on the ball. Australian international Clare Hunt replaced the injured defender.

Despite the break in play, PSG enjoyed a significantly stronger opening 45 minutes. At times, United looked uncertain in their play with the scale of the occasion potentially taking its toll.

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The second half brought a renewed fight from the Reds. A far more organised and focused attack with the half-time inclusion of Geyse brought a real threat to the hosts’ forward line.

Despite Marc Skinner’s side getting off to a better start, it was the visitors who opened the scoring. A moment of defensive frailty saw Tabita Chawinga through on goal. The Malawi international sat Earps down before slotting the ball home in the 53rd minute.

The minutes that followed the goal saw the hosts forced to defend for long periods of time. After successfully weathering the storm, Melvine Malard restored the deadlock for Skinner’s side. The French forward nodded home an expertly placed corner from Katie Zelem. The goal sealed Malard’s name in United’s history books, claiming their maiden Champions League goal.

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The remainder of the tie was largely dominated by the hosts. A re-invigorated United side frequently forced the PSG backline out of shape, exposing space for Geyse and Ella Toone to run into. Despite several good chances for both sides, neither were able to find the decisive winning goal.

The two sides will head into next Wednesday’s return leg with all still to play for. A blockbuster second leg at the Parc De Princes will await United as they look to keep their debut Champions League campaign alive.

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