Manchester United's Marcus Rashford leaps over a challenge by PSG's Presnel Kimpembe during the Champions League group H soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United at the Parc des Princes in Paris, France, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Man United wins again at PSG; Messi scores in Barca rout

Man United wins again at PSG; Messi scores in Barca rout

Marcus Rashford sprinted toward the corner flag inside an empty Parc des Princes and slid on his knees in celebration, just like two seasons ago.

Another trip to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. Another late winner for the Manchester United striker.

In a heavyweight contest on the opening night of the group stage, United reproduced its stunning exploits from the 2018-19 competition by beating PSG away thanks to Rashford’s 87th-minute strike in a 2-1 win on Tuesday.

It was an eerily similar scenario to 18 months ago, when United arrived in the French capital heavily depleted and 2-0 down from the first leg of the teams’ last-16 match. It was Rashford who clinched an unlikely 3-1 win — and progress to the quarterfinals — with a stoppage-time penalty.

PSG, last season’s beaten finalist, already has work to do if the Qatar-owned team is to realize its long-held ambition of being European champion for the first time.

Lionel Messi’s Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus are up and running already, though.

Messi scored a penalty to set Barca on its way to a 5-1 win over Hungarian outsider Ferencváros as the Spanish team began the rebuild of its reputation in Europe’s elite competition, two months after an embarrassing 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals last season.

Ronaldo was missing for Juventus after testing positive for the coronavirus last week, but the Italian champion had a worthy replacement in Alvaro Morata as the striker scored twice in a 2-0 win at Dynamo Kyiv.

There were wins for Lazio, Leipzig and Club Brugge, while Chelsea and Sevilla drew 0-0 and two group-stage newcomers — Rennes and Krasnodar — drew 1-1.

SHORTAGE OF FANS

There were no fans at the Parc des Princes, one of three stadiums — along with Barcelona’s Camp Nou and Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge — to be without spectators for the return of the Champions League because of the coronavirus.

Other games were sparsely attended, with nearly 16,700 spectators watching Zenit St. Petersburg lose 2-1 to Brugge, 14,850 seeing Juventus win in Kyiv, and 5,000 attending the Rennes-Krasnodar game.

A sluggish PSG certainly could have done with some backing from its supporters, with United proving more than a match for the home team despite having a makeshift centre-back pairing of Axel Tuanzebe and Victor Lindelof while Paul Pogba started on the bench.

United went ahead through midfielder Bruno Fernandes’ twice-taken penalty midway through the first half but conceded when Anthony Martial rose to clear Neymar’s corner from the left, only to glance a header past his own goalkeeper, David de Gea, in the 55th.

Rashford had already been denied by PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas when he collected a pass from Pogba and smashed a low, angled shot inside the far post from the edge of the penalty area.

In the other game in Group H, Leipzig — a surprise semifinalist last season — beat Istanbul Basaksehir 2-0 in front of just under 1,000 fans thanks to two first-half goals by Spanish defender Angeliño.

YOUNGSTERS SHINE

Messi now has 116 goals in the Champions League, and extended his run of scoring at least one goal in the competition in 16 consecutive seasons.

It was also a special night for two players nearly half his age, with 17-year-olds Ansu Fati and Pedri also scoring for Barcelona against Ferencváros — a club making its first appearance in the group stage in 25 years.

Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembélé were the other scorers for Barcelona, which lost defender Gerard Piqué to a straight red card with about 20 minutes left. Ihor Kharatin scored Ferencváros’ lone goal from the resulting penalty.

Messi and Ronaldo — two players who have been at the top of the world game for more than a decade — are in the same Champions League group for the first time and are set to meet next week when Juventus hosts Barca.

Juventus coped well without Ronaldo in Kyiv, with Morata — a recent arrival from Atlético Madrid on loan — scoring twice in the second half.

AMERICAN PRESENCE

U.S. national team goalkeeper Ethan Horvath is one of a record 10 Americans eligible for the group stage with various clubs. He didn’t get off to the best of starts.

Horvath, who plays for Brugge, was credited with an own-goal against Zenit after a shot by Dejan Lovren hit the post and bounced in off the back of the diving goalkeeper.

Brugge grabbed a stoppage-time winner from Charles De Ketelaere, though, and joins Lazio on three points in Group F.

The Italian team, which is playing in the Champions League group stage for the first time in 13 years, beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 through goals by Ciro Immobile and Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro as well as an own-goal by Dortmund goalkeeper Marwin Hitz.

Erling Haaland scored for Dortmund.

In Group E, all four teams are on one point. Chelsea finally got its six major summer signings on the field together but couldn’t find a way past stubborn Sevilla.

Rennes took the lead against Krasnodar through striker Serhou Guirassy’s penalty in the 56th, but conceded three minutes later when left back Cristian Ramirez’s long-distance strike beat goalkeeper Alfred Gomis at the near post.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

___

Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80

Steve Douglas, The Associated Press

soccer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lieutenant Commander Nicole Robichaud welcomes members of the Liberian Coast Guard aboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Moncton for training with Royal Canadian Navy off the coast of Monrovia, Liberia, Africa on Neptune Trident on March 25, 2017. (Contributed photo by Corp. Ryan Moulton).
Red Deer-raised woman finds her sea legs as commander in the Royal Canadian Navy

Cdr. Nicole Robichaud started out as a local sea cadet

Rode
Feddema adds size and grit to RDC basketball Queens

Iris Feddema has known for several years what she wanted her future… Continue reading

A local photographer captured the contrails of two planes that crossed in the sky over north Red Deer on Wednesday. (Photo contributed by Eric Fischer)
Photo: Planes criss-cross over Red Deer

A local photographer captured the contrails of two planes that crossed in… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

A man injects hydromorphone at the Providence Health Care Crosstown Clinic in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday April 6, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
NDP lawmaker tables bill to decriminalize drug use as overdose deaths soar

NDP lawmaker tables bill to decriminalize drug use as overdose deaths soar

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Low-carbon bucks: Conservatives pitch consumer carbon pricing through savings account

Low-carbon bucks: Conservatives pitch consumer carbon pricing through savings account

Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Howard Njoo responds to a question about vaccines during a weekly news conference, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021 in Ottawa. Njoo says a faster vaccine ramp-up alone would likely not have thwarted the third wave of COVID-19 in many parts of the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Ottawa’s COVID-19 vaccine point man aims to ensure more predictability for shipments

Ottawa’s COVID-19 vaccine point man aims to ensure more predictability for shipments

Evan Siddall is pictured in Ottawa on September 21, 2017. Former head of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. Evan Siddall has been named as the next chief executive for Alberta Investment Management Corp. He will succeed Kevin Uebelein. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AIMCo names former CMHC head Evan Siddall as next chief executive

AIMCo names former CMHC head Evan Siddall as next chief executive

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canadian home sales up 76% year-over-year, set new March record: CREA

Canadian home sales up 76% year-over-year, set new March record: CREA

WestJet president and CEO Ed Sims addresses the airline's annual meeting in Calgary, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
WestJet CEO Ed Sims finds Air Canada aid package ‘bittersweet’ as talks drag on

WestJet CEO Ed Sims finds Air Canada aid package ‘bittersweet’ as talks drag on

The TMX broadcast centre is shown in Toronto on May 9, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
S&P/TSX composite, Dow Jones and S&P 500 set record highs as mood rises on economy

S&P/TSX composite, Dow Jones and S&P 500 set record highs as mood rises on economy

A man wearing a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 checks his phone as the sun sets in English Bay in Vancouver on April 5, 2021. Canada's existing mobile phone services and consumer groups will get a landmark ruling from the CRTC this afternoon. The regulatory ruling could shift some of the market power held by Rogers, Bell and Telus, which collectively have more than 90 per cent of the country's subscribers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
CRTC to allow smaller wireless players better access to national networks

CRTC to allow smaller wireless players better access to national networks

Most Read