Manchester United came from behind to draw with Paris St-Germain in their first Women’s Champions League match.
Substitute Melvine Malard, on loan from Lyon, headed in from a corner in the second half to cancel out Tabitha Chawinga’s opener in the second qualifying-round tie.
As in their opening two Women’s Super League games, a United substitute made a scoring impact as Malard’s goal ensured they head to Paris next Wednesday with the tie finely balanced.
PSG had wasted several big chances in the first half, including Sandy Baltimore’s strike which was pushed wide by goalkeeper Mary Earps, before eventually taking the lead with a clever ball over the top.
But United responded and finished strongly in Leigh as Leah Galton and Geyse came close, Millie Turner’s header was saved and Ella Toone struck inches over the bar.
A deflected corner was also cleared off the line by PSG’s Marie-Antoinette Katoto as United showed their pedigree against the French two-time finalists on their debut in the qualifying rounds of the competition.
Man Utd recover from difficult start
It was a worrying start by Manchester United as they struggled to cope with the relentlessness of Paris St-Germain’s wide attackers.
Baltimore’s pace and silky feet caused problems for the defence, while Jayde Riviere and Hannah Blundell were being overrun down United’s right-hand side.
England goalkeeper Earps was kept busy and her save to deny Baltimore kept United in the game, while she continued to gather in crosses and parry away shots from PSG.
An injury to PSG’s Oriane Jean-Francois, who was taken off on a stretcher after appearing to hurt her ankle in a challenge, halted play momentarily and in doing so, helped United regroup.
As the first half wore on, they began to settle and United had a few glimpses of hope when Lucia Garcia and Galton won possession high in the opposition half – though neither could capitalise.
When the whistle went for half-time, United appeared to have come through a period of PSG dominance, and while the visitors rued numerous missed chances, Marc Skinner’s side knew they had quality they could turn to on the bench.
Skinner wasted no time in bringing on summer signing Geyse, who won the Champions League with Barcelona last season, and her impact was instant as she struck over the bar within minutes and continued to create several chances.
Her curling through ball to Galton later in the second half was one of United’s best chances of the match – but Galton fizzed it wide of the post from close range.
PSG struck a blow when they broke the deadlock – Baltimore curling it over the top for Chawinga to coolly flick past the onrushing Earps – but that only seemed to stir a response from United.
From then on, Skinner’s side were relentless in their pursuit of an equaliser and it deservedly arrived after 70 minutes.
At full-time there was a ripple of disappointed reaction in the stands as United knew they had gathered momentum and in the end, had missed an opportunity to pick up a crucial home victory.
However, their second-half display will have given United plenty of confidence for the return leg in Paris – their first performance in Europe had plenty to be excited about, while there were clear teething problems in the first half.
Man Utd Women
- 4Le Tissier
- 14RiviereSubstituted forda Silva Ferreiraat 45′minutes
- 16NaalsundSubstituted forMiyazawaat 66′minutes
- 17GarcíaSubstituted forMalardat 66′minutes
- 23da Silva Ferreira
Paris Saint-Germain Féminines
- 28Le GuillySubstituted forCalligarisat 84′minutes
- 6Jean-FrançoisSubstituted forHuntat 17′minutes
- 5de Almeida
- 22ChawingaSubstituted forBachmannat 84′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 11MartensSubstituted forKatotoat 54′minutes
- 27Angélica Kliemaschewsk de Araújo
- 33Elimbi Gilbert
- Frida Mia Klarlund