Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford leaps over Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe during the Champions League group H soccer match Tuesday in Paris, France. Michel Euler/Associated Press

 

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 progression 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.


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