United and PSG slump as Barca, Juve win


LONDON: As two of the wealthiest and proudest clubs in Europe, Manchester United and Paris St Germain expect to be contenders to win the Champions League.

Both lost their games in Group ‘H’ on Wednesday after shambolic moments that left last season’s finalists PSG at risk of failing to advance to the knockout rounds.

United’s 2-1 loss at Istan­bul Basaksehir included a defensive lapse that gifted the Champions League newcomers their first-ever goal in the competition.

“It’s like Under-10s football,” United great Paul Scholes, working for British broadcaster BT Sport, said of leaving 35-year-old forward Demba Ba to run unchallenged from his own half and score when Basaksehir cleared the ball from a corner.

PSG finished their 2-1 loss at RB Leipzig with nine men after Idrissa Gueye and Presnel Kimpembe were sent off in the second half.

PSG had eased past Leipzig in last season’s semi-finals in August, and a repeat looked possible on Wednesday even without injured superstars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

Angel Di Maria had given the French champion a sixth-minute lead but his penalty was saved 10 minutes later.

Leipzig’s win, sealed by Emil Forsberg’s second-half penalty, added to a stunning week for Germany’s four clubs. Bayern Munich and Borussia Moenchengladbach each scored six in away wins on Tuesday.

Dortmund settled for just their three first-half goals — two from Erling Haaland — in a 3-0 win at Club Brugge.

Lionel Messi scored as Barcelona overcame a depleted Dynamo Kiev 2-1 while Cristiano Ronaldo’s first Champions League game this season, after a Covid-19 infection, was an easy win for Juventus at Ferencvaros.

Chelsea proved too strong for Rennes, with Timo Werner twice converting from the penalty spot in a comfortable 3-0.

After opening the Champions League with impressive wins at PSG and a rout of Leipzig at home, United were strongly favoured to follow up at Basaksehir.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described his teams defending for Ba’s goal as “unforgivable”.