Last-gasp Marcus Rashford penalty stuns PSG and sends Manchester United into quarterfinals

Manchester United interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrates after the epic match. (Action Images via Reuters)
Updated 07 March 2019

Last-gasp Marcus Rashford penalty stuns PSG and sends Manchester United into quarterfinals

PARIS: Marcus Rashford scored a stoppage-time penalty awarded after a VAR review to give Manchester United a stunning 3-1 win away to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday as they improbably went through to the Champions League quarter-finals on away goals.
A seriously depleted United looked to have given themselves too much to do after losing 2-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie last month, yet a Romelu Lukaku brace in the first half at the Parc des Princes gave them hope.
Even so, Juan Bernat had netted in between for PSG, and it looked as though they would stumble on until the drama at the death.
Slovenian referee Damir Skomina awarded a spot-kick after reviewing the images when he had been alerted of a possible handball by PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe in the box.
Rashford duly beat Gianluigi Buffon from 12 yards, as United won a European tie after losing the first leg at home for the first time in their history.
Their improbable victory — following Ajax’s similarly stunning turnaround against holders Real Madrid 24 hours earlier — takes them through to the last eight for the first time since 2014.
Their remarkable revival under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continues, with the Norwegian now having overseen nine consecutive away wins, a club record.
While they celebrate, for PSG this defeat will feel like groundhog day.
For the third year running they fail to make the quarter-finals, after their defeat at the hands of Real Madrid a year ago and their humiliating collapse against Barcelona in 2017.
With what came before, this will feel even more painful for them and their Qatari owners.
Electric at Old Trafford in the first leg, Kylian Mbappe was poor here and Neymar was again missing, watching from the stands as he recovers from injury.
United were missing many more players, with Paul Pogba suspended and nine more sidelined due to fitness problems.
Despite that, they pulled off one of their greatest European results, up there with their 3-2 win at Juventus in the 1999 semifinals, which came after they fell two goals behind early on.
Solskjaer was on the bench that night, and the Norwegian watched from the sideline here — curiously looking like a substitute with a bib on over his jacket apparently due to a color clash with PSG’s kit — as his side somehow went in front inside two minutes.
A dreadful back-pass attempt by PSG defender Thilo Kehrer fell into no-man’s land, and Lukaku pounced on the loose ball before rounding Gianluigi Buffon and scoring. Surely PSG were not about to blow it again?
They did pull themselves together to equalize in the 12th minute, with Dani Alves releasing Mbappe in the box. As the away defense slept, Mbappe’s ball across goal was turned in at the far post by Bernat, the defender scoring his third Champions League goal this season.
Now it looked as though their start to the game would prove to be nothing more than a blip.
The depleted visitors, with Eric Bailly at right-back and Fred, Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira all in midfield, were incapable of keeping the ball. However, they were gifted another goal half an hour in.
Not closed down 25 yards out, Rashford tried a shot that was powerful but straight at Buffon.
Yet the veteran Italian, still hoping to win the Champions League for the first time aged 41, spilled the ball, and Lukaku followed in to score. It was a sixth goal in three games for the Belgian.
PSG — so slick in France — were wobbling again at the business end of the Champions League.
Di Maria had a goal ruled out for offside in the 56th minute and Mbappe then managed to fall when clean through late on, with Bernat sending the loose ball against the post.
It still looked as though they would hang on, but then VAR intervened, and Rashford sent United into ecstasy.


Top Saudi duo leads staggering entry for Rally Qassim 2019

Updated 15 October 2019

Top Saudi duo leads staggering entry for Rally Qassim 2019

  • Several drivers are keen to test their skills ahead of Dakar Rally next year

BURAIDAH: A staggering entry of 63 cars, 1 truck, 18 motorcycles and 8 quads will tackle this weekend’s Rally Qassim 2019, the second round of the exciting new Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship.

There is strength in depth throughout the entire car field and the three T1, T2 and T3 categories, with Saudi Arabia’s leading cross-country star Yazeed Al-Rajhi topping the entry after finishing fifth overall at last week’s Rally of Morocco.

Fellow Saudi Yasir Seaidan wheels out his MINI All4 Racing, as the two leading Saudi stars go head-to-head across home terrain. Abu Dhabi Racing’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi is also on hand to challenge for overall honors in a Peugeot 3008 DXR.

There is a strong Saudi influence in the upper reaches of the top 10 with the likes of Essa Al-Dossari, Ahmed Al-Shegawi and Mutair Al-Shammeri, but there is an international flavor to the entry as well, with several drivers keen to test before the Dakar Rally crosses the country for the first time in January 2020.

Czech driver Miroslav Zapletal wheels out his Ford F-150 Evo, Egyptian Yara Shalaby has entered a Nissan and there are entries for Kuwait’s Mohammed Al-Dhafiri and Emirati Abdullah Al-Heraiz.

Saleh Al-Saif tops a strong lineup in the T3 category at the helm of his Can-Am Maverick X3 and faces 12 Saudi rivals – three in Yamahas, one in a Polaris and eight in Can-Ams.

Ibrahim Al-Muhanna won the Hail International Rally back in 2014 with Emirati navigator Ali Hassan Obaid and he drives the sole T4 Mercedes truck, with Osama Al-Sanad and Raed Abo Theeb alongside.

 Using the event as a perfect opportunity to shake down his KTM 450 Rally after the recent Jordan Baja win is the Emirati racer Mohammed Al-Balooshi. 

He leads  an 18-strong motorcycle field that includes other riders from the host country, New Zealand and the UK.

Philip Wilson represents New Zealand, Anthony King is the sole UK entrant, while Emirati Abdullah bin Dakhan rides a Yamaha against a field that includes 14 Saudi riders.

Multiple Hail International Rally winner Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi tops the quad category on his Yamaha. 

The Saudi has won the Kingdom’s premier off-road rally’s quad section for the last six successive seasons — three times on a Kawasaki and three times on a Yamaha - but faces some of his strongest ever competition in Buraidah.

He lines up against the likes of the experienced Sultan Al-Masoud, Abdulsalam Hamam and Yousef Al-Namasi.

The event is  organized by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, under the chairmanship of   Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, and takes place from Thursday  to Saturday.

It is the second of five rounds of the Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship with three further rallies still to run this year on Nov.  4-9, Nov. 27-30 and Dec. 12-14 . 

Action at Rally Qassim 2019 gets underway with a short super special stage of 3.55km from 16:10hrs at Wahtan in Buraidah on Thursday afternoon. There will be 347.80km timed against the clock in a compact route of 548.80km.

The event runs with the support of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, the General Sports Authority, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors (Toyota), the MBC Group and Al-Arabia.