Brilliant Marco Verratti powerless to stop another PSG meltdown in Europe

Aditya Devavrat 08:43 07/03/2019
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Marco Verratti reigned supreme even as his team slumped.

Paris Saint-Germain‘s Champions League-itis resurfaced on Wednesday as even a home game with a 2-0 first leg lead proved not enough.

Instead, Manchester United came to Paris and walked away 3-1 winners to knock the Parisians out in shocking, though increasingly familiar fashion, despite the best efforts of one man in particular.

Marco Verratti was at his supreme best in the second leg, dominating the game in a way that made it seem impossible for PSG to lose, though they did.

Here’s a closer look at his performance.

KEY STATS

Goals – 0

Shots – 0

Tackles – 2

Passing accuracy – 89%

Touches – 108

Dribbles – 1

30-SECOND REPORT

Verratti bossed this game. Only Thiago Silva and Dani Alves had more touches of the ball than his 108, and some of the things he pulled off on the ball were incredible, as he kept possession in the face of United pressure and sprayed the ball around like Andrea Pirlo in his pomp.

He, more than anyone else, will be wondering how he’s ended up on the losing side on Wednesday. Verratti did everything he could to control this game, only for it to be snatched out of his grasp.

GOT RIGHT

Control in midfield

The strangest thing about this game is that despite the final scoreline, PSG were in control throughout thanks to the efforts of their star midfielder. His calm distribution and movement meant United couldn’t get the ball off him.

Tackling

Pascal Kimpembe was the only PSG player to make more tackles than Verratti’s two, as the Italian’s defensive work ensured United rarely ever settled into a rhythm. He seemed to have an instinct for where the ball was going when it wasn’t at his feet.

GOT WRONG

Didn’t score a goal? Didn’t tackle more? Didn’t stop his team-mates from losing their heads? Verratti was the best player on the pitch, from either side, even if United’s much less heralded midfield will earn the plaudits. The Italian did everything he was supposed to do. It’s a shame the rest of the PSG team let him down.

VERDICT

Verratti was better in Paris than he was in the first leg, popping up everywhere, finding the right movement or pass to keep PSG going. There would seldom have been a better performance in a losing display. And Verratti didn’t deserve to be on the losing side.

RATING – 9/10

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