So, where does this register in the list of spectacular European nights for Manchester United? Very high, presumably, judging by the scenes of euphoria after Marcus Rashford’s decisive penalty, deep into stoppage time, and the victory run at the final whistle when every single player, pursued by a small army of backroom staff, was haring towards the away supporters to celebrate.
If Ole Gunnar Solskjær has not already secured himself the job on a full-time basis, surely the announcement must be soon. He had told us there was no such thing, in the world of this extraordinary football club, to believe a two-goal deficit could ever be a lost cause. He had spoken about the importance of scoring first and how, in happier times, United had a remarkable knack for encountering glory with moments of late, nerve-shredding drama. And more fool anyone who did not believe him.
As it turned out, Solskjær’s confidence was not misplaced judging by the story of how his team made it through to the quarter-finals, featuring an almost improbable comeback and a clear statement of intent from this once-mighty club, after everything they have endured since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, that they still want – and deserve – to be taken seriously at elite level.
Ultimately, it is only a small detail that, over the two legs, PSG had looked the more competent side for long spells. No team in the history of the European Cup has gone through after losing 2-0 at home in the first leg and United, lest it be forgotten, managed it after arriving in the French capital without 10 players. Mason Greenwood, making his debut, and Tahith Chong, another academy product, were both on the pitch when Rashford struck the decisive penalty. It was an extraordinary finale and, amid all the jubilation and chaotic celebrations, there was one cry from the away end that rang out loud and clear. “United are back,” it went, over and again.