CHICAGO (AP) Paris Saint-Germain claimed the International Champions Cup with a 2-0 victory over Manchester United on Wednesday night at Soldier Field.
Off the field, PSG might be on the verge of scoring another victory over the Red Devils. Following the game, PSG manager Laurent Blanc said his squad is close to finishing a deal with Manchester United for talented midfielder Angel di Maria, who didn’t make the trip to the U.S. for the four-match series.
”As Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain are very big clubs, negotiations can be difficult,” Blanc said through a translator. ”But I feel negotiations are close to the end.”
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The transfer fee could be as high as $71.7 million for di Maria, who spent last season with Manchester United after the Red Devils picked him up from Real Madrid for an even larger fee.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal wouldn’t confirm that a deal is imminent.
”I don’t answer that question,” van Gaal said. ”I don’t know. We’ll announce something when it’s done. It is not done. It’s a process. I want to interfere with nothing.”
Without di Maria, Manchester United’s attack sometimes sputtered, while Paris Saint-Germain was able to hold on after goals from midfielder Blaise Matuidi and forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the first 34 minutes.
The victory, before 61,351 spectators, brought PSG the trophy for the series of summer exhibitions. They tied the New York Red Bulls with 10 points on 3-0-1 records, but took the tiebreaker on goal differential.
”There’s a huge quality to this tournament, but we can’t forget there’s an official match (against Olympique Lyonnais in the French League) to win in a few days in Montreal.”
That match is Saturday.
Matuidi opened the scoring in the 25th minute. Matuidi ran into the penalty area, fended off defender Phil Jones and sent a slow roller past charging goalkeeper David De Gea.
Van Gaal found fault with De Gea on that play.
”They created chances only on personal errors,” Van Gaal said. ”They can score out of these kind of errors, and they can finish the game.”
Ibrahimovic and Maxwell, the Brazilian defender, played a brilliant give-and-go for PSG’s second goal in the 34th minute. Ibrahimovic came down the center, fed Maxwell on the left 25 yards out and took a return feed on the 6-yard line for an easy score.
PSG goalkeeper Kevin Trapp was forced to make only three saves, the best of which came from midfielder Andreas Periera in the 76th minute.
Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata had a goal wiped out by an offside call and misfired on another sure change. His 17-yard shot in the 22nd minute was negated after he was ruled offside. In the 55th minute, Mata failed to connect on a shot from the right doorstep that would have cut the Red Devils’ deficit in half.
In the 35th minute, Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney sent a rebound wide after Memphis Depay was saved from 10 yards out.
Periera’s chance in the 76th minute came as Manchester United was pressing the attack. His point-blank one-hop header was stopped by Trapp on the left side of the goal box.
Manchester United beat Club America 1-0 in its opener, then rolled to 3-1 victories over San Jose and FC Barcelona. PSG beat SL Benfica and Fiorentina before losing to Chelsea on penalties.
De Gea was replaced by Sam Johnstone in the Manchester United goal for the second half.