After a season away from European football’s top table, the Red Devils returned to action at the Parc des Princes, where just 19 months ago they secured one of their greatest ever comebacks in this competition.
Rashford fired home the late winner that night and again sealed a last-gasp United triumph in the French capital, with last season’s Champions League finalists PSG deservedly overcome 2-1 in Tuesday’s Group H opener.
Many predicted a home win given the side’s contrasting fortunes of late, with David De Gea making two important early stops before Anthony Martial was brought down in the box by Abdou Diallo midway through the first half.
Stand-in skipper Bruno Fernandes saw his penalty saved for the second successive match, but held his nerve to find the net after the Video Assistant Referee ordered a retake for Keylor Navas straying off his line.
United looked convincing in a 3-5-2 formation and could have gone further ahead, only for Martial to glance a Neymar corner into his own net and spark a helter-skelter conclusion.
Both sides had chances to win but United looked more impressive and, just as Solskjaer’s side looked set for a morale-boosting draw, Rashford lashed a superb late winner to stun PSG once more.
Thomas Tuchel’s men had started on the front foot as they attempted to capitalise on the unfamiliarity of the visitors’ backline.
De Gea stopped former United team-mate Angel Di Maria from bending home an early opener, before preventing Layvin Kurzawa from turning home a whipped Kylian Mbappe cross from one of the corners that followed.
It was an important close-range stop that allowed Solskjaer’s side to ask questions of their own.
Diallo had clumsily cut out an early Fernandes cross with Rashford lurking at the start of the match and was not so lucky midway through the first half when taking down Martial on the turn.
Fernandes stepped up for the spot-kick but, for the second straight match, saw his attempt saved as Navas got down low to his left to thwart the United captain.
But PSG’s celebrations were short lived as the VAR ruled the goalkeeper had strayed off his line, giving Fernandes a second chance. Using the same technique and again aiming for the bottom left-hand corner, this time he found the back of the net.
United were emboldened by that goal and continued to shackle PSG’s star-studded backline, with a frustrated Neymar booked after Axel Tuanzebe – making his first appearance of 2020 – impressively dealt with Mbappe’s threat in the box.
Scott McTominay joined him in the book and soon saw a header from debutant Alex Telles’ corner deflected just wide by Diallo – a set piece that came from Navas tipping a Fernandes snapshot wide.
United were unable to add another before the break but should have doubled their advantage within two minutes of the restart, with Fernandes putting Rashford in on goal only for the forward to misplace a cross into Martial.
PSG would have punished that sloppiness moments later were it not for De Gea, with Mbappe’s mesmeric footwork and shot bound for the net until his intervention.
Former United favourite Ander Herrera struck wide and Kurzawa saw a cross clip the bar, before the Parisians fortuitously drew level as Martial somehow headed a Neymar corner into his own net in the 55th minute.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Tuanzebe were producing some great defending to halt PSG attacks as play swung from end-to-end, with Martial heading just over and Rashford flashing off target for the visitors.
Navas did well to tip a fizzing Rashford strike wide and an unmarked Moise Kean headed off target as that theme continued, although the hosts looked more vulnerable.
Fernandes struck wide, Rashford was denied and, after De Gea dealt with a Neymar effort at the other end, PSG were again undone by Rashford.
Substitute Paul Pogba passed to the 22-year-old, who turned, drove into space and sent a thumping right-footed strike past Navas from the edge of the box in the 87th minute.