Melvine Malard came off the bench to head home an equaliser as Manchester United drew 1-1 with Paris St Germain in the first leg of their Champions League qualifying tie on a historic night at Leigh Sports Village.

On-loan Lyon forward Malard – who had also scored after coming on in last Friday’s 2-2 Women’s Super League draw with Arsenal at the same venue – netted in the 70th minute to cancel out Tabitha Chawinga’s 54th-minute opener.

Two-time Champions League finalists PSG had taken the lead after dominating for much of the first half of what was United’s European debut, following their second-placed finish in the WSL last season.

Marc Skinner’s side then responded impressively having gone behind, with substitutes Geyse and Malard helping them look far more threatening in attack.

Tabitha Chawinga scores

The second leg takes place in Paris next Wednesday as the sides battle for a place in the Champions League group stage, for which WSL champions Chelsea have automatically qualified.

United – watched from the stands by former men’s team goalkeeper David de Gea, as well as England boss Sarina Wiegman – found themselves under pressure in the opening few seconds as Millie Turner cleared a Chawinga shot off the line.

And moments later another PSG burst forward saw Sandy Baltimore bring a good save out of Mary Earps.

As the visitors continued on the front foot, Lieke Martens headed over and Earps blocked an 11th-minute Baltimore shot with her legs, before a break in play brought about by an injury to PSG defender Oriane Jean-Francois, who was carried off on a stretcher, gave United some respite.

After Earps was subsequently called into action to deny Baltimore once more, United then had their first real opportunity in the 24th minute as Lucia Garcia looked to pounce on a misjudged backpass, only to be thwarted by goalkeeper Constance Picaud.

Mary Earps

Skinner’s team looked more settled thereafter but were unable to build much in the way of attacking momentum, while further efforts from PSG saw Korbin Albert firing over and Chawinga’s strike being gathered by Earps.

Skinner brought on Geyse for Jayde Riviere at the interval and two minutes into the second half the Brazil forward went on an eye-catching run and fired off-target.

But soon after the hosts were behind as Chawinga latched on to Baltimore’s lofted pass and side-footed past Earps into the corner of the net.

Albert fired over seven minutes later before United went close as a corner was diverted goalwards and PSG substitute Marie-Antoinette Katoto intervened on the line.

Following a Leah Galton effort that went just wide of the visitors’ goal, Malard and Hinata Miyazawa were then introduced from the United bench – and four minutes later the former had the home side level, nodding in from Turner’s header following a corner.

As United pushed for another goal, Turner headed goalwards in the 85th minute but it was the latest effort cleared off the line as the sides ended up honours even.