On Wednesday, SL Benfica and Paris Saint-Germain played to a 1-1 tie at Estadio da Luz, maintaining their parity in UEFA Champions League Group H. Lionel Messi scored first after being set up by Neymar 22 minutes in, but an own goal by Danilo Pereira right before halftime knotted the score.
After three games, both the Portuguese and French giants are tied for first place with seven points each; they will meet again the following week at Parc des Princes. Galtier acknowledged that his Argentine star, “Leo,” had been “waving and saying that he wanted to come off.”
“He was exhausted by the time he reached the last sprint. He decided to leave the game since he was exhausted and a newer teammate would have been more effective. Feelings of disappointment exist despite their best efforts. We had opportunities in each period.
However, Benfica did manage to get some shots on target in the first half, keeping our goalie very busy and making some key saves. In spite of our limited opportunities, we were able to score a fantastic goal before halftime.”
PSG’s Marco Verratti returned from injury to provide a man-of-the-match performance as Christophe Galtier’s side narrowly edged out the hosts. This was PSG’s best performance of the season to this point, and it came against perhaps their toughest opponents.
100% – Lionel Messi against Benfica
▶️1 shot on target
▶️100% dribbles completed (5/5)
▶️100% duels won (7/7)
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) October 5, 2022
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The Italian player’s postgame quote: “We always play to win” “To say the least, this is not an easy destination. It’s no secret that Benfica has a strong roster full of talented athletes. It was a struggle for the first ten to fifteen minutes.
The Champions League is known for such occurrences. The second half, after that, was completely within our control. There were some excellent possibilities. You have to make use of your chances in the UCL, where you often only get ten or so. However, we fought till the very end, despite our inability to succeed. When all else fails, do not go down without a fight.”
To finally score in Lisbon, it took a moment of magic from Messi, who finished brilliantly with his first touch after receiving a precise pass from Neymar. Unfortunately, Les Parisiens’ defense continues to struggle without Presnel Kimpembe, and Pereira scored their own goal right before halftime to tie the game.
Le point infirmerie de Christophe Galtier 🚨🚑
"Leo (Messi) est sorti fatigué, mais ça va… Concernant Nuno Mendes, il a eu un gros incident musculaire. Evidemment qu'il sera forfait pour quelques matches !" 😢
— L'ÉQUIPE du soir (@lequipedusoir) October 5, 2022
As PSG prepares for the knockout stage, the fact that they have conceded in each of their last 11 European games outside of this season is cause for concern. After beating Maccabi Haifa, both teams are still undefeated in the current campaign, which puts Juventus in an awkward position as the third-place team in Group H. It does, however, set up an exciting rematch between PSG and Benfica next week in Paris.
However, with Pereira now playing in central defense after being moved from midfield, the loss of Marquinhos or Sergio Ramos at this point might be catastrophic for the French giants. Given that the Ligue 1 champions’ defense is one of the worst in Europe, it’s no surprise that Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar was a major target this summer and remains of interest coming into January.
The Brazilian captain conceded, “We anticipated there would be ups and downs in this game.” “We are well aware of the challenges presented by playing at this venue and of the fantastic atmosphere that it provides.
I can’t remember a time when Benfica was as successful. They’ve made it thus far because of their skill and talent. They disrupted our game, but we persisted. Even said, there are still areas to improve upon, such as our own goal. At this level, that can be decisive.”