Lionel Messi set another record by scoring a stunning opening goal, but Paris Saint-Germain was in a draw of 1-1 in the match against Benfica at the Champions League clash at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon on Wednesday.
Messi began scoring at the beginning of the second half following a fantastic link-up between Kylian Mbappe and Neymar prior to the famous curling left-foot goal from the outside of the area. The goal was the reason Messi became the Argentine legend became the only player in Champions League history to score goals against 40 different opponents.
The lead didn’t last long, with Benfica striking back at the end of 41st minutes after an attractive in-swinging pass of Enzo Fernandez hit PSG defense Danilo as well as went into the net.
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The result means that PSG together with Benfica remains on the same level of points in the top spot of Group H following three games. The two teams will face off once more on Tuesday in Paris next Tuesday. Juventus is in the third position with three points, had they won their first game in the tournament at pointless Maccabi Haifa.
Benfica began Wednesday’s match with the superior team, and their pressure affected PSG’s pace. In numerous instances, Gianluigi Donnarumma was brought in to stop efforts by the PSG home side in check.
A moment of brilliant play from Messi seemed to turn the game on its face.
The PSG’s top attacking trio took part. Messi was the first to enter from the right side and met Mbappe who handed it over to Neymar prior to the Brazilian returning it to Messi’s path for a magnificent final.
The 35-year-old has now scored in six games for country and club it is the first time he’s achieved this in almost four years.
PSG seemed poised to dominate, but the unresolute defense gave Benfica the chance to draw even. There was a bit of luck in the match’s equalizer, as Fernandez’s cross was spotted as missing his head Goncalo Ramos prior to striking Danilo’s chest Danilo and slamming Donnarumma.
The French champions took to the field in the second period with renewed vigor and got close to being ahead. Neymar struck the crossbar with an incredible overhead kick, and Achraf Hakimi and Mbappe both forced clever decisions by Odysseas Vlachodimos in the Benfica goal.
However, Donnarumma was required to be on guard to block Rafa Silva in close proximity after a raging sprint in the last 10 minutes.
Messi had to be substituted after 81 minutes. PSG head coach Christophe Galtier indicated that the substitution for Pablo Sarabia only took place due to Messi being exhausted.
“He indicated that he was ready to stop. In the final sprint, the athlete felt tired. He walked off because exhausted and a teammate who was fresher was the best option at that moment,” Galtier said to RMC Sport after the game.
Both sides are likely to be disappointed by one point.
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