PSG win 2-1 at Juventus but finish second in group

Bemfica pip them to topspot in Group H by the slimmest of margins after hitting Maccabi Haifa for six

Reuters
Published : 3 Nov 2022, 11:27 AM
Updated : 3 Nov 2022, 11:27 AM

A second-half goal by defender Nuno Mendes earned Paris St Germain a 2-1 win at Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday but they were pipped to top spot in Group H by the slimmest of margins after Benfica hit Maccabi Haifa for six.

Benfica thrashed Maccabi 6-1 in the other group game to ensure the Portuguese and French teams ended level on 14 points, having drawn their two head-to-heads 1-1 and both with a goal difference of nine.

But Benfica finished top courtesy of more away goals scored in all games, with a tally of nine compared to PSG's six after Joao Mario's strike deep into stoppage time sent them into the last 16 as group winners. Read full story

"We've beaten Juventus twice and we were very happy until the 92nd minute," PSG coach Christophe Galtier told Canal+.

"But if you want to go far in this competition, you have to beat big teams. Let's wait for the draw and see who we get in the Round of 16.

"When we were winning 7-2 last week (over Maccabi), we stopped playing at the 90th minute. We conceded too many goals from set-pieces, as we did against Haifa. If we'd conceded one goal fewer, we would have finished top of the group."

An injury-depleted Juventus, who lost 4-3 at Benfica last week and will not participate in the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2013-14, secured the Europa League spot by finishing third on three points.

Massimiliano Allegri's side needed to at least equal Maccabi Haifa's result to avoid finishing bottom.

Forward Kylian Mbappe broke the deadlock in Turin in the 13th minute when he received the ball from Lionel Messi and dodged through Juve's defence to unleash a low shot inside the far post.

It was the Frenchman's seventh goal in the competition this season, after he also netted twice in the reverse fixture in September, and moved him level with Liverpool's Mohamed Salah at the top of the scoring charts.

Juventus levelled shortly before halftime after Juan Cuadrado sent the ball into the six-yard box with a diving header and defender Leonardo Bonucci tapped it in.

PSG sealed the win in the 69th minute when Mbappe found Mendes with an excellent cross between two Juve players for the substitute to score within one minute of coming on.

Juventus thought they had pulled level again in the 77th minute after PSG keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved an effort by Filip Kostic and midfielder Manuel Locatelli netted on the follow up -- but his effort was ruled out for offside.

"When you go off the pitch defeated, you have to be angry," Allegri said. "We have to carry this anger inside for the rest of the season."

The defeat ensured Juventus lost five of their six Champions League group stage matches for the first time.

Prior to this season, they had only ever suffered five defeats in one Champions League season back in 2002-03, when they lost one game in the first group stage, three in the second as well as one of their semi-final legs.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher