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December 10, 2013
• Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz), Lisboa
Referee: M. Clattenburg
• Attendance: 30089
N. Gaitán 58'
E. Cavani 37'
That's all we have time for from Estadio da Luz, as Benfica picking up a brave 2-1 win over a lacklustre PSG outfit. I've been Simon Harrison, and I hope to see you all again next time.
Benfica finish in third place in Group C, while PSG head into the knockout stages in first place, as was confirmed before tonight's proceedings. Blanc may have hoped that his squad players would impress a little more this evening, but the overriding feeling will be the relief of navigating the Champions League group stage successfully.
Laurent Blanc named a much-changed side for tonight's fixture, and that certainly showed, especially in terms of fielding a debutant right-back in the form of Traore. The PSG man gave away a penalty after clattering into Silvio, before being torn apart by Gaitan and Sulejmani all game.
FULL TIME! Benfica crash out of the Champions League, despite a 2-1 home victory against a much-changed PSG side. Goals from Lima and Gaitan gave the Portuguese side false hope, coming from behind after the game's breakthrough goal was netted by Cavani, in a game which the Ligue 1 reigning champions never looked like winning.
90' + 3'
The hosts are happy to see this game out with the result as it stands, and PSG haven't looked particularly fiery for the entire 90 minutes. The result appears to be a formality, and I can't see the referee awarding anything over the allotted three minutes of stoppage time.
90' + 1'
Good work on the left hand side from Sulejmani! He beats Traore will ease, before firing a dangerous cross into the penalty area. The Serbian has made a difference since coming on. Both of PSG's full-backs have struggled tonight.
Enzo Nicolás Pérez
Only a matter of seeing out the final few minutes now, and Benfica's group stage journey will be over. Olympiakos are leading in Group C's other game, so the hosts will be praying for a late goal from Anderlecht before the end of play.
PASTORE! The Argentine midfielder popped up in the centre of the Benfica penalty area, completely unmarked, but he can only cushion his header easily into the grasp of Artur. The linesman had his flag raised for offside, however.
Yellow Card Silvio
Good clearance from Camara! The central defender manages to head a Sulejmani cross away from the danger area, and the 34-year-old certainly hasn't done himself any injustice this evening. Despite being outpaced occasionally, the Frenchman has made some important interventions.
CAVALEIRO! The young substitute outpaces Digne, before being pressured brilliantly by Marquinhos. The Portuguese forward thrashes an effort towards the near post, but Sirigu is able to push the ball behind for a corner.
Only six minutes left on the clock, and both sides appear content to play this game out casually, with Benfica looking extremely comfortable. Much of this game has been played in the visitors' half, and the last five minutes appear to be no different, despite PSG trailing.
The home crowd are in very good voice, and presumably the visiting fans will be in similar spirits. If things stay as they are, and Olympiakos fail to match Benfica's victory, both sides playing here tonight will be progressing through the to knockout stages.
Good challenge from Luisao! Marquinhos looked to control a rebound and drive into the Benfica penalty area, but a good sliding challenge from the Brazilian denied his compatriot the opportunity to shoot. The ball ricochets off the PSG youngster for a goal kick.
PSG's possession continues to lack any kind of penetration, with Benfica keen to congest the midfield and support their rather light central midfield pairing. Blanc will be hoping for a moment of individual brilliance from one of his very talented offensive options to drag his side back into this game.
Osvaldo Nicolás Fabián Gaitán
Yellow Card Adrien Rabiot
Jorge Jesus will be conscious of pushing too many players forward with only just over ten minutes remaining in this game, though a third goal would inevitably put the fixture beyond Benfica. Fresh legs have been thrown on as the hosts look to continue pressing a lacklustre PSG outfit.
LAVEZZI! The Uruguayan winger leaned back a little too much as he struck through an effort on the edge of the Benfica penalty area, and ballooned one of PSG's rare efforts in the second half way over the crossbar.
LIMA! The Brazilian jumped excellently to meet a looping cross, after shaking off his markers, but can't divert the ball towards goal whatsoever! A difficult cross to turn home, but he'll still be kicking himself!
PSG look devoid of any kind of inspiration, and it's the likes of Lima and Gaitan who are causing much of the excitement in this game. Pastore and Lucas has been anonymous in the second half, with PSG's midfield looking to be not too interested in proceedings.
Twenty minutes remaining, and the home crowd are much more relaxed now that their side lead! Even if Benfica don't manage to navigate their way through to the next round, they will feel as though they have done almost everything in their power. Beating even a rotated PSG side is quite an achievement.
Yellow Card Jérémy Menez
LAVEZZI! It's only centimetres wide of the back post for the Uruguayan, and that would have been a lovely finish! Menez did excellently to drive at the Benfica defence before threading the ball through to his teammate, but the angle proved narrowly too tight for Lavezzi to finish.
After a long period on the back foot, the visitors finally manage to string together a spell of possession, but the French side aren't creating any opportunities. Benfica are pressing rather well and forcing PSG to play lengthy, incisive through balls.
MARKOVIC! Great work from the youngster, as he got in behind PSG's lines, before playing a nicely weighted ball into the back post area. In the end, his delivery was too close to Camara, but Lima was once again lurking in and around the PSG penalty area.
LIMA! The Brazilian fires a low drive just the wrong side of the post, and yet another half chance goes begging for the hosts! That could have put the game to bed for the home side!
PSG don't appear to have been kick-started into action by conceding their second goal of the evening, and Benfica appear happy to stay in control of this game. Cavani looked rather isolated before his substitution, and PSG are lacking a focal point.
After conceding that second goal, Laurent Blanc opts to take off two more of his first team regulars who figured in the Ligue 1 leaders' victory over Sochaux at the weekend. Lavezzi takes to the field, however, who netted his first league goal since August at the weekend.
Half an hour left to play, and Estadio da Luz is now full of belief! Every attack is greeted with expectancy, and Benfica have certainly been the better side in the second half. Jorge Jesus will possibly want a third goal to provide a cushion for his side, but gunning for such targets could prove risky.
Goal Osvaldo Nicolás Fabián Gaitán
GOOOOOOAL! GAITAN MAKES IT 2-1 TO THE HOSTS! The Argentine stabs the ball home from a few yards, after great work on the right flank from Pereira yet again! Sirigu and Camara can't clear their lines, but Gaitan is the first man to react!
CAVANI! Very close for the goalscorer, as Artur almost fumbles a Lucas Moura drive out into the path of the lurking Uruguayan! That was so very nearly a second goal for the visitors, and Cavani certainly realises how close he came!
LUISAO! Incredibly close from the towering central defender! It's a wonderful free-kick delivery from Gaitan, but the Brazilian can't keep the ball under the crossbar! Garay was waiting behind him in a better position, but a lack of communication seems to have prevented the Uruguayan from challenging for the header!
Good interception from Rabiot! The young midfielder manages to step in ahead of an onrushing ruck of red shirts at the back post, after Matic did absolutely brilliantly to beat Camara and deliver from the byline.
LIMA! A thunderbolt from the Brazilian striker is beaten away by Sirigu, that was a very good stop by the PSG goalkeeper! The ball isn't cleared fully, however, and Fejsa is able to try his luck at the second attempt, but his effort is blocked! More half chances for the hosts!
Rabiot shoves Gaitan to the ground as the Argentine midfielder looked to make something happen, but Mark Clattenburg completely ignores the complaints of the Benfica man. That looked like a certain foul.
Great work on the right hand side by Pereira! The Uruguayan does excellently to beat Digne with a piece of skill, but his eventual cross from the byline is just a little bit too high for his teammate steaming in at the back post.
Yellow Card Thiago Motta
MATIC! The Serbian tries his luck from range, after being allowed only his left foot, but balloons his effort miles over the crossbar. That was a very poor effort from the 25-year-old, but if you don't shoot, you don't score!
LIMA! GAITAN! Two chances in the blink of an eye for Benfica! The shot from Lima is blocked by Camara, before the rebound is scuffed wide by the Argentine winger! He had to strike that with his right, but instead opted for his preferred left foot!
We are back underway in the second half! Benfica will look to kick on from their reasonable first half outing, and they need better Olympiakos' result to progress into the knockout stages of the competition.
Benfica have had the majority of the chances, but were punished for some slack defending by Cavani's goal in the 37th minute. Silvio and Pereira have looked dangerous when delivering from wide areas, with Gaitan and Markovic have some glimpses of their dribbling ability.
In the other game in Group C, Olympiakos are drawing 1-1 against Anderlecht, meaning that as things stand, the Greek side will be progressing to the next round of the Champions League. Plenty can happen in 45 minutes, however, with Benfica merely needing to better Olympiakos' result.
HALF TIME! A Lima penalty late in the half has given the hosts some additional hope, as Cavani's breakthrough goal looked to sink Jorge Jesus' Champions League hopes. Their fate still lies in Olympiakos' hands, but the hosts won't be too disappointed with that opening 45 minutes.
45' + 1'
Well, Lima's penalty has thrown this group wide open once again. Benfica are of course still at the hands of Olympiakos, but now have a more realistic chance of taking the lead here in the Estadio da Luz. PSG will want to get back into the dressing room, presumably!
Penalty Goal Lima
GOOOOAL! LIMA MAKES IT 1-1! It's a fantastic finish, he smashes the ball narrowly inside the post, giving Sirigu absolutely no chance! Silvio still looks dazed on the sidelines, but Jorge Jesus' men are back in with a chance!
PENALTY TO BENFICA! Traore is penalised for a rather strange challenge on Silvio, and the debutant looks inconsolable! The right-back completely missed his header and clatters into the advancing wide man!
LUCAS! The Brazilian effort is beaten away fiercely by Artur, but that was an easy stop for the Benfica keeper. The former Sao Paulo man is found in plenty of space on the right, but opts to shoot for the near post, rather than looking for Cavani who was unmarked at the back post.
Five minutes until the break, and some rather poor defending from Benfica is thus far costing the Portuguese side. The hosts have had the better chances, but an inability to clear their lines gifted Edinson Cavani the opportunity to convert from only a couple of yards out.
Benfica need a reply here, and fast! Olympiakos are leading against Anderlecht, and now the hosts are trailing on their own home turf, leaving Jorge Jesus' side with plenty to do if they wish to turn their fortunes around. The home crowd are growing rather restless.
Assist Jérémy Menez
Goal Edinson Cavani
GOOOOOOAL! CAVANI CONVERTS FOR THE AWAY SIDE! The Uruguayan finishes from only a few yards out, after a wonderful cut-back from Menez on the right hand side! He couldn't miss! PSG lead 1-0!
MENEZ! The Frenchman shoots from a ridiculous angle, and Artur pushes the strike behind for a corner for the visitors. The Portuguese looked to have that one easily covered, but concedes the set piece anyway.
Excellent piece of skill from Markovic, but the youngster lets his touch get away from him! He nutmegs Thiago Motta with an intelligent scoop of the ball, but Marquinhos is able to clear up the scraps. The Serbian forward hasn't had too much of an impact on this game, but that little glimpse shows what he is capable of.
Maxi Pereira is brought down by the byline on the right hand side, winning a free-kick for his side, but Cavani is again on hand to carry out his defensive duties in his own penalty area. That delivery was designed to reach the head of Luisao, but the Uruguayan striker did well.
Jorge Jesus will certainly take heart from the opening half an hour, as his side have created some very positive chances in this game thus far. Sirigu has been kept fairly busy and PSG's spells of possession have gradually become much more short-lived. The hosts can aim for the three points here.
Yellow Card Maxi Pereira
Sirigu almost gives away possession with Lima keen to close down the Italian goalkeeper quickly, and moments earlier Perez claimed for a penalty after kicking the ball against the withdrawn arm of Marquinhos. Never a spot-kick, the Brazilian could have done nothing more to avoid the ball.
MATIC! The physically imposing Serb can only direct his header narrowly over the crossbar from ten yards out, and that was a very big chance for the hosts! It's inches wide of the target, but perhaps the midfielder could have at least looked to hit the target from there.
GAITAN! The Argentine curls an effort agonisingly wide of the far post, after a lovely piece of skill from Lima opens up some space for the hosts. Sirigu is at full stretch, but Gaitan's effort beats both the goalkeeper and the post.
Half chance for Markovic! The Serbian winger looks to hold onto the ball for too long, when he could have released Perez in a pocket of space in a wide area. The 19-year-old hasn't covered himself in glory thus far, but still has plenty of time to grow into this game.
CAVANI! Fejsa does well to recover for Benfica, and manages to steal the ball off the boot of Cavani, as the Uruguayan looked to cut inside from the byline. Still no real opening as of yet for the former Napoli hitman.
LIMA! The Brazilian tries his luck from range after driving into space at the edge of the box, but Camara is on hand to make an important block to put the ball behind for a corner. Cavani acrobatically backheels the eventual set piece delivery away from danger.
Good running from Menez yet again! The Frenchman is energetic as always, looking to bring his side forward by 20 yards whenever he gets hold of possession. Luisao certainly has his hands full tonight, a lapse in concentration could see the former Roma winger slipping away from him and finding this game's first goal.
Once again, a lofted delivery into the visitors' penalty area causes a few problems. It takes the away side a few attempts to clear their lines, and Jorge Jesus may look to push forward his central defenders whenever Benfica have the opportunity to utilise their long throw.
PEREZ! Silvio launches a long throw into the PSG penalty area, but the Argentine fails to connect with the looping ball! Menez is brave, stooping down to head the delivery clear of the danger zone.
Well cut out by Marquinhos! The Brazilian defender stops a cute pass around the corner from Matic, which was intended to slide Markovic in on goal. The Serbian connection through Jorge Jesus' side is yet to link up efficiently.
PSG continue to look very composed on the ball, and have plenty of options in midfield due to the way they have set up, with Pastore sitting ahead of the assured duo of Thiago Motta and Rabiot. The Argentine finds Digne with an incisive pass, but the youngster blasts wide!
Good punch away from Artur! The Portuguese keeper is quick off his line to clear the ball from his box, following a well-weighted free-kick delivery into the penalty area. Neither goalkeeper is prepared to give the opposition free reign of his 18-yard box!
Two poor challenges from Benfica in the space of ten seconds! Matic and Fejsa are both unable to make clean challenges, with Rabiot beating both of the Serbian midfielders, and the hosts have struggled in the centre of midfield due to the number of bodies PSG have in the middle of the park.
Sirigu has been much the busier of the two goalkeepers in this game so far, but he's been equal to everything that Benfica have thrown at him. Perez and Gaitan have been able to whip in some excellent balls from wide areas in the early stages of the game, but PSG are weathering the storm.
An action-packed first ten minutes at Estadio da Luz, as both sides have easily chances to take the lead! Benfica have another chance to score the breakthrough goal, but Markovic's eventual strike is charged down by Marquinhos! Great defending from the young Brazilian.
Excellent cross from Maxi Pereira! The Uruguayan places a lovely ball into the six yard box for his teammate to contest, but Sirigu is able to punch the delivery well clear of danger. Great punch from the PSG goalkeeper, but that cross needed to be attacked by a red shirt!
MENEZ! Good stop from Artur! PSG break quickly after a Benfica corner is dealt with excellently, as Lucas drives forward before finding his teammate at the back post. Menez tries to place the ball into the far corner after opening up his body, but Artur is able to push it away from goal.
SILVIO! The left winger cuts inside and fires a low drive towards Sirigu's near post, but the Italian shot stopper, is quickly down to his right to fist the ball out for yet another corner.
The home fans find their voice after the chance for Perez, but that strike was rather easy for Sirigu to get to. The Argentine midfielder hit it sweetly, but it was always curling back toward the PSG goalkeeper. Despite conceding two early chances, Blanc will be happy with how his side have settled.
PEREZ! Great save by Sirigu! The Italian goalkeeper does excellently to beat away a firm strike from Perez, palming the ball over the crossbar well! First opportunity of the game goes in the hosts' favour, and Marquinhos heads away the resulting corner.
The pitch is looking in considerably better condition than when Benfica faced Olympiakos here in the Champions League, where the field of play turned into a small lake due to heavy rain. Let us hope that the elements don't affect this game this evening, there's plenty of quality on show.
Two long balls come to nothing for either side in the opening minutes, with both intended passes bobbling through to Sirigu and Artur respectively. Both teams have managed to see a spell of possession in the opening couple of minutes, and it's vital for Benfica that they don't allow PSG to settle too quickly.
We are underway in Lisbon! The home side are in their customary red and white strip, with PSG able to don their own home kit of navy blue and red. Christophe Jallet insisted during the week that the Ligue 1 leaders wouldn't take this game lightly despite already having their place booked in the next round, but we shall see how the French club reacts to a no-pressure scenario.
We are only five minutes from kick-off now, and both teams are lined up in the tunnel. A banner has been laid out on the field in memory of the late Nelson Mandela, and we're close to getting things underway at Estadio de Luz. The visiting supporters are in good voice, armed with hundreds of blue and red balloons, bringing somewhat of a carnival feel to what will be a very nervy home crowd.
PSG substitutes: Douchez, Matuidi, Maxwell, Lavezzi, Jallet, Ongenda, Coman.
PSG starting line-up: Sirigu; Traore, Marquinhos, Camara, Digne; Thiago Motta, Rabiot; Lucas, Pastore, Menez; Cavani.
Benfica substitutes: Sulejmani, Rodrigo, Andre Gomes, Jardel, Andre Almeida, Oblak, Cavaleiro.
Benfica starting line-up: Artur Moraes; Maxi Pereira, Luisao, Garay, Silvio; Enzo Perez, Fejsa, Matic, Gaitan; Lima, Markovic.
TEAM NEWS: Blanc opts to rest both Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but Edinson Cavani starts up front for the visitors. Lavezzi is named on the bench after scoring his first league goal since August at the weekend. Benfica go with Lima and Markovic in attack, and need some goals to progress from Group C.
Plenty has changed since the two sides last faced one another in 2011, overwhelmingly due to the vast amounts of money pumped into PSG via foreign investment. The likes of Luisao, Maxi Pereira, Nicolas Gaitan remain for the home side however, and they will be hoping to pick up the three points tonight, to have done all they can to have qualified for the next round of the competition.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be leading your through all of the action from Lisbon, as Benfica look to continue their impressive record against French sides. The hosts have never lost in Estadio da Luz versus such opposition, and Blanc's side certainly aren't the most motivated to change that record tonight. Plenty of rotation for the current Ligue 1 leaders, so some motivation might prevail through the desire to impress.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Benfica's vital Champions League home fixture against already-qualified PSG, where the hosts are already at the mercy of the other game in Group C! Laurent Blanc's side arrival in Portugal safe in the knowledge that their passage to the next round is already guaranteed, while Jorge Jesus' side need to win and hope that they can better Olympiakos' result.
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