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Winners & Losers

PSG let it slip! Winners & losers as Galtier's men finish second in Group H despite incredible Mbappe

22:36 GMT 02/11/2022
Mbappe post-match PSG Juventus 2022-23
Kylian Mbappe led Paris Saint-Germain to a 2-1 win over an inspired Juventus side on Wednesday - but they were still left disappointed in Group H.

Under-pressure Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri begged his players to put in a strong performance on Wednesday despite already being eliminated from Champions League knockout stage contention. By matching or bettering Maccabi Haifa's result elsewhere, they would at least reach the "beautiful" Europa League.

The Bianconeri responded with energy and pride, and visitors PSG struggled to contain them at times.

Despite a piece of individual brilliance from Kylian Mbappe in the first half, Juve would find an equaliser through Leonardo Bonucci. Christophe Galtier's men were not cohesive for the first hour, with a recurring concern surrounding his star-studded but sometimes overly individualistic team rearing its head once again.

However, seemingly realising Benfica had moved top having gone ahead in the other match in Group H, PSG found a second goal when Mbappe played Nuno Mendes through to finish expertly.

Job done, right? Not so fast.

Benfica poured in five second-half goals, including one in stoppage time, which incredibly dislodged PSG from top spot on away goals scored throughout the group stage. Another strike from PSG in Turin would have done the trick, but they were unable to find a third. A hugely disappointing outcome for a club desperate to win the Champions League for the first time.

  • Kylian Mbappe dribble PSG Juventus 2022-23

    The Winners

    Kylian Mbappe:

    It's easy to claim Mbappe isn't worth the headache for PSG away from matchday and when details are emerging of behind-the-scenes feuds with team-mates. But those arguments quickly fade away when he's gliding past defenders and scoring sublime goals. Or when he's sliding through team-mate Nuno Mendes with a defence-splitting pass.

    Mbappe's off-field dramas may have a negative effect on morale, but his play against Juventus showcased his world-class abilities. He changes matches for PSG time and again. There are few - if any - players in the world with his unique blend of attributes.

    Marquinhos:

    What a block from the Brazilian in the 34th minute! With a 1-0 lead, it appeared Juventus youngster Fabio Miretti would have ages to line up a free hit in the box. But Marquinhos charged in seemingly out of nowhere to block his attempt and save the day.

    It wasn't a perfect outing for the centre-back, but he again showed his importance, less than a week after needing to put out the fire as a substitute against Troyes with Presnel Kimpembe struggling before his introduction.

    Not everyone can live up to the expectations at PSG. It's difficult when fans turn on the team so quickly. But Marquinhos is always a rock-solid presence and is well on his way to legend status in Paris.

    He's moving into good form with the World Cup just ahead.

    Nuno Mendes:

    Nuno Mendes is 20 years old, and sometimes he plays like it. He's still figuring out life at one of the world's best clubs. That takes time.

    But when he's going just on instinct, no overthinking involved, he's electric. Mbappe pushed a nice pass into his path, but his acceleration to find room to shoot beyond the defence was the breathtaking aspect of his match-winning goal. Too fast for Juan Cuadrado? Wow. It would be a sensational moment for anyone, let alone a wing-back.

    He did go off injured later on after colliding with Marco Verratti, so let's hope his removal was simply precautionary.

  • Marco Verratti PSG Juventus 2022-23

    The Losers

    Marco Verratti:

    It's uncommon to see the graceful Italian playmaker look anything less than crisp, but he was uncharacteristically sloppy on Wednesday. His first-half turnover forced Marquinhos into a last-ditch block, and his reading of the game in possession was less convincing than usual.

    PSG will struggle to win the Champions League without Verratti at his best.

    Fabian Ruiz:

    Still settling into life in the French capital after joining from Napoli over the summer, Ruiz was forced off in the opening 25 minutes because of an injury sustained in a challenge on Adrien Rabiot. He is not enjoying the level-up he had hoped for entering the campaign, and he's now a secondary piece instead of a focal point. His former side look really good, too.

    Massimiliano Allegri:

    A really heartbreaking result for the head coach, even though Juventus did still make the Europa League with Maccabi Haifa also losing. Allegri had Juventus attacking like they've done so rarely this year. He will feel disappointed to have left without even a point. He may also feel concerned that the outcome will move him one step closer to an eventual sacking.

    Christophe Galtier:

    Why didn't he get his players to push for more goals as Benfica piled on in the other match?! Very poor tactical awareness from the first-year PSG boss.

  • Galtier Juventus

    Biggest Takeaway

    There were positives for PSG, but Galtier's lack of urgency combined with an impressive effort from Juventus means that a difficult round of 16 match may well await them in 2023 given their second-place finish in Group H.