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Victory against Paris in vain for Benfica

SL Benfica 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain
The Eagles ended PSG's unbeaten record in Group C, but the win was ultimately to no avail as the hosts finished third behind Olympiacos FC. 

Victory against Paris in vain for Benfica
Victory against Paris in vain for Benfica ©UEFA.com

SL Benfica will continue their continental campaign in the UEFA Europa League despite a 2-1 home victory against previously unbeaten Group C winners Paris Saint-Germain.

Benfica's fans ran through the gamut of emotions on a dramatic night in the section. When Edinson Cavani rolled in a 37th-minute opener for Paris things looked bleak for Jorge Jesus' side, but Lima's penalty on the stroke of half-time renewed their UEFA Champions League hopes.

A storming start to the second period resulted in Nicolás Gaitán putting the Eagles ahead in the 58th minute, though prior to that news filtered through that the club's former player Javier Saviola had scored a second for Olympiacos FC against RSC Anderlecht. As Benfica needed to better the Greek team's result, they finish third and drop into a competition in which they were runners-up to Chelsea FC last season.

Benfica nearly made a dream start as Paris goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu tipped over a fine Enzo Pérez effort from 20 metres. The hosts dominated possession, but Paris were finding plenty to encourage them on the counterattack and Jérémy Ménez had a chance after a flowing break involving Lucas and Cavani.

Approaching the half-hour Benfica midfielder Gaitán bent an effort just wide and then the unmarked Nemanja Matić headed a fine cross from the guileful Pérez centimetres over. Paris went on to enjoy a strong spell of their own and were rewarded when Cavani tapped in the opener, the Uruguayan international left with the simplest of tasks to finish off a Ménez cut-back for his fourth of the group stage.

On the stroke of half-time Paris debutant Kalifa Traoré betrayed his inexperience as he clattered into Silvio when jumping with the Benfica full-back at the edge of the penalty box. Lima finished emphatically to Sirigu's right to resurrect the Benfica dream.

Benfica were fired up on the resumption and Luisão nodded over before Gaitán latched on to Zoumana Camara's attempt to deal with a Maxi Pereira cross and finished from close range. Substitute Ezequiel Lavezzi, on for Cavani, dragged a shot across the face of goal when clean through after a rare sortie from Laurent Blanc's side as Paris' club record 13-match unbeaten run in Europe's premier club competition was brought to an end.

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