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Jara's late show edges Benfica past PSG

SL Benfica 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain FC
Substitute Franco Jara turned the round of 16 tie in the Eagles' favour with an 81st-minute strike against PSG in the Portuguese capital.

Jara's late show edges Benfica past PSG
Jara's late show edges Benfica past PSG ©UEFA.com

SL Benfica will travel to France next week for the conclusion of their UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie with a slender advantage after recovering from falling a goal behind to beat Paris Saint-Germain FC in Lisbon.

PSG had made their first-half dominance tell when Péguy Luyindula opened the scoring on 14 minutes. The hosts, though, levelled through Maxi Pereira before the break and while Antoine Kombouaré's men limited the Eagles to few chances thereafter, substitute Franco Jara tipped the balance in Benfica's favour nine minutes from time.

The initial supremacy, however, belonged to the visitors. Although Nicolás Gaitán forced an early save from PSG goalkeeper Apoula Édel, it was a stronger signal of intent when Mevlüt Erdinç pressed Roberto into service at the other end. If the Benfica No1 came out on top on that occasion, he was powerless to prevent Luyindula from finishing off Nenê's assist. The provider then crossed for Erdinç whose close-range effort rattled the post.

PSG were controlling the midfield, although they received warning of the danger ahead when Óscar Cardozo and Carlos Martins were each denied an equaliser by Édel. Maxi Pereira found precisely that after 42 minutes, however. The right-back tucked away Martins's lobbed pass for his third goal in as many matches against French opposition following a pair of strikes against Olympique de Marseille in this competition last season.

Undeterred, PSG continued to threaten the Liga club after the restart as they dictated the tempo and barred Benfica from gaining sight of Édel's goal. When Jorge Jesus's charges finally did get into an advanced position, Cardozo only succeeded in clearing the crossbar.

By this point, though, substitute Jara's influence was beginning to tell and 15 minutes after replacing Eduardo Salvio, the midfielder struck the night's decisive blow following a Pablo Aimar pass.

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