Wed, 07 Dec 2022

Paris Saint-Germain boss Christophe Galtier on Thursday played down injury fears for star striker Lionel Messi after the 35-year-old Argentine left the field nine minutes from time during the 1-1 draw at Benfica.

Messi scored his eighth goal of the campaign mid way through the first- half at the Estadio da Luz following slick interplay with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

The strike chalked up a piece of Champions League history. It made Messi the first player to score against 40 different teams in the competition.

The shine was taken off the statistics just before half-time when PSG defender Danilo turned the ball past Gigi Donnarumma into his own net.

As the match drew to a close, Messi was withdrawn and replaced by Pablo Sarabia.

"Messi alerted us and said he wanted to be substituted," Galtier told French broadcaster RMC Sport.

Fatigue

"He came off because he was feeling tired. It was better to send in a fresh player rather than taking any risks with the score at 1-1."

Galtier said Messi should be ready for the away game at Reims on Saturday as PSG attempt to maintain their two point lead over Marseille in Ligue 1.

The result in Lisbon, coupled with Juventus's 3-1 win over Maccabi Haifa leaves Group D finely balanced with three games to play.

PSG and Benfica lead the pool with seven points. Juventus have three while Maccabi prop up the table following their third successive defeat.

Elsewhere in the competition, holders Real Madrid beat Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 to maintain their unbeaten record in Group H.

And in Group E, the 2021 champions Chelsea beat AC Milan 3-0 to give new boss Graham Potter his first win in the competition.

Performance

"It was a really good team performance," Potter told Chelsea's TV channel.

"I thought we defended really well and there was a good attitude about the players."

The victory moved Chelsea into second above Milan while Salzburg lead the way with five points following their 1-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb.

In Group G, Erling Haaland bagged a brace in Manchester City's 5-0 annihilation of FC Copenhagen.

The Norwegian striker took his tally to 19 goals in 12 games since arriving at City in the summer from Borussia Dortmund.

The 22-year-old was substituted at half-time with the score at 3-0.

Riyad Mahdrez and Julian Alvarez addedthe gloss for Pep Guardiola's side who have won all three of their games in the group stages.

Dortmund moved up to second in Group G with six points following their 4-1 demolition of Sevilla.

The Spanish outfit sacked coach Julien Lopetegui following the defeat.

Sevilla have one point from their three games in the Champions League and lie just above the relegation zone in La Liga with five points after seven matches.

Originally published on RFI

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