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Winners & Losers

Mbappe fires back: PSG winners, losers & ratings as want-away superstar scores in Benfica bore draw

01:35 GMT+4 12/10/2022
Kylian Mbappe PSG 2022-23
On the day it was revealed that he wants to leave the French champions in January, Mbappe found himself the centre of attention at Parc des Princes

On an evening where Kylian Mbappe and PSG had made headlines before even stepping onto the pitch, a big performance was needed to hush the latest soap opera surrounding Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe did step up to fire a penalty home in the first half against Benfica, and celebrated with intent following reports that he has asked to leave PSG in January.

The goal made Mbappe the club's all-time top scorer in the Champions League, but his goal & the lead it gave PSG did not translate into a positive second-half performance. Benfica defended shrewdly and grew into the contest, forcing PSG into errors as they took their foot off the gas and stopped piling on the pressure.

Marco Verratti's waning influence resulted in him clipping Rafa Silva and gifting the visitors a chance to equalise from the spot after 62 minutes, which Joao Mario did with ease.

Victory for either side on the night would've been enough for them to secure their place in the Champions League knockout stages after Juventus surprisingly lost to Maccabi Haifa earlier in the evening, but both teams lacked the quality to grab the game by the scruff of the neck.

It was a tiring watch on a day that had surely already been exhausting enough for PSG fans - what happens next is anyone's guess.

  • Lionel Messi PSG 2022-23

    The Winners

    Kylian Mbappe:

    Was his goal from the penalty spot? Sure. But did he score? Absolutely. When all is said and done, nobody will look back and remember the dribbles that didn't quite come off or the crosses that were wayward; what they will see is Mbappe's name on the scoresheet in the game that all-but secured PSG's place in the knockout stages. It would've been very easy to crumble under the pressure considering the headlines on Tuesday, but the Frenchman didn't. He stepped up and delivered.

    Lionel Messi:

    The resurgence of Messi only continues to be highlighted in his absence. After a difficult first year in Paris, the Argentine has been an absolute hit in his second season, and in a performance that lacked desire, magic and overall cutting edge quality, PSG most definitely missed him. Who'd have thought?

    Hugo Ekitike:

    Ekitike didn't have to do a lot to be a winner on the night. In fact, much like Messi, he'd have gotten away with not playing at all and still made the cut. If ever there was a reason to justify keeping the squad on its toes by chopping and changing even its most 'irreplaceable' players, tonight's performance was it. Neymar and Mbappe were far from perfect, but Galtier gave them the benefit of the doubt. That has to change. Ekitike is a fabulous talent and deserved the chance to come on and change the game much earlier than he did. Perhaps Galtier will realise that having slumped to a third successive draw in the space of a week.

  • Achraf Hakimi PSG 2022-23

    The Losers

    Achraf Hakimi:

    Considering just how high a regard Hakimi is held in, fans have a right to be disappointed with his performance on Tuesday. Lacking just about everything that typically makes his game so special, the Moroccan fell flat. He didn't push up high enough or attempt to get beyond the line of defence enough, which stifled PSG creatively. Add a lack of quality in possession to that fact, and suddenly he had put in a rather average performance.

    Marco Verratti:

    Another performance which seemed to lack intensity, Verratti faded as the game went on, and it was clear for all to see when he clumsily brought down Rafa Silva inside the box after an hour. His challenge was lazy and resulted in a booking after it was picked up by VAR, which rules him out of PSG's next Champions League game. When the likes of Verratti stop firing in midfield, the whole team struggles.

    Pablo Sarabia:

    Nobody was expecting Sarabia to slot into the front three and fill the boots of Lionel Messi, who scored a wonder goal in the reverse fixture and was missing through injury. That is an almost impossible task. But when given the chance to start in a big game, you have to stake your claim. Sarabia didn't. Instead, the Spain international looked flustered and didn't make the most of the ball when it did come his way. Poor touches, lacking urgency and forgettable. That's not how you force your way into the starting XI.

  • Marquinhos PSG 2022-23

    PSG Ratings: Defence

    Gianluigi Donnarumma (5/10):

    Switched off in the first half and almost gave a goal away in doing so, when receiving the ball to feet. Not at fault for losing his clean sheet to a penalty.

    Sergio Ramos (6/10):

    Confident in and out of possession. Led proceedings at the back for his side. What a huge presence he is for PSG; they've got to keep him fit this season.

    Marquinhos (6/10):

    A more composed figure within the back three; necessary when sitting next to Ramos in particular. Wasn't challenged all too much by Benfica's front line, though.

    Danilo Pereira (5/10):

    Took plenty of risks on the ball - some which almost caught him out - but recovered well and generally swept up without issue. Maybe needs to find the balance between risk and reward.

  • Vitinha PSG 2022-23

    Midfield

    Achraf Hakimi (4/10):

    Bailed out by the offside flag after what was a very poor excuse of a header early on, which resulted in a handball. Also lacked his usual quality when trying to attack down the right flank.

    Vitinha (5/10):

    Too safe in possession. Would've been better trying to burst beyond the lines and create overloads.

    Marco Verratti (5/10):

    Swept up well in front of a backline that was drilled into taking risks with the ball to begin with, but faded as the game drew on. Far too casual after the break and gave away a penalty as a result. Frustrating.

    Juan Bernat (6/10):

    Better than his colleague on the other flank and linked up well with attackers. His run in the first half forced the penalty which put PSG ahead.

  • Neymar PSG 2022-23

    Attack

    Pablo Sarabia (5/10):

    Quiet and lacking a clinical edge, which was obvious when playing alongside Mbappe and Neymar.

    Kylian Mbappe (7/10):

    Scored from the spot with a brilliant penalty and proved a livewire when the ball came his way. Gave Benfica's defence the run around and peeled off wide to create space for others. Inches away from his brace early on in the second half.

    Neymar (6/10): A lovely showing off of the parts of the game which Neymar quietly excels in, when not aboard the showboat. Not at his electric best, but pulled off some important passes and knitted attacks together.

  • Christophe Galtier PSG 2022-23

    Subs & Manager

    Hugo Ekitike (6/10):

    Brought on far too late to have any real impact, with PSG seemingly happy to take a draw.

    Fabian Ruiz (6/10):

    A shame he wasn't trusted from the start, considering the lack of life in midfield.

    Nordi Mukiele (6/10):

    Similar story for the versatile Frenchman.

    Christophe Galtier (5/10):

    Following the headlines, it was always going to be a difficult task in getting his team to fire on all fronts and truly bring the game to Benfica. But Galtier was too hesitant with his substitutions, and PSG had looked like conceding for some time before they did.