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PSG manager Galtier denies benching Hakimi against Maccabi Haifa due to player's stance on Palestine

5:03 PM IST 15/09/22
Hakimi
The Morocco star was introduced in the 83rd minute as the French champions collected maximum points on Wednesday night

PSG manager Christophe Galtier has revealed he rested his dependable right-back Achraf Hakimi against Maccabi Haifa after he had played almost 90% of matches this season and not due to fears of Israeli fan backlash owing to the Moroccan defender's views on Palestine.

Hakimi was on the bench with Nordi Mukiele starting as the French side claimed a 3-1 win over the Israeli outfit in Group H of the Champions League game staged at Sammy Ofer Stadium.

Hakimi was eventually introduced in the 83rd minute and was subject to booing by the home supporters.

In his post-match comments, his coach played down suggestions he opted to rest his key defender thanks to his pro-Palestinian position.

"Hakimi didn't start; simply because he had just played eight out of nine matches, not in relation to the environment or what happened at the Trophee des Champions," Galtier said as quoted by RMC Sport.

The Trophee des Champions, the French Super Cup, was held in Tel Aviv in July and the fullback was booed throughout the fixture.

On Wednesday in the Champions League, the French side dominated the proceedings but were shocked by the hosts after 24 minutes. Dolev Haziza picked out Tjarron Chery's run and the latter easily beat the goalkeeper to make it 1-0.

However, the visitors were not negatively impacted and pushed for an equaliser that came in the 37th minute through Lionel Messi. It was his 39th goal in the competition, one more than Cristiano Ronaldo who missed out on the elite continental tournament this season.

The Israeli outfit became the 39th different team that he has scored against on a Champions League stage.

The former Barcelona attacker then assisted Kylian Mbappe in the 69th minute to make it 2-1.

In the 88th minute, PSG deservedly got their third goal, this time Marco Verratti putting a cross in the danger zone that was finished by Neymar.

The win ensured PSG have secured maximum points from their two games. They started their campaign with a 2-1 win against Juventus. The Parisians will now host Benfica in their next outing.