January 31, 2023

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Joao Mario penalty cancels out Kylian Mbappe opener as both sides near qualification

2 min read

Kylian Mbappe became Paris Saint-Germain’s leading scorer in European competition but Christophe Galtier’s side were held to a 1-1 draw against Benfica in the Champions League.

Tuesday’s match at the Parc des Princes came on the back of widespread reports Mbappe was unhappy at PSG and would be seeking a January transfer.

PSG’s football advisor Luis Campos emphatically denied those reports before kick-off, and the France international put the speculation to one side to convert a first-half penalty, nosing his side ahead and overtaking Edinson Cavani in the club’s European record books.

Joao Mario equalised with a penalty of his own after the restart, however, with Mbappe seeing a late goal disallowed for offside as both teams missed the chance to secure progression from Group H.

PSG were thankful for a VAR reprieve in the 18th minute, an offside call seeing referee Michael Oliver change his decision to award Benfica a penalty for an Achraf Hakimi handball.

However, there was no doubt over Oliver’s next penalty decision after Antonio Silva clumsily felled Juan Bernat, with Mbappe calmly sending Odysseas Vlachodimos the wrong way for his milestone goal six minutes before half-time.

Mbappe curled just wide in the second half before Marco Verratti brought down Rafa Silva just inside PSG’s area.

The foul was initially missed by Oliver, who swiftly changed his decision after consulting the pitchside monitor, with Joao Mario smashing a finish high into the back of Gianluigi Donnarumma’s net.

Mbappe thought he had struck a late winner, only to be ruled offside from Sergio Ramos’ flick after acrobatically volleying past Vlachodimos.

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