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Benfica stage comeback win over PSG but bow out

Reuters
Benfica's Lima is congratulated by team mates after scoring a penalty against Paris St Germain during their Champions League soccer match in Lisbon
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Benfica's Lima (L) is congratulated by team mates after scoring a penalty against Paris St Germain …

By Daniel Alvarenga

LISBON (Reuters) - Benfica got the better of a makeshift Paris St Germain side with a 2-1 comeback win on Tuesday thanks to goals from South Americans Lima and Nicolas Gaitan but it wasn't enough to secure a passage to the knockout rounds of the Champions League.

Benfica needed to better Olympiakos' result in Athens, but the Greek side beat Anderlecht 3-1 to claim the runners-up spot in Group C and consign third-placed Benfica to the Europa League.

PSG go through as group winners with 13 points, three ahead of both Olympiakos and Benfica, who lose out on their inferior head-to-head record against their Greek rivals.

The visitors' Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani slotted home the opener eight minutes before halftime at the Luz stadium.

Benfica leveled with a penalty from Brazilian Lima after PSG's Champions League debutant Kalifa Traore brought down Silvio in the box, and Argentinian Gaitan rewarded Benfica for a stronger second-half display with the winner after 58 minutes.

Already assured of a place in the last 16, PSG fielded a second-string line-up, resting top marksman Zlatan Ibrahimovic and centre backs Thiago Silva and Alex.

Benfica punished the French champions' vulnerability in defence, none more so than when Gaitan fired home the winner from close-range after centre back Zoumana Camara failed to clear.

"It was a dream of our president and of all Benfica fans to reach the (Champions League) final in our stadium, and our objective was to go through the groups but sadly the win was not enough. Still, it is one that the fans deserved," Benfica's Lima said.

(Editing by Stephen Wood)

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