Benfica beat Maccabi Haifa 6-1 to top Champions League group ahead of PSG

Benfica confounded expectations to top a group including Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.
JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images

A stoppage-time goal by Joao Mario completed a stunning 6-1 win for Benfica at Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday which lifted the Portuguese side top of Champions League Group H ahead of Paris Saint-Germain.

Goals from Goncalo Ramos, Petar Musa, Alex Grimaldo, Rafa Silva, Henrique Araujo and Joao Mario - five of them in the second half - put Benfica on to 14 points, level with PSG on points and goal difference but ahead of the French champions having scored more away goals.

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Maccabi finished bottom of the standings with three points, level with Juventus who ended up third on goal difference and will go into the Europa League.

Mario's superb long-range strike prompted wild celebrations as the Benfica substitutes and coaching staff ran onto the pitch.

"We came here to win the game first but as minutes passed and we kept scoring, we felt that the momentum was building in our favor and that we could make it happen," Ramos told Eleven Sports.

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Maccabi competed strongly in a compelling first half.

Dean David sent a great chance wide for the hosts before Ramos struck with a towering header to put Benfica in front.

Maccabi equalised through a penalty by Tjarron Chery and Benfica coach Roger Schmidt made two substitutions in the 32nd minute, replacing Fredrik Aursnes and Ramos with Musa and Chiquinho.

Benfica dominated the match and finally converted one of their chances with a nice diving header by Musa from a deep cross by full back Alexander Bah.

Grimaldo slotted in an unstoppable long-range free kick for the third goal, Silva added a fourth and Araujo beat the offside trap in the 88th minute to grab the fifth with a tap-in.

Benfica continued to pour forward with their relentless high-press game and deep into stoppage time Mario's excellent strike sent them into the last 16 as group winners.