A much-improved Juventus side will at least be playing Europa League football after the World Cup despite losing to Paris Saint-Germain.
While that proves scant consolation amid an awful season for the Old Lady, Massimiliano Allegri can at least reflect on a strong performance against one of Europe’s form sides.
Granted, it’s difficult to expect PSG to play with anything approaching urgency even when they desperately need to win a game and their distinct lack of defensive effort must be taken into account, but Juve largely bossed the game, only undone by moments of individual magic.
The bulk of which came from Kylian Mbappe. In fine fettle this season, the French forward scored a brilliant goal 12 minutes into the game, teasing Federico Gatti into daring to close him down before rolling both the centre-back and Manuel Locatelli, cutting inside and curling a shot into the bottom left-hand corner from just outside the box.
That, however, came against the run of play and Leandro Bonucci’s equaliser, bundled from the kind of close range that broke English hearts in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley, was nothing more than they deserved heading into the break.
The excellent Manuel Locatelli went close a number of times after the interval as Juve posed problems of PSG, though Mbappe turned provider to seal an unconvincing win.
Playing an incisive through ball to substitute Nuno Mendes, the Portugal international finished well from a tight angle inside the box to ensure - in their minds at least - the French champions would top Group H.
Benfica had other ideas. Far less lethargic than their group rivals, their late rally against Maccabi Haifa saw them pip PSG to the post.