PSG brought the curtain down on their pre-season preparation with an encouraging 2-2 draw with Benfica in Portugal on Saturday, less than a week before they begin their 2008-09 league campaign away to Monaco. Paul Le Guen was hoping to align three of his four summer signings in the form of Ludovic Giuly, Claude Makelele and Guillaume Hoarau, however all three withdrew from the three-team tournament, organised in the northern city of Guimaraes.

The Paris boss can, however, count on Fabrice Pancrate. After impressing in last week’s match against La Gantoise, the former Sochaux player forced Luisao into a last-gasp tackle (18’). His second attack would prove more successful. Perfectly set-up by Sessegnon, Pancrate’s control was impeccable before lifting the ball over Quim and into the back of the net (0-1, 38’). Brilliant! PSG headed to the half-time break with a deserved one-goal lead.

The second half started with Armand making a crucial intervention to deny the substitute Makukula (53’). The match was really taking off and Pancrate doubled the visitors advantage, finishing off a Rothen cross at the back post (0-2, 58’). With the first whistles starting to echo around the Afonso Henriques Stadium, Makukula reduced the deficit with a long-range effort that gave the fans some hope (1-2, 74’).

The tide had turned and possession and territory was now the property of Benfica. The pressure finally told when Cardozo capitalised on some hesitancy in the Parisian defence to level things up ten minutes from time (2-2, 80’). Mickael Landreau then preserved the draw as he turned Sidnei’s drive onto his left-hand upright.

Just like against Vitoria Guimaraes - 24 hours earlier - PSG got a quality work out before the serious business starts in Ligue 1. While there is still some fine-tuning needed, Paul Le Guen can be well-satisfied by the performance of his players throughout July. A good pre-season is no guarantee of a successful campaign, however the opposite is certainly true. Paris have done everything asked of them ahead of the new season…