Paris Saint-Germain have one foot in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals after overwhelming Bayer 04 Leverkusen 4-0 in Germany.
Blaise Matuidi's early opener signalled another miserable evening for the hosts against one of Europe's big boys, and before the interval two more goals from Zlatan Ibrahimović – the first a penalty – effectively wrapped up the round of 16 first-leg win. It got worse for Leverkusen as Emir Spahić received a second caution before the hour, and though they did well to repel Paris's advances, substitute Yohan Cabaye broke through again with the end in sight.
It salted wounds not yet healed following Manchester United FC's 5-0 triumph here in the group stage. Home captain Simon Rolfes insisted that would never happen again, but it was the experienced 32-year-old who was too easily robbed of the ball for the demoralising opening goal. Marco Verratti's through ball then found Matuidi, marauding forward, and he calmly slotted in Paris's 100th goal in this competition.
Sidney Sam briefly threatened, yet Paris were dominating possession. While Leverkusen were willing opponents, pressing for a way into the game, the visitors oozed class, refusing to budge off the ball. On the rare occasions when the Bundesliga outfit did find themselves in promising positions, their passing was too sloppy. Verratti stood out in an indomitable midfield, winning the ball as tidily as he distributed it.
With the first half nearing a close, Spahić tussled with Ezequiel Lavezzi in the area and Ibrahimović coolly converted from the spot. The spectre of the Manchester United defeat loomed even more menacingly three minutes later. Matuidi found Ibrahimović just outside the box and the Sweden striker speared a fine first-time shot into the net in trademark style. It was the 32-year-old's tenth goal this term in the UEFA Champions League, a title that has thus far eluded him.
Home coach Sami Hyypiä decided to twist, introducing Stefan Reinartz and the lively Julian Brandt, 17 and on his UEFA Champions League debut, at the break. There was initial promise for Leverkusen, but Paris were still well in control – even more so when Spahić was shown a second yellow just before the hour. Against ten men, Paris might have won even more handsomely but they were rebuffed until Cabaye found the net following a neat combination two minutes from time.
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