• Paris secure third consecutive berth in last 16 with two games to spare.
• Edinson Cavani scores Paris's fastest ever UEFA Champions League goal.
• The Uruguay forward hits post as well in frenetic first half
• APOEL go out as Barcelona also seal qualification in Group F
• Next games: Paris v Ajax, APOEL v Barcelona (25 November)
Edinson Cavani found the net with less than a minute played as Paris Saint-Germain saw off APOEL FC 1-0 to book their place in the UEFA Champions League knockout stage with two games to spare.
Needing victory to advance allied with a positive result for FC Barcelona against AFC Ajax, Paris wasted no time in fulfilling their side of the bargain. With Barcelona also triumphant, the two section favourites wrapped up the qualifying spots in Group F. APOEL must now make up a one-point gap to Ajax for a UEFA Europa League berth.
Laurent Blanc had spoken of wanting an early goal and Cavani duly delivered with the club's fastest-ever UEFA Champions League strike on 56 seconds. Flicking the ball up behind him from Gregory van der Wiel's low cross, the Uruguay forward turned with grace and volleyed in with power, despite the forlorn efforts of goalkeeper Urko Pardo.
That breakthrough gave Paris the ideal platform, yet they nearly conceded moments later when the ball dropped to Nuno Morais directly in front of goal. With Salvatore Sirigu grounded after parrying Vinicius's header from a corner, the Portuguese midfielder somehow blasted over.
Mightily relieved, the home team began applying pressure again, making plenty of headway down the right up against teenage competition debutant Nicholas Ioannou. Indeed, it was down that channel that Lucas accelerated clear to whip in a fine cross for Cavani, which the striker nodded back across goal – and against a post. A direct and lively presence, Lucas then tested Pardo with a pair of vicious low attempts.
The Brazilian forward was soon back making trouble after the interval, skipping past challenges with brio as the French champions sought to end the suspense with a second goal. For his part, Cavani fired wide on more than occasion and also headed off target, but the intensity was dropping from Paris's play as their opponents looked decreasingly likely to threaten.
APOEL travelled to France having never prevailed away from home in the competition, and they never appeared close to breaking their duck as Blanc's players shuffled the ball around and time ticked down. Tougher tests lie ahead, but for now Paris can pride themselves on sewing up a third consecutive berth in the knockout phase, their European ambitions still well and truly on track.