Paris Saint-Germain FC 4-0 GNK Dinamo Zagreb
A vintage performance from Zlatan Ibrahimović helped take PSG to the brink of the knockout phase and eliminated the Croatian title holders.
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A vintage performance from Zlatan Ibrahimović helped take Paris Saint-Germain FC to the brink of the knockout stage as they knocked out GNK Dinamo Zagreb in fine style.
The gifted Sweden forward may not have added to his tally of 30 UEFA Champions League strikes but he set up all four goals. Having crossed for Alex's first-half opener, Ibrahimović laid on further strikes for Blaise Matuidi, Jérémy Ménez and Guillaume Hoarau to seal PSG's third Group A win and condemn the Croatian champions to their tenth straight group-stage loss.
Three days after suffering their first home reverse under Carlo Ancelotti, against AS Saint-Étienne, the Ligue 1 leaders produced a fine response. It was nevertheless Ante Čačić’s charges, beaten 2-0 on home soil a fortnight ago, who created the first chance, Josip Pivarić firing a cross-shot narrowly wide.
Dinamo had triumphed just once in eight attempts on French soil and their hopes of improving that record took a blow when Alex scored on 16 minutes. The visitors were still getting organised when Ibrahimović took a corner short and, after picking up a return pass from Ezequiel Lavezzi, the front man crossed for Alex to sweep home right-footed.
Buoyed by the Brazilian's second goal in this season's competition, PSG began to sparkle, especially when Adrien Rabiot was involved. The 17-year-old midfielder was full of deft touches and clever movement on his European debut, almost capping a smart move with a goal when he blazed Mohamed Sissoko's cutback over.
Dinamo resisted until half-time, thanks partly to goalkeeper Ivan Kelava's point-blank save from Thiago Silva's header, yet the goals PSG had been promising duly arrived after the break. Ibrahimović had already thundered a volley wide when he set up the second on 61 minutes, sliding a delightful pass that allowed Matuidi to side-foot in first time.
Ibrahimović was now at his irresistible best, tormenting the away ranks with his every touch and completing a hat-trick of assists four minutes later, switching play to Ménez who jinked past his marker before steering in a low shot. Never one to settle for the ordinary, the former AC Milan striker teed up a fourth on 80 minutes, scooping a pass back to substitute Hoarau from a prone position having lost his footing with only Kelava to beat.
PSG will reach the last 16 if they avoid defeat at FC Dynamo Kyiv on 21 November, when Dinamo look for their first point at home to FC Porto as they attempt to salvage a UEFA Europa League berth.