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Paris through but Olympiacos denied

Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Olympiacos FC
Zlatan Ibrahimović marked his 100th competition appearance with a goal as Paris clinched progress as Group C winners but Olympiacos must wait.

Paris through but Olympiacos denied
Paris through but Olympiacos denied ©UEFA.com

Edinson Cavani struck late to earn ten-man Paris Saint-Germain a 2-1 victory against Olympiacos FC and a confirmed top spot in UEFA Champions League Group C, with the Greek side's hopes of joining them in the last 16 put on hold.

Kostas Manolas had finished from close range with ten minutes remaining and, with SL Benfica drawing 2-2 at RSC Anderlecht, Olympiacos appeared set to progress with Paris – a player short after Marco Verratti's dismissal. Instead, Benfica scored again in Brussels and Cavani slotted home to restore a lead that Zlatan Ibrahimović had initially established on seven minutes.

Celebrating his 100th UEFA Champions League appearance, Ibrahimović found the net for the eighth time in the competition this term, equalling the group-stage best already matched this season by Cristiano Ronaldo. The Sweden forward stabbed the ball high into the net from Gregory van der Wiel's right-wing cross.

Salvatore Sirigu plunged low to keep out a Kostas Mitroglou volley as the in-form 25-year-old attempted a quick retort, but the traffic was soon returning in the opposite direction again. Comfortably zipping passes from player to player, the hosts were making regular inroads, even if it brought them few obvious rewards. Indeed, the next real chance fell to Mitroglou, who was denied a second time by Sirigu.

It was a warning, and Cavani looked to heed it as half-time approached, sending Roberto sprawling to his right to parry a fierce shot across goal. For all their possession, though, Paris still held the slenderest of advantages at the break, and their grip on the game looked even looser when Verratti's contribution was cut short within a minute of the restart.

Laurent Blanc's reaction was to send on Adrien Rabiot for Ezequiel Lavezzi. Ibrahimović's, meanwhile, was to thunder a free-kick at goal from 25 metres which Roberto batted over. The No10 then blazed over the bar as Les Rouge et Bleu switched to counterattacking mode, with Rabiot himself taking aim from the edge of the area and drawing a fine sprawling stop from Roberto.

Olympiacos could not be silenced all night, however, and they levelled when Manolas pounced on a loose ball following a corner, Sirigu having saved on his line from substitute Alejandro Domínguez. The visitors' joy was clear, but the tenor of their evening was about to change in a hurry, Cavani racing onto Marquinhos's pass to ensure a triumphant climax to Paris's qualification. Olympiacos remain second on head-to-head record above Benfica.