Zlatan Ibrahimović lauded Paris Saint-Germain's "big spirit" after the ten-man hosts secured top spot in Group C by beating an Olympiacos FC team still hopeful of advancing.
Article top media content
Zlatan Ibrahimović underlined Paris Saint-Germain's "big will to win the game" after the French side beat Olympiacos FC 2-1 with ten men to secure qualification as UEFA Champions League Group C winners.
The Sweden striker hit his record-equalling eighth goal of the group stage in his 100th appearance, but it was Edinson Cavani who struck the last-minute winner, Paris having lost Marco Verratti to a 46th-minute red card. Olympiacos will be certain of joining Ibrahimović and Co in the last 16 if they beat RSC Anderlecht at home on 10 December and defender Gaëtan Bong explained that that game "will be a final for us".
Zlatan Ibrahimović, Paris forward
The three points gave us qualification in the group and we're first in the group, so that's good. In our last game we can play in another mode – not under pressure, but still we'll have to play a good game.
I think it was important to win because of the last game we played – 1-1 [against Anderlecht]. People expected us to win easily but we were losing 1-0 and then made it 1-1. This was a good result for us, especially as we played with one less player for almost 45 minutes.
I think we showed a big spirit today, a big will to win the game. We conceded a goal in the second half with one guy less, but in the last minute we scored to make it 2-1. Everybody was fighting and running a lot; you could see that we were tired at the end, but we got the result.
I'm happy. Things are going well. I'm pushing a lot and the team helps me a lot. I try to help them in the best way I can, by scoring goals and creating chances for them to do something as well. It's going well, physically and mentally, and hopefully I can continue.
[On reaching his UEFA Champions League century] The more games, the more bonuses it means. I enjoy playing in the Champions League because all the best teams play in the Champions League and it's a difficult tournament.
Adrien Rabiot, Paris midfielder
It's a good evening. It started well for us in the first half, and then the second was more difficult. But despite the red card, we were able to lift our heads up and dig deep to win the game on a counterattack. We didn't give up, and to win while a man down proves what a good team we are.
At the moment, we're really confident in ourselves. What we're doing on the pitch is incredible. I hope it stays that way for a long time. We're giving pleasure to people and to ourselves as well.
I think this could be a good year for us in the Champions League. Last season we reached the quarter-finals. What we've done so far during the group stage is huge. If we carry on like that, we can go very far. Our goal is to progress a little more each season, so naturally we'd be disappointed to not go further than last season. We have the quality and the squad to go further.
Gaëtan Bong, Olympiacos defender
Looking at the whole game, Paris played well and created chances, but we still could have got a better result. Above all, I'm thinking about our chances in the first half and [Kostas] Mitroglou's one on one with the goalkeeper. Unfortunately, we didn't control the end of the game well. In normal circumstances, we should have taken at least a point. That said, we played some good football tonight. The next game will be a final for us. We absolutely have to win it to qualify.
Vladimír Weiss, Olympiacos midfielder
It's a little bit of a disappointment, but we still have it in our hands and if we win our game at home we'll go through. We did better in the second half, especially after Verratti's red card. We had the game in our hands, we scored a goal and, if you play 11 against 10, you always want to score another one.
It was unlucky for us that we conceded a goal in the last minute, but we have to take everything from this game, forget about it and think about the game against Anderlecht at home. We'll do our best to win that.