Dinamo Zagreb 0-2 PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Jeremy Menez
Paris Saint-Germain finally got that monkey off their back, earning their first European away win in 10 attempts against Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb.
First half goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jeremy Menez were more than enough in a comfortable nights work for the French club.
Javier Pastore came back into the side after sitting out the win over Reims at the weekend. Mathieu Bodmer – as expected – came into the midfield trio with Blaise Matuidi and a fresh Marco Verratti following his suspension as Menez complemented Zlatan up top.
Right from the get go, Les Parisiens looked the better of the two sides. In front of a sparsely populated Stadion Maksimir, the men in white dictated the play for the vast majority of the opening 45-minutes without ever really breaking a sweat. Dinamo were relying on counter-attacking football but without penetrating our defence, making it an easy nights work for Salvatore Sirigu. Their star man Sammir showed snippets of what he could do – but not enough.
Verratti’s return was there for all to see and he certainly influenced things as per. PSG’s first chance came from his ball for Zlatan who eluded the defence but fired straight at goalkeeper Ivan Kelara. The little Italian then got booked for an awful challenge that had him walking a tightrope for the rest of the game but it did not deter his performance which was composed.
PSG were strolling at times and finally made the breakthrough via Ibrahimovic in the 32nd minute. His link-up with Menez was there to see once again and he played the Frenchman inside the box who ushered in before pulling the ball back for the Swede to sweep home with his right foot.
Then 10 minutes later it was the number seven who found the back of the net. Pastore on the counter-attack fed in the Parisien who bore in on goal down the left and fired through the legs of the goalkeeper to put some daylight between both teams.
Ibra then nearly bagged a brace on the stroke of half-time with a vicious free-kick from 25-yards out that almost took Keleva’s hands clean off.
We were so dominant in the first-half, accumulating 286 passes in total, with 65% of the possession. At the interval, Zoumana Camara was brought on for Alex. Unsure if this was just a normal like for like change or if the Brazilian had picked up a knock.
We continued in the same vein in the second-half, bossing the possession, creating openings and without really exerting ourselves. Sirigu had a very quiet night, not having to make a save until the 86th minute would you believe.
Ibra had numerous chances to get a hat-trick but was unable to take them. He missed a glaring opportunity as he tried to dink the keeper whilst one on one when perhaps he was better off going around him. He also tried an audacious acrobatic effort when he had so much space in the penalty area. Regardless, he was superb and everything in an attacking sense came through him.
Substitute Guillaume Hoarau had a goal disallowed two minutes from time for what the referee deemed a push in the back as he headed home. It looked harsh in truth but it was not to matter.
It is a win that consolidates second-place with six points, as FC Porto beat Dynamo Kiev 3-2 at home to move onto nine.