PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 4-0 Dinamo Zagreb
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Paris Saint-Germain put the weekend disappointment behind them with a thumping 4-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb to put them within a point of group leaders FC Porto.
Under the influence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who conjured up four assists and was by far the best player on the pitch, Les Parisiens ran out deserved winners but it was not so plain sailing to begin with.
The good news prior to kick-off was that Ezequiel Lavezzi got his first start in nearly three months after his injury plagued start to life in Paris. He came in for Javier Pastore who was on the bench, supporting Ibra up top with Jeremy Menez on the opposite flank. Young Adrien Rabiot also started, coming in for the injured Clement Chantome as Momo Sissoko replaced Marco Verratti in midfield. Alex also made a welcomed return, partnering Thiago Silva in the centre of defence.
As far as the first-half went, it was a poor showing. We just could not get going in any shape or form. A lot of the play was sloppy and the link-up play was lacklustre. We made Dinamo look a whole lot better than they actually are but to their credit they played some decent stuff. They showed more attacking intent in the first quarter of the game than they did in the entirety of the clash in Zagreb two weeks back.
The opening goal came against the run of play in truth in the 16th minute. Lavezzi and Ibra linked up with the short corner with the Swede diligently sweeping the ball into the box for centre-back Alex to smash home on the volley.
That was as good as it got in the opening 45 minutes. There were no clear cut chances created and the laboured football was greeted with whistles by those in the Parc when the referee blew for half-time – despite the team leading!
Ancelotti worked his magic however, proving again to be a top coach. Verratti was brought on for Sissoko – unclear as yet if it was to do with an injury – and he made a massive difference. His composure and intelligence to link-up with his peers brought stability to the team. Even at 20 years of age his maturity for such a young man rubbed off on the team.
The second goal was a thing of beauty. Thiago Silva played the ball from out the back, spraying it out to Lavezzi who was hugging the left-hand touchline and found Ibra on the edge of the box, subsequently cutting the defence in two with a through ball for Blaise Matuidi to slot in between the goalkeeper’s legs. It really was a stunning move and the third that soon followed was not too bad either.
Again, Lavezzi and Ibra involved. The Argentine on the opposite side this time scampered down the right, squaring the ball for Ibra who rolled the ball to Menez who dropped his shoulder and finished superbly.
Ibra was having one of those nights where everything he touched turned to gold and remarkably got a fourth assist on the night. A lovely one-two with Matuidi allowed him to get into the box and despite falling over he still had the intelligence to poke the ball with his leg for substitute Guillaume Hoarau to sweep into the net.
It was a game of two halves and Ancelotti must have had some stern words with his players at the break to get such a positive reaction. The good news also is that Dynamo Kiev and Porto drew a blank, putting some daylight between ourselves and the Ukrainians whilst putting us within a point with the group leaders. If we get a point in the Ukraine on match-day five, we qualify for the last-16. Fantastic news!