Paris Saint-Germain are through to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for the fourth season running. Les Parisiens ran riot versus Malmo with a 5-0 victory on Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return to the club where it all began. The Swedish veteran also got himself on the scoresheet.
Adrien Rabiot’s header, Angel di Maria with a brace and a fabulous freekick by Lucas Moura in the dying embers rubber-stamped a perfect night for the French champions.
Zlatan was given the privilege of leading the team out as captain, which Thiago Silva apparently offered in a fitting gesture for the number 10’s swansong at his former club.
The visitors pretty much sealed the result in the opening 15 minutes. Rabiot – who was terrific once again – made it 1-0 within three minutes. He got a tad lucky initially as he gave the ball away but was able to retrieve it back before slipping though Zlatan who in turn picked out Gregory Van der Wiel to cross and there was Rabiot to get on the end of it. The young Frenchman has matured bucket loads this season and what a contrast to the seasons gone by. He is proving to be a real asset in that midfield when called upon.
It was 2-0 a little over 10 minutes later. Blaise Matuidi down the left cut the ball back for Di Maria to run onto and finish superbly in the bottom corner.
We were in complete control but to be fair, did show some defensive jitters. Perhaps there was an overconfidence from playing the ball out the back and giving the ball away far too cheaply. Malmo certainly had one or two sights on goal.
After the break, Ibra had his moment by curling one home at Johan Wiland’s near post. The keeper was able to get a hand to it but the way Malmo initially gave the ball away with have been the biggest frustration.
Di Maria got a headed goal himself to make it 4-0. He started the move and subsequently finished but what a ball in by Maxwell.
The Swedes then spurned the chance to pull a goal back as Markus Rosenberg missed a penalty by hitting the foot of the post. This all came from some sloppy play at the back by Marquinhos – who had a good game in truth – and poor Max was the man to bring the player down in the penalty area.
Lucas rounded off things nicely by coming off the bench and scoring a peach of a freekick.
The night though really belonged to the King of Sweden, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He also made history be equalling George Weah’s European goal record with 16. Speaking to Canal+ after the game he said; “It was fantastic. I’ve been waiting for this match since the draw. I was overjoyed to come back here. We played well, and I scored a goal. It was good to play in my native city, in front of these fans, who weren’t behind me but who were happy for me. From the first to the last minute, I savoured it. It was incredible! It shows all the love that people have for me here. I’m very happy. I hope that they could make the most of the evening despite the scoreline. We played a serious match. We went out there and went after the points we needed in order to qualify. We’re continuing to grow. The goal is to go and win the Champions League”.