Zlatan Ibrahimovic bagged a brace as Paris St Germain steamrolled their way past Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League to take a 4-0 lead into the second leg.
Leverkusen struggled for inspiration as their opponents dominated possession and saw the tie slip further from their grasp when Emir Spahic needlessly bundled Ezequiel Lavezzi to ground inside the penalty area.
Ibrahimovic, largely anonymous up to this point, stepped up to blast the French giants into a two-goal lead from the spot, before reminding the world of his star quality just moments later when he lashed home an unstoppable drive into the top corner.
A second yellow card for Spahic on the hour dispelled any hope of an unlikely comeback as PSG kept the ball confidently and capped a fine evening’s work when substitute Yohan Cabaye notched his first goal for his new club with a fine finish.
3’ – GOAL: Leverkusen 0-1 PSG. Matuidi latches onto a clipped pass from Verratti, twists inside the penalty area and tucks home inside three minutes!
11’ – CHANCE: Leno gets in a mix up which allows Ibrahimovic a chance to dart in. He must score... No! Blocked by Toprak!
39 – GOAL (PENALTY): Leverkusen 0-2 PSG. Maxwell charges down the left flank before clipping a cute pass towards Matuidi in the centre. But what's this? The referee is pointing to the spot! Ibrahimovic does the rest from 12 yards.
42’ – GOAL: Leverkusen 0-3 PSG. The ball is cleared to the edge of the penalty area where Ibrahimovic lurks. Zlatan fancies this... Wham! Boomed into the top corner. What a strike!
59’ – RED CARD: Not a good night to be a Leverkusen fan as Spahic is dismissed. The defender wasn’t helped by Lucas rolling around theatrically. The hosts are falling to pieces.
66’ – DISALLOWED GOAL: Wollscheid awkwardly turns the ball into his own net but the linesman decides Lavezzi was active and sticks his flag up.
88’ – GOAL: Leverkusen 0-4 PSG. New recruit Cabaye strokes a shot into the top corner from outside the penalty area. Great finish. Is there any point playing the second leg?
Ibrahimovic has now scored 10 goals in his last five Champions League appearances, a run of five matches with at least one goal starting in October 2013. (Infostrada)
Bayer Leverkusen have conceded at least three goals in their last five matches at the Champions League last 16 stage. (Opta)
PSG are now on 12 goals before half-time this Champions League season, four more than any other team. (Infostrada)
Can PSG go all the way to Champions League glory? Imagine what the French giants could achieve if they hit top form? Despite firing three first-half goals which effectively killed the tie, PSG barely broke a sweat and clearly had a lot left in reserve come the full-time whistle. And, in that Zlatan chap, they have a striker capable of firing them into the latter stages of this competition.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Marco Verratti (PSG): The Italian youngster created the opener and was influential in much of PSG’s play. Looks a very bright prospect.
Leverkusen: Leno 6, Hilbert 6, Spahic 4, Toprak 5, Guardado 5, Bender 5, Rolfes 5, Castro 5, Sam 5, Kiessling 5, Son 5… Subs: Reinartz 6, Brandt 6, Wollscheid 5.
PSG: Sirigu 6, van der Wiel 6, Alex 7, Thiago Silva 7, Maxwell 7, Verratti 8, Motta 7, Matuidi 7, L. Moura 7, Ibrahimovic 7, Lavezzi 7… Subs: Pastore 6, Cabaye 7.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
#BAYER 0-4 #PSG Matuidi and Zlatan do the hard work before PSG celebrate like a drunk student - with a Kebab treat at the end of the night.#BAYER 0-4 #PSG Matuidi and Zlatan do the hard work before PSG celebrate like a drunk student - with a Kebab treat at the end of the night.