Ibrahimovic stunner highlights PSG rout

Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:51pm EST
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(Reuters) - Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored with a stunning long-range strike as Paris St Germain sauntered to a 4-0 win at Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday which clearly demonstrated they are among the Champions League favorites.

The volatile Swedish striker, who had converted a penalty three minutes earlier, struck a rising shot into the top corner from 25 meters to cap a performance which included his usual mix of nonchalance, arrogance and breath-taking skill.

Ibrahimovic, who argued constantly with his opponents and appeared to taunt them near the end, was also involved in PSG's other two goals, scored by Blaise Matuidi and substitute Yohan Cabaye as he took his tally in this season's competition to 10.

PSG totally dominated the last-16 first-leg match, playing long periods of delightful possession football with midfield trio Thiago Motta, Marco Verratti and Matuidi also outstanding.

Leverkusen, second in the Bundesliga but with a poor recent European record, were never in the hunt after Matuidi scored in the third minute.

The Germans, beaten 5-0 at home by Manchester United in their final group match, had to wait 36 minutes for their first shot on target and did not produce a genuine opening until 13 minutes from the end.

"We lost heart, we were too nervous," shell-shocked defender Omer Toprak told Sky Sport Deutschland. "They walked all over us. It was a shame for the fans."

The Bundesliga side's misery was extended when defender Emir Spahic was sent off in the 59th minute for a foul on Lucas and they may have been relieved to finish losing by just four goals.

"Tonight, we re-found our collective power, as if it was at the beginning of the season," PSG coach Laurent Blanc told French TV station Canal Plus.   Continued...

Paris St Germain's (L-R) Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Maxwell and Bayer Leverkusen's Stefan Kiessling jump for the ball during their Champions League soccer match in Leverkusen February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski