Dinamo Zagreb 0-2 Paris Saint-Germain: Ibrahimovic and Menez secure Croatian cruise
Zagreb: Paris Saint-Germain were given few problems in dispatching Dinamo Zagreb and take a big step in qualifying from Group A of the UEFA Champions League, recording a 2-0 victory in the Croatian capital.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring with a neat close-range finish, before Jeremy Menez blasted home to leave Les Parisiens in the driving seat just before half-time.
Needing a win to strengthen their chances of making the Champions League knockout stages after suffering defeat against Porto, PSG wasted no time in giving a strong sign of their intentions. With just three minutes on the clock Zlatan Ibrahimovic expertly broke the Dinamo offside trap, but could not put the ball past Ivan Keleva who reacted quickly to keep out the Sweden international. The home side saw little of the ball during the first half, but were solid in defence and always looking to break through Cop and Sammir.
Nevertheless, it was the French club who set the tempo. Playing as a sole forward, Zlatan had several chances to open the scoring early on but was indecisive in front of goal, squandering several decent opportunities. Keleva was also called into action to deny Jeremy Menez, who saw his powerful effort palmed away by the young goalkeeper. Zagreb`s few opportunities to get men forward invariably came from set-pieces, but an accomplished defensive display from the visitors meant Salvatore Sirigu was rarely troubled between the posts.
The break-through for PSG came 10 minutes before the break. Menez did fantastically to beat Ante Puljic wide on the left, and his low cross met Ibrahimovic`s outstretched boot and was diverted into the net, just out of Keleva`s reach. The goal was a turning point, and ushered in a strong spell of domination for Carlo Ancelotti`s charges.
Dinamo were rapidly losing their grip on proceedings, and stared a third consecutive Champions League reverse in the face when Les Parisiens added a second. Christophe Jallet initiated a rapid counter from deep in his own half that went through Javier Pastore; the Argentine then released Menez on the left who burst into the area and smashed his effort through the legs of the hosts` shot-stopper.
Pastore threatened to further extend the lead just after the restart, hitting into the side netting as the away team looked to pick up where they left off after their impressive end to the first period. Dinamo were also probing early on in their attempt to find a way back into proceedings, but both Thiago Silva and Jallet put themselves in the way of danger to thwart the hosts.
The second half developed without too much goalmouth action, PSG seemingly content with their advantage and Dinamo short of ideas on how to penetrate their opponents` stout defensive line. Zlatan, however, was handed another excellent chance to add a third. The former Milan man was put clean through once more, but tried to be too cute in lobbing the ball over Kelava and drifted his effort wide with the goal at his mercy.
The away team then did their best to submit their entry for goal of the season, slick passing between Menez and Jallet playing in Sissokho whose controlled volley flew just wide.
There were to be no more goals for PSG, though they did have the ball in net through Guillaume Hoarau but he was adjudged to have fouled.
In the end, the French team were left to celebrate as they recorded a comfortable victory in a potentially tricky encounter. The club stay in second place with six points from their opening three Champions League encounters, trailing Porto by three but enjoying the same margin over Dinamo Kiev at Group A`s halfway point. Dinamo, meanwhile, stay at the foot of the table having failed to hit the net in any of their matches so far.
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