Paris Saint-Germain make statement on Champions League return
Paris Saint-Germain returned to the Champions League for the first time in eight years and sent out a warning to Europe’s biggest sides as they ran out resounding 4-1 winners over Dynamo Kiev at Parc des Princes.
All the damage was done in the first half by the home side. Zlatan Ibrahimovic converted a penalty to break the deadlock before debutant defender Thiago Silva made his mark by shooting home from a corner. Alex completed the scoring shortly afterwards from a similar scenario, allowing the hosts to play the second period at walking pace. Miguel Veloso belatedly pulled one back for the guests, but Javier Pastore grabbed a fourth for the hosts in stoppage time.
From the outset Carlo Ancelotti’s side looked enterprising and dangerous, threatening as early as the second minute when Jeremy Menez released Javier Pastore to flick a shot against visiting goalkeeper Maksym Koval.
Although PSG’s early storm seemed to have been weathered, Menez’s trickery in the box induced a rash challenge from Taras Mykhalyk, who caught the attacker’s foot, sending him to the turf. Ibrahimovic was able to step up and create history, slotting his penalty down the middle to become the first player to score for six sides in the Champions League.
Thereafter, the home side simply swept their opponents away, and only heroics from Koval prevented Ibrahimovic completing a hat-trick before the interval. The Swede got in behind the visiting rearguard simply from a terrific pass from the outstanding Marco Verratti, but the goalkeeper positioned himself well to block, and then repelled the follow up from Pastore.
The teenager could not stop his side slumping to a three-goal half-time deficit, let down by a defence that failed to police PSG adequately from corner kicks. Thiago Silva was the first to benefit, showing admirable composure on his debut for les Parisiens to control a loose ball in the box and then slide a shot in off the post.
Alex struck the third shortly afterwards, hammering the ball into the net with a fine volley, although the ball should never have reached him on the penalty spot.
The second half was simply a procession for the hosts, who slowed the tempo of their play noticeably. Dynamo defended more stoutly too, and restricted the hosts to half chances. The first a clip from Ibrahimovic, who was withdrawn shortly afterwards to a standing ovation, and then a skimming Pastore shot that went a whisker wide.
With a handful of minutes remaining, Veloso’s tremendous cross deceived everyone and flew into Salvatore Sirigu’s net, but the shine was added to a very complete performance by Pastore in stoppage time as he squeezed home a low shot that really should have been blocked.
Ancelotti`s side can be delighted with their reintroduction to Europe`s elite, but sterner challenges will follow in the weeks and months to come.
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