The Telegraph
Thursday , February 20 , 2014
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Zlatan brace in PSG victory

Leverkusen: Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain all but booked their place in the Champions League quarter finals with a 4-0 away rout of 10-man Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday.

Blaise Matuidi got the visitors off to a flying start in the first leg of their round-of-16 tie by scoring in the third minute.

Ibrahimovic made it 2-0 from a penalty in the 39th, after Emir Spahic hauled down Ezequiel Lavezzi, and effectively killed the game three minutes later when he rifled a shot from outside the penalty area inside the top far corner.

Leverkusen had Spahic sent off for a second yellow card in the 59th, and Paris substitute Yohan Cabaye completed the rout in the 88th.

“We had a good game,” said Ibrahimovic, who took his tally in this season’s competition to 10 goals from six games. “We scored early and when you are in the lead it is much easier.”

The result looks almost certain to end Leverkusen’s hopes of reaching the quarter finals for the first time since 2002, with a mountain to climb in the second leg in Paris on March 12.

No team has recovered from 4-0 down in a two-legged Champions League tie.

Leverkusen seemed to be feeling the effect of losing five of their last seven games. The home side looked nervous from the start, perhaps mindful of losing 5-0 to Manchester United in its previous game at home in the competition.

“We played with fear and I really don’t know why,” Leverkusen defender Omer Toprak said.

Leverkusen captain Simon Rolfes lost the ball to Matuidi, who combined with Ibrahimovic and Marco Verratti before tucking the latter’s return pass inside the far post.

“We observed them and saw their (previous) game against Schalke. We knew they were suffering and we didn't want to gift them any confidence,” said Paris coach Laurent Blanc, whose side was unbeaten in its previous seven away games, with five of those ending in victory.