PARIS (Reuters) - Zlatan Ibrahimovic set up all four goals as Paris St Germain thrashed Dinamo Zagreb 4-0 on Tuesday to knock the Croatians out of the Champions League.
The Sweden striker, playing in a deeper position than usual, laid on goals for Alex, Blaise Matuidi, Jeremy Menez and Guillaume Hoarau as second-placed PSG took their points haul to nine from four matches in Group A, one behind leaders Porto.
“He (Ibrahimovic) uses his abilities to help the others and that is why he is a fantastic player,” PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti told reporters.
“That’s the difference between a great player and a champion. He is a champion, he is a fantastic leader.”
PSG were below their best in a dull first half but they turned on the style in the second period to outclass their opponents.
Dinamo are bottom of the table with zero points, four behind Dynamo Kiev who drew 0-0 with Porto on Tuesday.
Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi, who had been out for a month with a groin injury, started the game and produced some eye-catching early tricks for PSG.
Dinamo went close when Josip Pivaric’s low cross-shot whizzed just wide.
The home side took the lead with their first real chance as defender Alex volleyed in a low centre from Ibrahimovic in the 16th minute.
Thiago Silva almost made it 2-0 in the 40th minute when the Brazil defender’s point-blank header was saved by keeper Ivan Kelava.
Seventeen-year-old Adrien Rabiot, a product of the youth academy, shone for PSG in the first half.
His fellow midfielder Mohamed Sissoko was replaced at halftime by Marco Verratti after the former Liverpool player had picked up an injury.
“Rabiot had a great game and Verratti did well after the break,” said Ancelotti.
Ibrahimovic delighted the crowd early in the second half when he produced a kung fu-style volley that went just wide.
The Swede then provided a perfect 61st-minute pass for Matuidi to poke the ball home.
Four minutes later the towering Ibrahimovic found Menez in the box and the France winger toyed with a couple of defenders before slotting the ball past Kelava.
Ibrahimovic seemed set to score himself from one attack but slipped after bursting into the box.
He recovered his composure, though, and slipped the ball into the path of second-half substitute Hoarau who scored the fourth goal from close range with 10 minutes left.
”The best thing after such a rout is just to have a good night’s sleep,“ said Dinamo coach Ante Cacic. ”We lacked focus at the back but we are a very young side.
“Ibrahimovic sees things that others don‘t. We’re not the last team who will struggle to contain him.” (Editing by Tony Jimenez)