Paris Saint-Germain ended their away-day blues in Europe with a more than comfortable 2-0 win away to Dinamo Zagreb.
Goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jeremy Menez in the first half were enough to end a 10-game winless streak away from home in European competition and consolidate second place in Group A.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti made a couple of changes to the team that beat Stade de Reims at the weekend. In came Javier Pastore in place of Nene, who will be out for several weeks with a fractured cheekbone; Marco Verratti who was suspended at the weekend also returned in the midfield trio alongside France’s in-vogue midfielder Blaise Matuidi, and Mathieu Bodmer who had recovered from his injury. Striker Kevin Gameiro dropped to the bench as Menez supported Ibra up top.
In front of a densely populated Stadion Maksimir, Les Parisiens controlled proceedings right from the get go. The presence of Ibrahimovic was too much to handle for the Zagreb backline and they failed to cope with him. He had the first real opportunity of the match as Verratti found him with a beautifully timed ball for the Swede to get in behind the defence but he fired straight at goalkeeper Ivan Kelara.
The hosts were over-reliant on the counter-attack and although they did look dangerous at times, it certainly was not enough. They sat back and allowed PSG to come at them and it worked in the favour of the Ligue 1 leaders. The interplay between Menez and Ibra was bamboozling them constantly.
It was the two of them who combined for the opening goal just after the half-hour mark. The Swedish international picked out Menez down the left who ushered into the box before pulling the ball back for the striker to sweep home with his right foot.
Not too long after, Menez got a goal for himself. A counter-attack orchestrated by Pastore allowed Menez to ease down the left and as he received the ball from El Flaco, he came onto his left foot and fired straight through the legs of the goalkeeper.
From then on in the game was more or less over. After the interval the visitors bossed possession as they did in the first-half – accumulating 65% and racking up 286 passes.
It took until the 86th minute for Sirigu to finally make a save – demonstrating the gulf in class between both teams.
Guillaume Hoarau came on as a late substitute and thought he had scored only for his effort to be chalked off by the referee who thought he pushed Sime Vrsalijko in the back for leverage.
PSG will come up against much sterner tests in this group but what an incentive they have to earn back-to-back wins when Zagreb come to the Parc des Princes in two weeks time. With Porto beating Dynamo Kiev 3-2, they keep their three point lead at the top but as long as the Parisiens can keep within touching distance they have every chance, not only to qualify, but to win the group.