MALMO, Sweden — Ángel Di María scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain crushed Malmo 5-0 yesterday and secured a spot in the knockout stage of the Champions League.
Returning to his hometown, Zlatan Ibrahimovic also scored for PSG and enjoyed a standing ovation from the fans of his former club.
“It was a great moment for me and my family. This is where everything started,” Ibrahimovic told Sweden’s TV3 after the game.
Exploiting gaping holes in Malmo’s defence, Adrien Rabiot headed in an early lead and Di María made it 2-0 off the post within the first 15 minutes of the Group A game.
Despite unyielding support from the home crowd, Malmo wasted a penalty and never posed a threat to the vastly superior French club.
Picking up a pass from Blaise Matuidi, Ibrahimovic scored at the start of the second half, beating goalkeeper Johan Wiland from a tight angle. Malmo fans rose to their feet and chanted “super-Zlatan” as he was substituted five minutes before full time.
All hopes of a Malmo comeback died when captain Markus Rosenberg struck the post from the penalty spot in the 61st minute.
Di María headed in his second goal on a cross from Maxwell minutes later and second-half substitute Lucas made it 5-0 when he curled a free kick into the top right corner.
In the other Group A game, Real Madrid, which had already sealed a place in the last 16 of the Champions League, ensured top spot with a remarkable 4-3 win over Shakhtar Donetsk.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored after 18 and 70 minutes while Luka Modric (50) and Dani Carvajal (52) also struck to put the 10-times European champions in complete command on a freezing night in western Ukraine.
The temperature then soared quickly, on the field at least, as Shakhtar netted three times in the closing stages.
Brazilian midfielder Alex Teixeira converted a penalty after 77 minutes before Dentinho chested the ball into the net from a corner.
Teixeira was again on target with an elegant drive in the 88th minute as the hosts gave Real a huge fright.
Real has 13 points from five matches, three ahead of Paris St Germain.
Meanwhile, Juventus went top in Group D and made sure of progressing to the knockout stages with a 1-0 win over Manchester City. Juve moved onto 11 points, two more than already-qualified City, heading into the final group match. It also has a better head-to-head record, having won 2-1 in Manchester.
Mario Mandzukic scored the only goal of an entertaining game in the 18th minute, moments after City should have taken the lead.
Juventus would have qualified even if it had lost, after Borussia Mönchengladbach defeated Sevilla 4-2 to boost its chances of playing in the Europa League.
Atlético Madrid and Benfica both advanced from Group C, while Galatasaray and FC Astana were eliminated. Atlético secured its spot in the round of 16 for the third straight season by beating Galatasaray 2-0 at home, while Benfica advanced with a 2-2 draw at FC Astana.
In Group B, it’s all to play for heading into the final matchday, with Wolfsburg, Manchester United and PSV Eindhoven all in with a chance of qualifying and all still having their destiny in their hands.
Herald staff with AP, Reuters
Source: Buenos Aires Herald