PARIS (Reuters) – Zlatan Ibrahimovic inspired Paris St Germain to a 3-1 home win against Ajax Amsterdam on Tuesday that leaves them needing a point from their final Champions League game at Barcelona to top Group F.
The French champions, now unbeaten in 20 games in all competitions this season, have 13 points from five matches after Edinson Cavani scored a double and Ibrahimovic found the back of the net with a clever half-volley.
Ajax had briefly levelled through Davy Klaassen, who benefitted from yet another lapse in concentration at the heart of PSG’s defence.
Barcelona are second one point behind after beating APOEL Nicosia 4-0.
Ajax have two points to APOEL’s one, before they face each other in the Netherlands on Dec 10 with a place in the Europa League at stake.
Ibrahimovic was playing in the Champions League for the first time since PSG’s first group game at Ajax and the Sweden forward did not disappoint, creating the first goal before sealing the win when PSG were heading towards a disappointing draw.
That was Ibrahimovic’s first goal since he returned from a heel injury earlier this month after nearly two months on the sidelines.
Gregory van der Wiel was lucky to escape punishment for a harsh tackle on Ajax captain Nicolai Boilesen, who was replaced injured in the 10th minute by Nick Viergever.
PSG went close in the 24th minute after Lavezzi had been perfectly set up on the break by Ibrahimovic, only for the Argentine to shoot straight at Jasper Cillessen when a simple flick would have done the job.
Lavezzi was played in by Ibrahimovic again and this time made the right choice in front of Cillessen, tapping the ball into the path of Cavani who scored into the empty goal.
Ajax dominated possession, but they failed to make the most of it until the 67th minute.
Ricardo Kishna whipped in the perfect cross from the left wing for Klaassen to equalise with a fine diving header after he was left unmarked by Marquinhos and David Luiz.