Paris: Edinson Cavani scored twice and Zlatan Ibrahimovic was also on target as Paris Saint-Germain beat Ajax 3-1 at the Parc des Princes in Champions League Group F on Tuesday.
Cavani`s first-half opener was cancelled out by Davy Klaassen midway through the second half as Ajax looked set to leave the French capital with a point, but Ibrahimovic scored his first goal for the club in nearly three months to put the hosts back in front in the 79th minute.
And Cavani then made sure of the victory as PSG moved a step closer to their objective of advancing to the last 16 as group winners, the result allowing them to maintain a one-point lead over Barcelona with a trip to the Camp Nou still to come next month.
Barcelona won 4-0 away to APOEL in Cyprus in the night`s other game, and with both sides already through to the last 16 before this round of matches, the French champions now know that a draw in Spain next month will see them progress in first place.
The statistics make for impressive reading for Laurent Blanc`s side, who have now won eight games in a row in all competitions and remain unbeaten this season, a status shared only with Chelsea in Europe`s leading leagues.
PSG are also now undefeated in 32 European outings at the Parc des Princes, a record that stretches back over eight years, although Ajax could count themselves a little unlucky to return to Amsterdam with nothing to show for their efforts.
“I think we came up against a team that played better football than us but were not that dangerous at the end of the day. The more clinical and dangerous team was PSG,” said Blanc.
The Dutch champions, with only one player aged over 25 in their starting line-up, played the better football for spells but, having already been eliminated before this game, now face a home match with APOEL in two weeks hoping to secure the consolation of a place in the Europa League in the new year.
And coach Frank de Boer, who lost captain Nicolai Boilesen to a serious-looking injury after just 10 minutes, cut a frustrated figure with the way his side defended.
“In the first half we committed too many fouls and made too many elementary mistakes,” he said. “In the second half we deserved our equaliser when it came but the second and third goals (for PSG) were stupid.”It was a PSG side missing Thiago Silva, Thiago Motta, Marco Verratti and Yohan Cabaye that fired the first real warning shot in the 24th minute, Ibrahimovic playing Ezequiel Lavezzi through with just the goalkeeper to beat only for the Argentine to be denied by a fine Jasper Cillessen save.
Only a superb interception by Gregory van der Wiel prevented Arkadiusz Milik from closing in on goal at the other end before Paris broke the deadlock just after the half-hour mark, Ibrahimovic lofting a pass over the Ajax defence for Lavezzi, who squared the ball to Cavani and allowed the Uruguayan to finish into an empty net.
That should have given the hosts a platform from which to build but instead they appeared content to try and see the game out, and were duly punished in the second half.
Tricky teenage winger Ricardo Kishna whipped in a glorious cross from wide on the left and Klaassen stooped to head low into the net past the despairing dive of Salvatore Sirigu.
Lasse Schone then curled a free-kick narrowly over for the away side but it was Paris who struck again 11 minutes from time, Ibrahimovic controlling and volleying past Cillessen from the right-hand side of the box to find the net at the far post.
And as the rain lashed down, a poor back-pass by Niki Zimling allowed Cavani to round Cillessen and make it 3-1 in the 83rd minute as he scored his seventh goal in his last seven games for the club.