French Cup: Ibrahimovic lifts PSG to 3-0 win at Montpellier
MONTPELLIER, France (AP) — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored one goal and created another to take Paris Saint-Germain past Montpellier into the round of 32 of the French Cup on Monday.
The Sweden international was instrumental as PSG struggled to string passes together on a very poor pitch before securing a 3-0 win in the last half hour.
Clement Chantome put PSG ahead in the 63rd minute with a tap-in from Ibrahimovic’s clever cut-back pass in the box. Montpellier dominated the first half but ran out of gas after the interval and Ibrahimovic headed the ball in from close range from Javier Pastore’s cross to extend PSG’s lead.
Brazilian forward Lucas Moura completed the French champions’ victory in added time with a powerful and precise low shot at the far post.
“It was very difficult to play our game on such a difficult surface, but we carried on as a team,” Lucas said. “We ran a lot, worked hard, and it paid off.”
In its first official match since the winter break, PSG fielded a depleted team. Laurent Blanc’s side was hampered by the absences of Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi, who were left out for a breach of discipline, while goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu and Thiago Motta were sidelined by injuries.
PSG did not create a single chance before the 58th minute, when Adrien Rabiot’s shot from the edge of the box forced Montpellier keeper Jonathan Ligali to a save. Chantome headed inches wide from the resulting corner minutes before giving PSG the lead.
PSG will next take on Bordeaux in one of the four all-topflight matches of the next round. Fourth-division side Grenoble, which upsets Ligue 1 leader Marseille with a 5-4 win on penalties, will travel to third-tier club Boulogne.