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Sports

Leverkusen overwhelmed as Barca claim away win

Ibra and out - Bayer Leverkusen's Champions League dream was scuttled after a 4-0 loss to star-studded Paris Saint-Germain, with a certain Swedish striker among the goals. Elsewhere, Barcelona beat Manchester City 2-0.

In the first leg of the Round of 16 tie, Leverkusen were outclassed, outplayed and just about out everything-ed against reigning France champions PSG, who took the lead in just the third minute through Blaise Matuidi. He started and finished a move also involving Italian midfielder Marco Verratti and Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The latter then took over.

There are few clubs in the world with riches comparable to Paris Saint-Germain, and there is only one with Ibrahimovic.

He scored PSG's second goal, from the penalty spot on 39 minutes after Emir Spahic was adjudged to have pulled down Ezequiel Lavezzi. There was perhaps a little conjecture to the foul, but Ibrahimovic did not mind and stroked his spot kick effortlessly past Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

There was no doubting the quality of his second. Matuidi - with his back to goal - received the ball inside the area after 41 minutes and laid it back to an unmarked Ibrahimovic.

He took one touch before blasting his left-footed shot beyond Leno, putting the exclamation mark on a half in which PSG snapped up constant Leverkusen errors to dominate possession.

Game over. The tie itself appeared to almost certainly over, too, shortly before the final whistle, when Yohan Cabaye completed a superbly worked PSG move with a concise finish. It was the only real incident of note in an otherwise unmemorable second half, although Spahic's sending off for a second yellow card hardly helped the hosts' cause.

Leverkusen's sole reason to cheer was in the half-time arrival of Julian Brandt. On to save the legs of Heung-Min Son for Bundesliga duty, 17-year-old Brandt showed plenty of enthusiasm - and a neat trick or two - even with the game well lost.

Champions League Manchester City vs. Barcelona

Demichelis' dismissal proved a turning point.

Showing the gulf between the two clubs, Brandt represented the major January transfer window arrival for Leverkusen. Midfielder Cabaye - like Brandt, a second-half substitute - was a 23 million euro-arrival in the same window.

City also slump

Manchester City had their own home defeat, with Barcelona taking a 2-0 win back to Spain for the second leg. The game changed in the 54th minute when Martin Demichelis brought Barcelona star Lionel Messi down as he advanced on goal. City defender Demichelis was duly sent off as the last man, with Messi scoring the penalty despite initial contact appearing outside the box.

Dani Alves' late goal makes it hard for City in the second leg which, like Leverkusen's trip to Paris, will be held on March 12.

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