Layvin Kurzawa hit a second-half hat-trick as Paris Saint-Germain booked their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a dominant 5-0 win over Anderlecht at the Parc des Princes.
Unai Emery’s side have been in imperious form in Group B and have won all four of their games, scoring 17 goals and conceding none.
They now have an unassailable nine-point lead over third-placed Celtic after their 2-1 defeat to Bayern Munich, but will want maximum points from their final two games against those sides to confirm top spot.
Neymar missed a glorious opportunity to open the scoring in the first minute, before Marco Verratti’s first goal of the season after 30 minutes broke the deadlock.
The world’s most expensive player then scored his 11th goal since his move from Barcelona with a fine long-range finish on the stroke of half-time. Kurzawa stole the show in the second half, scoring his first career hat-trick to add a deserved gloss to the scoreline.
The only negative for PSG will be Edinson Cavani’s failure to get on to the scoresheet, which brings his run of scoring in seven consecutive Champions League matches to an end.
PSG started at a blistering pace and should have been ahead inside just 30 seconds. Kylian Mbappe released Neymar behind the visitors’ defence, but the Brazilian’s effort was too close to Frank Boeckx, who was able to block.
The Anderlecht goalkeeper then twice got down well in quick succession to deny Julian Draxler and Mbappe, who both drilled in low shots from almost identical positions on the edge of the penalty area.
It took until the half-hour mark for the hosts to score the goal deserved by their superiority, and it came from an unlikely source.
The impressive Mbappe found Verratti inside the area with an exquisitely disguised pass, the Italian checking back inside his marker before whipping a composed finish into Boeckx’s far corner for just his seventh goal in five years since joining from Pescara.
Dani Alves struck an arching half-volley agonisingly past the upright moments before Neymar doubled PSG’s advantage deep into first-half injury time.
Draxler played a short corner to the 25-year-old, who moved towards a more central position to whip a fierce effort past the flaccid resistance of Boeckx’s outstretched palm.
Neymar started the second half in equally vibrant fashion, crashing a 25-yard free kick against the post, which rebounded kindly to Kurzawa, who hooked home a third into an empty net.
Anderlecht nearly pulled back an unlikely goal just after the hour as Ivan Obradovic unleashed a long-range effort, which fizzed narrowly over Alphonse Areola’s crossbar.
Kurzawa scored his second in the 72nd minute, heading home at the back post from Alves’ cross, and completed a memorable hat-trick six minutes later with a drilled finish to ensure the Parisians’ finish with a scoreline reflective of their dominance.
In other Champions League matches:
Alan Dzagoev came off the bench to help keep CSKA Moscow’s Champions League qualification hopes alive by inspiring the Russian side to a 2-1 comeback win at Basel.
Juventus squandered a chance to reach the last 16 of the Champions League, but Gonzalo Higuain struck late to salvage a valuable 1-1 draw against Sporting CP.
Atletico Madrid are on the brink of an early exit from the Champions League after 10-man Qarabag battled to a 1-1 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Javi Martinez headed Bayern Munich into the knockout stages of the Champions League after Callum McGregor looked to have denied them victory in a dramatic 2-1 win over Celtic.
Former Olympiacos manager Ernesto Valverde endured a frustrating return to Greece as Barcelona’s 100 per cent record in this season’s Champions League came to an end with a 0-0 draw.
Stephan El Shaarawy’s first-half brace set Roma on the way to a resounding 3-0 win over Chelsea that displaced their visitors at the top of Champions League Group C.
Manchester United all but secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Benfica.
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