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Football: Zlatan bags hat-trick as PSG thump HK champs Kitchee 6-2

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a hat-trick in Paris Saint-Germain’s 6-2 win over Hong Kong champions Kitchee ahead of Saturday’s French Super Cup in Beijing. Photo: AFP.

Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a hat-trick in Paris Saint-Germain’s 6-2 friendly win over Hong Kong champions Kitchee ahead of Saturday’s French Super Cup in Beijing. Photo: AFP.

July 29, 2014: Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a popular hat-trick as French champions Paris Saint-Germain kicked off their Asia tour by beating Kitchee 6-2 in an entertaining ‘Meeting of Champions’ in Hong Kong on Tuesday night.


Spanish striker Juan Belencoso headed Kitchee into a shock lead in the fifth minute before PSG responded with goals from young French wingers Hervin Ongenda and Jean-Christophe Bahebeck and an Ibrahimovic double to lead 4-1 at half-time.


Bahebeck, 21, scored again early in the second half before Ibrahimovic completed his hat-trick in the 73rd minute with a towering header, while substitute striker Alex Tayo Akande converted Kitchee’s second in the 90th minute.


Just over a year after three English teams and a rain-soaked pitch took centre stage at the Barclays Asia Trophy, Ibrahimovic and the rest of Laurent Blanc’s star-studded PSG squad were the main attraction at the Hong Kong Stadium, drawing an appreciative crowd of 17,153.


Ibrahimovic enjoyed top billing and the cheers for his name in the pre-match team announcements outweighed those for all the other players combined.


Within four minutes of kick-off, the enormous Swede energised the crowd when he dribbled the ball to the top of the area before flicking it right, where fast-charging Dutch right-back Gregory Van Der Wiel shot over from inside the box.


Kitchee then took a shock lead in the fifth minute. Spanish striker Jordi Tarres ran onto a lofted ball into the left of the area, before holding off veteran centre-back Zoumana Carama and lofting a delicate chip back onto the head of the onrushing Belencoso, who headed powerfully past Italy goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu.


PSG equalised in the 12th minute when left-winger Bahebeck’s first-time square ball across the area was coolly converted by 19-year-old Ongenda at the far post. As the French side started to take control of the game, 20-year-old Brazilian centre-back Marquinhos headed Ongenda’s left-wing corner just past the far post in the 18th minute.


In the 21st minute, Ongenda – having switched flanks with Bahebeck – stung Wang Zhenpeng’s palms with a fierce shot from outside the area, while a minute later Ibrahimovic was inches away from connecting with Van Der Wiel’s right-wing cross.


Ibrahimovic, 32, soon made amends when he controlled a lofted pass into the area on his chest and instead of shooting when one on one, cleverly volleyed a square pass to Bahebeck, who powered home from close range in the 22nd minute.


Ibrahimovic himself got on the scoresheet in the 25th minute when he intercepted an ill-advised short pass from Wang and bundled past the goalkeeper before shooting into an empty net. Two minutes later, Ongenda had a scoring opportunity, but his lame chip floated softly into Wang’s hands.


Ibrahimovic added his second in the 28th minute when he shot home from the edge of the six-yard box from Bahebeck’s square pass, the striker having initially released the young French star down the left wing. Ibrahimovic looked set to score his hat-trick in the 38th minute, but drilled a bouncing ball from the edge of the area just wide of the left post.


In the 44th minute, Kitchee’s Matt Lam raised the crowd’s hopes when he launched a counterattack, but with the crowd roaring in anticipation, the 24-year-old midfielder took it upon himself and disappointingly shot wide from 25 yards.


Guo Jianqiao replaced Wang at half-time and the substitute goalkeeper was called into action within three minutes, doing well to deflect a shot by Bahebeck after he was put through in the area by Argentine midfielder Javier Pastore. In the 52nd minute, Belencoso had a golden opportunity to score after controlling Lam Ka-wai’s brilliant pass into the area, but Sirigu did well to smother his close-range shot.


Bahebeck made it 5-1 in the 58th minute when his low left-foot shot from the left side of the area beat Guo at the near post and deflected in off the upright.


Ibrahimovic gave the lively crowd what they wanted when he completed his hat-trick in the 73rd minute with a classic towering header, the powerful striker leaping and stretching his six-foot five-inch frame to meet a lofted cross by substitute right-back Serge Aurier.


Four minutes later, the Swede enjoyed warm applause when he was substituted. Jean-Kevin Augustin, his replacement, soon made an impact, bursting into the area and shooting just over.


Akande then scored one of the most popular goals of the night when he pressured the PSG defence before converting from a tight angle from the right side of the area in the 90th minute. PSG still went hunting for more and in injury time, substitute Frank-Yves Bambock blasted over after Bahebeck teed him up on the edge of the area following a rapid counterattack.


The French side next face Guingamp for the French Super Cup in Beijing on Saturday. Brazil centre-backs David Luiz and Thiago Silva, and France internationals Yohan Cabaye and Blaise Matuidi – who all played in the recent World Cup – are among PSG players missing the tour.


Kitchee 2 (Juan Belencoso 5’; Alexander Tayo Akande 90’)

Paris Saint-Germain 6 (Hervin Ongenda 12’; Jean-Christophe Bahebeck 22’, 58’; Zlatan Ibrahimovic 25’, 28’, 73’)

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