Layvin Kurzawa enjoyed stealing the headlines from Neymar and co as he walked away with the match ball after scoring a second-half hat-trick in Paris Saint-Germain’s 5-0 Champions League demolition of Anderlecht on Tuesday.
Kurzawa, a left-back, scored three times in the space of 26 minutes after the break at the Parc des Princes as PSG ran away with the game following first-half strikes from Marco Verratti and Neymar.
A fourth big victory in as many games in the competition, coupled with Bayern Munich’s 2-1 win away to Celtic, allowed the big-spending French giants to secure qualification from Group B with two games still to play.
“This hat-trick gives me a huge amount of pleasure. It’s the first hat-trick of my professional career. We’re all enjoying ourselves on the pitch and we’re giving our supporters lots of joy as well,” said Kurzawa after the game.
The 25-year-old French international full-back had scored just once this season coming into the match and had never found the net in the Champions League proper prior to Tuesday’s match.
And the former Monaco player is just the second PSG player to score a hat-trick in the competition, following Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who netted four times in a game against Anderlecht in 2013.
“Everyone can be happy tonight — we’ve won 5-0 and played really well in front of our fans. We need to continue like this,” Kurzawa told beIN Sports.
“The hat-trick is thanks to my teammates. I am delighted and the goals will give me confidence.”
Apart from the rarity of a defender scoring three times in a game, PSG fans packed into the Parc des Princes could also enjoy a rare goal from Verratti and a less rare effort from Neymar.
The world’s most expensive player scored in stunning fashion just before half-time and now has 11 goals in 12 appearances for the French club since arriving from Barcelona.
– ‘Simply the best’ –
PSG have scored 17 goals and conceded none in the competition so far and are through to the knockout rounds for the sixth season running as they aim to erase the memory of their humiliating defeat to Barcelona in the last 16 last season.
But they are just three points clear of Bayern so are yet to secure first place with a home game against Celtic and a trip to Munich still to come.
“We are happy. The team kept going for 90 minutes and the supporters also enjoyed themselves, but we know we still have a long way to go,” said coach Unai Emery.
“Our objective in this group is to finish first and we still have work to do against Celtic here and Bayern to get there.”
In stark contrast to PSG, Anderlecht have lost all four group games and have failed to score a goal, with this defeat following a 4-0 loss at home to the French side two weeks ago.
They will go no further in the Champions League and will need an enormous turnaround just to pip Celtic to third place and the Europa League spot.
“If the final were tomorrow I think they would win it,” the Belgian club’s coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck said of PSG.
“Right now they are quite simply the best team in Europe.”-Agence France-Presse