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Wins for PSG and Benfica in Europe

Associated Press logo Associated Press 14/02/2017

Two years after being humiliated by Barcelona in the Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain turned the tables on the five-time champions with a relentless display of skill, energy and determination.

Angel Di Maria scored two superb goals and top scorer Edinson Cavani grabbed his 34th of a prolific season, as PSG battered Barcelona 4-0 in the first leg of their round of 16 contest.

January signing Julian Draxler got the other goal as PSG's irrepressible front trio tormented Barca.

"We couldn't have imagined a better night. Winning 4-0 against Barcelona on the day of my birthday is incredible," Di Maria said. "It was the perfect match."

In Lisbon, Benfica defeated Borussia Dortmund 1-0 in their first-leg clash.

Kostas Mitroglou scored the winner in the 48th minute and Benfica goalkeeper Ederson saved a badly-executed penalty from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang three minutes into the second half.

Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel put Aubameyang - who endured a horror night in front of goal - out of his misery by substituting him soon after.

"That's only possible in football, to play this well and to still lose," Tuchel said. "It is an extremely complicated result, but I am very proud of how we played tonight."

A sensational save from Ederson with six minutes remaining maintained Benfica's advantage heading in to the second leg on March 8.

"We fought, gave our best, and victories are also made of that," Benfica coach Rui Vitoria said.

Meanwhile, the emphatic result in Paris sends a clear message that PSG are serious contenders this year - after failing to get past the quarter-finals in the last four seasons.

Di Maria, totally out of form for much of the season, celebrated his 29th birthday in style, rifling in an 18th-minute free kick and then skipping past two weak challenges before curling in a superb second from 25 yards out, 10 minutes after the break.

Continuing his fine form since joining from Wolfsburg last month, Draxler smacked in the second goal late in the first half before Cavani, celebrating his 30th birthday, drilled home the fourth in the 72nd minute.

"We played a great game individually and collectively," PSG coach Unai Emery said.

"But I still have a lot of respect for Barca and 90 minutes is long."

For Luis Enrique, his side showed little response to a PSG side playing with feverish determination and desperate to prove it belongs among Europe's elite after falling at the .

"They were better than us from the start and put us under pressure," Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said.

"We couldn't get out of it. We were obviously inferior."

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