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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

PSG

PSG ease into quarters where big guns await

PSG eased past Bayer Leverkusen into the quarter finals of the Champions League on Wednesday after winning 2-1 on the night and 6-1 on aggregate. Laurent Blanc's team can expect a tougher tie in the next round where giants like Bayern Munich and Barcelona await.

PSG ease into quarters where big guns await
Marquinhos celebrates with Zlatan Ibrahimovic after scoring for PSG against Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Paris Saint-Germain advanced safely into the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday, beating Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 at the Parc des Princes in their last 16, second leg to take the tie 6-1 on aggregate.

Trailing 4-0 from the first leg in Germany three weeks ago, the Bundesliga club took an early lead on the night through Sidney Sam, but Marquinhos equalised soon after.

Leverkusen captain Simon Rolfes had a penalty saved before Ezequiel Lavezzi put PSG in front eight minutes into the second period, and the sending-off of Emre Can saw the visitors bow out with 10 men.

"We prepared well for this match but were mediocre at the start," bemoaned PSG coach Laurent Blanc.

"But paradoxically the Bayer goal woke us up a bit too. PSG were clearly not brilliant tonight. I expected more, but the essential is there, we are through."

Meanwhile, Leverkusen coach Sami Hyypia had praise for his team despite seeing them lose for the sixth time in their last seven matches.

"I'm feeling a bit sorry for the team that we didn't get anything from the game," he said.

"The starting point was difficult after losing 4-0 at home but we can take a lot of confidence for the future."

No team had ever been eliminated from a European knock-out tie after winning 4-0 away in the first leg and Blanc made the most of his side's comfortable cushion by rotating his squad, as Thiago Motta and Alex dropped to the bench.

Blaise Matuidi was rested altogether to avoid the risk of incurring a suspension for the next round.

It was still a strong PSG line-up, with Edinson Cavani starting for the first time in over a month after injury but, perhaps understandably, there was an air of complacency about the hosts early on, and Leverkusen took full advantage.

A low long-range strike by Can that was pushed around the post by Salvatore Sirigu served as a warning to the Ligue 1 leaders, although it was not heeded, and the visitors opened the scoring in the sixth minute.

A lovely move started by Rolfes on the left saw Gonzalo Castro spread the play to Giulio Donati on the right flank, and the Italian's cross was headed home by Sam at the back post

If that raised hopes among the boisterous travelling support that their team could pull off the most improbable of comebacks, then those hopes were short-lived, as the equaliser on the night came just seven minutes later.

After Bernd Leno saved from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Yohan Cabaye's resulting corner from the right was met by a thumping Marquinhos header that the German keeper could only help on its way into the net.

Ibrahimovic denied by bar

It was the young Brazilian defender's third goal in this season's Champions League and the hosts almost went on to take the lead shortly after but Ibrahimovic clipped his shot against the crossbar after a Cavani pass left him with just the keeper to beat.

Leverkusen's recent form had increased the pressure on Hyypia, but they played some nice football in the first period and were handed the opportunity to retake the lead in the 28th minute.

When Christophe Jallet pulled back Eren Derdiyok inside the area, Croatian referee Ivan Bebek did not hesitate in pointing to the spot, and yet Rolfes saw his effort from 12 yards kept out as Sirigu made a great save diving low to his left.

Leno saved from Cavani at the other end shortly before the interval and PSG then took the lead eight minutes into the second period as Lucas Digne's low ball from the left was fired low into the net by Lavezzi, for whom it was a fifth goal in his last six games.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men when Can was shown a second yellow card for diving midway through the second half, but they were spared greater punishment in the closing stages.

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MONSANTO

French police to probe alleged Monsanto lists on opinion-makers

France has opened a preliminary enquiry into allegations that US pesticides maker Monsanto had information illegally collected on the views and pliability of hundreds of high-profile figures and media outlets.

French police to probe alleged Monsanto lists on opinion-makers
Activists from the 'Attac' protest group scale the offices of Bayer -which recently acquired Monsanto- in La Garenne Colombes near the financial district of La Defence on the outskirts of Paris. Photo
Paris judicial police will carry out the probe following a complaint by the daily Le Monde and one of its journalists, whose names appear on the list, the Paris prosecutor's office said.
 
Two anti-pesticide NGOs — Foodwatch and Generations Futures — are also preparing to lodge legal complaints over the alleged lists.
 
The investigators will look into the possible “collection of personal information by fraudulent, unfair or illicit means”.
   
US giant Monsanto allegedly had public relations agency FleishmanHillard draw up the files on the opinions of the targeted people and media bodies on the controversial weedkiller glyphosate and on genetically modified crops as 
well as their propensity to be influenced in their opinions.
 
 
Figuring on the list are politicians, scientists and journalists — including four from AFP (Agence France-Presse). Information was collected on their views on pesticides and on Monsanto as well as their leisure pursuits, addresses and phone numbers, according to the France 2 public television channel.
   
Some of the names were listed under categories such as “priority targets” and “potential allies to recruit”, according to reports.
   
France's former environment minister Segolene Royal, whose name was said to appear on the lists, said the allegation “says a lot about the methods of lobbyists… they carry out spying, infiltration, seek to influence, sometimes financially I imagine”, adding that other companies are likely to indulge in similar practices.
   
A spokesman for FleishmanHillard told AFP: “FleishmanHillard and our staff are committed to compliance with applicable laws and we are committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct. 
   
“We continue to take that responsibility very seriously and will carefully examine the questions raised by certain media outlets about the lists of stakeholders that included publicly available information.”
   
Glyphosate developer Monsanto was convicted in the United States in 2018 and 2019 of not taking necessary steps to warn of the potential risks of Roundup — their weedkiller containing the chemical, which two California juries found caused cancer in two users.
   
German pharmaceutical firm Bayer, which bought Monsanto last year, announced last month that over 13,000 lawsuits related to the weedkiller have been launched in the US. 
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