As Zlatan Ibrahimovic got on the end of an Angel Di Maria cross and rifled his shot into the top of the net, you could feel the optimism slowly drain from the Chelsea fans as it was all but inevitable the Blues would exit the Champions League at the same stage to the same opponents for the second year running. After Adrien Rabiot opened the scoring, Diego Costa levelled and provided the fans with false hope. It now leaves the FA Cup on Saturday as Chelsea’s only chance of salvaging their season.
Guus Hiddink displayed the intent that Chelsea fans were craving when he announced his starting XI, with the more attacking Kenedy preferred to Baba at left back, and Matic sacrificed for Fabregas, allowing Pedro to come in for Oscar.
PSG had one change from the lineup that won 2-1 in Paris, with Adrien Rabiot coming in for Marco Verrati. With Chelsea knowing a 1-0 win would take them through, they started on the front foot, with Diego Costa twisting and turning in the box, before a left footed strike was kept out by Kevin Trapp.
However, PSG have undeniable quality, and this was evident when Di Maria latched onto a through ball and beat Courtois, only to be denied by Branislav Ivanovic on the line. The referee, Felix Brych had a questionable opening 15 minutes, with it being obvious to everyone but him that several players, most notably Blaise Matuidi, should’ve went in the book. Shortly after PSG hit Chelsea with a killer blow.
Ibrahimovic beat the offside trap, before putting a ball into the corridor of uncertainty between the Goalkeeper and Defence, as Rabiot slid in front of Azpilcueta and gave the Parisiens the lead. However, the Blues showed resilience, levelling the scores on the night after some good work from Pedro and Willian, Diego Costa turned Thiago Silva in the box, before putting the ball past Kevin Trapp, 1-1. Chelsea continued to press, with Fabregas and Costa coming close with efforts, but the teams went in level at Half Time.
Chelsea needed two goals to progress and one to take it to extra time. After the way the Blues finished the First Half there was renewed optimism amongst the Blues fans that a comeback was on the cards. This was shown when Willian got behind the Paris defence, but shots from Diego Costa and Cesar Azplicueta were both blocked.
PSG were still threatening however, drawing fouls before Ibrahimovic got behind the Chelsea defence but was denied by Courtois. There was a huge blow for the Blues when Costa pulled up with a calf injury, being replaced by Traore.
And then a massive 2 minutes in the game were about to take place. After working some room, Willian stung the palms of Trapp, and as the rebound fell to the anonymous Hazard, it was no surprise to see his effort not hit the back of the net, with the shot going straight at Trapp. And the Blues were made to pay for these misses.
Angel Di Maria got lucky with a pass that wasn’t intended for his team mate, but a stunning ball from Rabiot found Di Maria again, who put a similar ball as to that of Ibrahimovic’s in the first half, into the corridior of uncertainty, and was met by the Swede, smashing the ball into the roof of the net. Game Over. With the sting taken out of the game by the Ibrahimovic goal, the last 20 minutes of the game were almost played in auto-pilot by both teams. Over the two legs, it would be fair to say that, although the effort was valiant from the Blues, they were beaten by the better side for the second year running.
‘I am disappointed, when you analyse the game we started too respectfully in the first 10 or 15 minutes, but they are a team who know the short possession game very well and you must be careful not to be outplayed in the first part of the match.” He added, ‘We were too respectful but later on, at 1-0 down, we lost that wrong respect and we tried to defend more forcefully, we won duels and we got a deserved equaliser.
Total Shots: 15-10
On Target: 7-5
Off Target: 3-1
Possession: 37% – 63%
Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Kenedy, Mikel, Fabregas, Willian, Hazard (Oscar, 77), Pedro, Costa (Traore, 60)
Unused Subs: Begovic, Baba, Loftus-Cheek, Matic, Remy
PSG: Trapp, Marquinhos, Silva, Luiz, Maxwell, Rabiot, Motta, Matuidi (Van Der Wiel, 87), Di Maria (Cavani, 82), Ibrahimovic, Lucas (Pastore, 77)
Unused Subs: Sirigu, Kurzawa, Stambouli, Augustiin