Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani scored as Paris Saint-Germain took a 2-1 advantage over Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash on Tuesday night.
John Obi Mikel cancelled out Ibrahimovic’s opener, but the second half belonged to PSG, who will go back to Stamford Bridge with a slim advantage after Cavani’s deserved winner.
The result ended Guus Hiddink’s 11-match unbeaten run in charge as Chelsea lost for the first time since the December defeat at Leicester which marked the end of Jose Mourinho’s tenure.
PSG dominated the early possession, but it was Chelsea who had the first real chance as Diego Costa saw his unmarked header tipped onto the bar by PSG keeper Kevin Trapp in the 23rd minute. Costa’s opportunity sparked Chelsea into a greater share of possession, but their work was undone after Mikel brought down Lucas Moura five yards outside of the box.
Ibrahimovic’s resulting free kick deflected off Mikel at the end of the Chelsea wall and past a wrong-footed Willian to give PSG a 1-0 lead in the 39th minute.
But Chelsea found a lifeline just before the break as Mikel made up for his earlier mistake by firing the ball in following a Willian corner to level the score at 1-1 with his sixth goal in 358 Chelsea games.
In the second half, Costa forced Trapp to come off his line, but after that PSG were the superior side. Lucas tested Courtois with a low shot, and then Ibrahimovic’s shot from six yards was blocked by Branislav Ivanovic. Courtois again came to Chelsea’s rescue by denying Angel Di Maria from a free kick in the 67th minute.
But the Chelsea keeper was eventually beaten in the 78th minute when substitute, Cavani raced onto the end of a looped Di Maria pass and slotted through Courtois’ legs from a tight angle.
The Return Leg
D’s PSG have lost once in 33 games this season, while Hiddink has two defeats in 34 games from his two spells as Chelsea caretaker boss.
Chelsea’s away goal may be crucial ahead of the March 9 return leg, as away goals have separated these sides in the Champions League in each of the last two seasons.
Leave A Comment