By Niall Clarke
- Paris Saint Germain 2-1 Chelsea
- Ibrahimovic opened proceedings, Mikel equalised before half time.
- Cavani scored as a substitute to seal the game for PSG
PARIS, FRANCE- Chelsea will go into the second leg with a one goal deficit after being defeated 2-1 by Paris Saint Germain.
The hosts took the lead through Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s deflected free kick before John Obi Miksel grabbed a crucial away goal for Chelsea. Substitute Edison Cavani sealed a 2-1 victory for the French Champions 12 minutes from time.
It was Chelsea’s first defeat since Guus Hiddink took over the helm from Jose Mourinho, but the crucial away goal scored by Mikel sets up an intriguing second leg at Stamford Bridge.
PSG edge Chelsea
The hosts, full of confidence having been only beaten once all season, started brightly and forced an early save from Thibaut Courtois with a long range effort by Maro Verratti.
PSG controlled the majority of the opening 20 minutes but could not weave any major chances. Chelsea started to grow into the game, and instead it would be the Premier League side who carved out the first real opportunity.
A cross from young full back Baba Rahman met the head of Diego Costa but the Spaniard could only find the glove of Kevin Trapp who tipped the ball onto the crossbar. The game keeled into an even affair for the next 20 minutes but it was the home side that found the breakthrough.
Mikel cynically brought down Lucas Moura a few yards outside of the area as the Brazilian ran at the Chelsea defence. Ibrahimovic stepped up to blast the free kick into the back of the net with the help of Mikel who deflected the ball past a helpless Courtois.
Up against it, Chelsea pushed forward to try find an equaliser and a crucial away goal. Five minutes later the Nigerian went from zero to hero as he blasted the ball into the net off Willian’s corner. Costa’s flick proving to be vital as it fell on Mikel’s lap who in turn scored only his sixth goal for the club. It was literally the last kick of the first half- a good first half for the Premier League club.
It was all to play for in the second half and it started very openly. Just minutes after the break Costa was presented with another fine chance but was once again denied by Trapp in the PSG goal. Courtois was forced into action just minutes later with a save from Angel Di Maria’s long range and another to deny Ibrahimovic.
PSG ramped up the pressure and the Chelsea goalkeeper was forced into another good save by Lucas’ effort. Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic crucially blocked Blaise Matuidi’s effort just minutes later as the hosts continued knocking on the door.
Chelsea looked to hit their opponents on the counter and substitute Oscar was presented with a half chance with 14 minutes to go but couldn’t not provide the vital touch. However PSG came down the other end, and just minutes after coming on as a substitute Cavani slotted the ball underneath Courtois after Di Maria’s ball over the top.
PSG came close to adding a third but Ibrahimovic was once again denied by Courtois. Pedro came close to equalising at the death but could only find the side netting on the half volley.
Despite having some big names missing, including captain John Terry, Chelsea put in a good performance against one of the best sides in European football. They were resilient despite the onslaught and picked up an away goal which could prove crucial in three weeks time.
Arsenal will meet Barcelona in the first leg of their round of 16 tie in a week’s time.
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