Chelsea 1-2 Paris Saint-Germain (2-4 agg): Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal and assist sends Blues crashing out of Champions League

9 Mar

Zlatan Ibrahimovic set up Paris Saint-Germain’s opening goal before netting the winner to knock Chelsea out of the Champions League with a 2-1 win on the night.


The Ligue 1 side advance to the last eight of the competition with a 4-2 victory over Guus Hiddink’s Blues.

Adrien Rabiot opened the scoring before Diego Costa gave Chelsea hope when he slotted home on 26 minutes.

The home side were the better team as they pressed for a second, before Ibrahimovic converted Angel Di Maria’s pinpoint cross in the second half.

The strike took the wind out of Chelsea’s sails as they headed for the Champions League exit – a competition they are unlikely to play in next season.

The Blues were without captain John Terry, who has not been able to return from a hamstring problem in time to face the Parisians.

Costa (minor tendon), Kenedy (groin), Pedro (hamstring) and Cesc Fabregas (rested) returned to the Blues’ XI after missing the weekend draw with Stoke.

You could sense the importance of this game by the build up at Stamford Bridge, but it was the visitors who started in the ascendency, nearly taking the lead.

Former Manchester United playmaker Angel Di Maria came close as he burst clear on the right-hand side of the box, sliding a shot past Thibaut Courtois and Branislav Ivanovic was tracking back well to make a sliding clearance as the ball trickled towards goal.

The resulting corner saw Ibrahimovic do well to beat Courtois before tapping into the empty net, but the Swedish maverick was in an offside position when he received the ball.

A goal had been coming for Laurent Blanc’s side and it came after 16 minutes. Di Maria played Ibrahimovic through on the right of the box and the 35-year-old had plenty of space to send a low ball across the six-yard box, where Rabiot beat Cesar Azpilicueta to the ball at the far post to tap home from close range.

To take the contest to extra time, Chelsea would need to score twice without conceding another.

They took just 11 minutes to pull one back as Willian and Pedro combined before the ball was slipped through to Costa. The Spain forward entered the box, striding past Thiago Silva and finishing past Kevin Trapp. There will have been an element of smug feeling from Costa, who on Tuesday poked fun at the Chelsea frontman, labelling him a ‘fraud’. 

The Blues were the better side after their goal and going into the interval, which came too soon as they were pressing for a second. Shortly before the half-time whistle Costa’s low shot was heading for the corner but Trapp got a hand to it, palming the ball straight into danger. Maxwell reacted quickest as the Ligue 1 side were holding on.

Costa’s game was over after 60 minutes when took a knock, limping off holding his leg. 20-year-old Bertrand Traore – Saturday’s scorer who has four goals in his last five appearances – was the man to come on in his place.

Courtois did well to come out and prevent Ibrahimovic one-on-one on the left, but the angle was tight for the ex-Barca striker.

Trapp made a double save which appears vital in the overall tie. Willian skipped past a man before unleashing a low shot from 20-yards, but the German shot-stopper dived low to his right. The ball fell in the path of Eden Hazard, but the out of confidence Belgian sent a low rebound into the ground which made it comfortable for the PSG man to save.

Minutes after Trapp’s save, PSG netted the vital goal which effectively booked their place in the next round. They were in possession on the halfway line before upping the ante with a quick burst of play.

Di Maria broke through on the inside-left channel and he sent a brilliant low ball across goal, which Ibrahimovic met at the far post, firing high into the net and ending Chelsea’s European hopes.

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