Paris Saint-Germain had taunted Costa in the build-up, with their Twitter feed labelling him a “fraud” and their manager Laurent Blanc suggesting he was a wind-up merchant.
In response, for 61 minutes, Costa was at his snarling, horrible best, dragging Chelsea back into the tie with a superb equaliser after Adrien Rabiot had extended PSG’s aggegate lead.
But when he limped off injured, the game was up for Guus Hiddink’s side and who else but Ibrahimovic would steal his thunder?
The Sweden star, 34, laughed off talk he was past it before the game, saying: “I’m only warming up!” – and his 67th goal effectively ended the contest.
Chelsea were looking to reach a fourth quarter final in six years but they hadn’t kept a clean sheet in seven games and their makeshift defence ultimately failed them again.
Trailing so far behind the top four as they are in the Premier League, this could be the last we see of Chelsea in the Champions League for some time.
What that means for the likes of Eden Hazard next season is anybody’s guess. But no-one looked more gutted than John Terry, nursing a hamstring injury in the stands.
Terry loves these big European nights. But with no sign of a new contract on the horizon, he may never see their like at Stamford Bridge again.
Costa, just back from a tendon injury, certainly looked fired up to start the biggest game of Chelsea’s season.
Willian fed him the ball in a dangerous area after PSG failed to clear their lines and Costa turned David Luiz inside out before forcing a diving save from Kevin Trapp.
But the home side had a lucky escape moments later when Angel Di Maria beat Thibaut Courtois after good work from Lucas and Branislav Ivanovic cleared his shot off the line.