Guus Hiddink takes comfort from away goal

PSG 2 Chelsea 1: John Obi Mikel scored a vital away goal for Chelsea as Paris St Germain inflicted the first defeat of Guus Hiddink’s second spell in charge at Parc des Princes last night.
Guus Hiddink takes comfort from away goal

Mikel made amends for conceding a free-kick from which Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored to put PSG 1-0 up in the Champions League last-16 first leg.

The striker’s shot deflected off Mikel, who equalised from close range for a rare goal, before substitute Edinson Cavani struck to earn PSG a 2-1 win and end Hiddink’s 11-match unbeaten run.

It was Chelsea’s first loss since the December defeat at Leicester which marked the end of Jose Mourinho’s tenure.

Laurent Blanc’s side have lost once in 33 games this season, while Hiddink has two defeats in 34 games across two spells as Chelsea caretaker boss.

The Dutchman will be reasonably content, though as Mikel’s first Chelsea goal since December 2014 means the Blues have a vital away goal ahead of the March 9 return at Stamford Bridge.

Hiddink said: “The result is negative but on the other hand an away goal is important. It hurt a bit because the team was playing decently against a team with capacity to play. But we are still in the race.

“We were not lethal enough at times but otherwise we can be relatively happy.

“We didn’t moan a lot about the absence of players and the rest got the confidence and did what they were asked. Over two legs, it is important you have the away goal. If we can do it at Stamford Bridge then a defeat doesn’t count so much.”

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic added: “It was a very difficult game. We needed to try to play our game and we tried to score the away goal. They scored which was massive for them, but we kept going. We know we have to do everything to win at home and go through.”

Away goals have separated these sides in the Champions League in each of the last two seasons.

Chelsea might have had theirs sooner had it not been for a fine reflex save from Kevin Trapp.

Trapp stuck out a hand to save a Diego Costa header which had looked destined for the back of the net and ended up hitting the bar.

Chelsea performed well, although Eden Hazard, who chose the eve of the match to reveal it would be difficult to turn down a move to PSG, made a limited impact.

The Belgian playmaker did little to boost any potential transfer fee and was withdrawn 19 minutes from the end.

John Terry missed the trip to Paris and may have to wait for his 700th Chelsea appearance as he is a doubt for Sunday’s FA Cup fifth round tie with Manchester City.

Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic performed admirably in the absence of Terry and Kurt Zouma, who is out for the season with a knee injury.

Baba Rahman came into a reshuffled defence, which survived early pressure before the left-back delivered a cross which the masked Costa met, only for Trapp to somehow turn the ball on to the bar. It felt like a chance Chelsea had to take.

Lucas Moura had impressed early on and almost provided the opener for Ibrahimovic - but the Swede headed the ball into the ground.

Moura burst by three Chelsea players before he was tripped by Mikel, who was booked.

And Ibrahimovic’s free-kick hit the midfielder and wrong-footed Thibaut Courtois.

Six minutes remained until half-time and Chelsea replied when Costa met Willian’s corner ahead of Ibrahimovic, getting enough of a flick-on for the ball to drop for Mikel.

He finished emphatically from six yards for his sixth goal in 358 Chelsea games.

Trapp raced off his line to deny Costa early in the second half before Courtois repelled PSG time and again - only for his defences to eventually be breached for a second time.

First Courtois tipped Angel di Maria’s effort over, then he blocked an Ibrahimovic shot and next he saved from Moura.

Chelsea were defending deep, inviting pressure.

Courtois denied Di Maria from a free-kick before the former Manchester United winger played a fine ball over the top for Cavani, who stayed onside before tucking the ball under the goalkeeper from a tight angle.


Trapp, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Luiz, Maxwell, Verratti (Rabiot 80), Thiago Motta, Matuidi (Pastore 81), Di Maria, Ibrahimovic, Lucas Moura (Cavani 74).


Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Baba, Azpilicueta, Fabregas, Mikel, Pedro, Willian, Costa, Hazard (Oscar 71).


Carlos Velasco Carballo (Madrid).

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