PSG’s late punch floors Chelsea

Chelsea 2 Paris St Germain 2 3-3 on aggregate, PSG win on away goals

Chelsea crashed out of the Champions League after a dramatic night at Stamford Bridge, losing on away goals at the end of 120 pulsating minutes which saw a red card for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the 10 men of Paris St Germain coming back to equalise twice.

Jose Mourinho’s side were ahead twice, but pegged back twice, with David Luiz taking the game into extra time with a late equaliser for Gary Cahill’s opening goal.

And although Eden Hazard put Chelsea back in the lead from the penalty spot in extra time, Thiago Silva scored a late header to take the French side through to the quarter-finals and leave Chelsea with only the Premier League title to contest.

It was an amazing in west London, in a game packed full of incident and controversy.

The tone was set 24 hours earlier, when Jose Mourinho tried his now familiar ‘mind games’ on referee Bjorn Kuipers, telling the Dutchman, via the media, that PSG were the dirtiest team Chelsea had encountered this season.

With goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois also complaining publicly about the number of fouls committed on Hazard, the message coming out of the Chelsea camp was clear — protect our players.

Yet Chelsea gave as good as they got in a fast and furious opening period, that was high on adrenaline but low on goalmouth incident.

Thiago Motta clattered Cesc Fabregas but escaped without a card, Luiz went down claiming he’d been elbowed by Costa, and was soon making gestures to suggest retribution would follow.

Luiz then took out his former team-mate Hazard, with no free-kick given, before it all kicked off in the 31st minute. Ibrahimovic was going for an overhit return pass when Oscar nipped in to intercept and was caught by the sliding Swede. Although his studs were not raised, the referee considered it a reckless challenge, with his feet off the floor, and Ibrahimovic was shown a straight red card. An ugly fracas followed, during which Edison Cavani and John Terry squared up, with the Uruguayan claiming an injustice.

And the dust had hardly settled on that dust-up when Luiz made good his promise to get back at Costa, smashing an elbow into the Chelsea forward’s face in an off-the-ball incident.

Again referee Kuipers saw no need for punishment, and the temperature went up another notch. Two minutes later, a jinking run into the area by Costa was ended by the outstretched leg of Cavani, but no penalty was awarded.

In between all the mayhem, a game of football was threatening to break out, although for all the thunder, fury and high-octane movement, there were precious few attempts on goal in the first half.

It was three minutes into the second half before either goalkeeper needed to make a meaningful save, with PSG’s Salvatore Sirigu scrambling across to his near post to keep out a low free-kick from Willian, who replaced the booked Oscar at half-time.

Maxwell then threatened the Chelsea goal with a deflected shot, before Cavani missed a golden opportunity to put the French side ahead, in the 57th minute. The Uruguayan ran through with only Courtois to beat and took the ball round the Belgian keeper but went wide on the left and his shot cannoned off the near post. PSG’s late punch floors Chelsea

Still, the 10 men of Paris went forward with more purpose — and threat — than their hosts. Blaise Matuidi cut in from the left and lined up a shot that Cahill did well to stop with a sliding block.

Then Javier Pastore worked his way through on the left, had his shot stopped by Courtois, and when Cavani returned the ball to the Argentine, his shot was high and wide of goal.

Again the game threatened to get out of control. Costa went in late on Thiago Silva as the Brazilian cleared his lines and Luiz squared up to the Chelsea striker. Both were booked. Marco Verratti became the seventh player to be booked for catching Hazard with his studs, and Cavani broke through, only to be flagged offside.

But then, with 10 minutes of normal time remaining, Cahill scored the goal that looked to have won the game. Ramires had brought a good save from Sirigu at the near post after exchanging passes with Willian. When the ensuing corner was floated in, the French defence failed to clear, Costa sliced a shot, but the ball fell invitingly for Cahill to thunder a half-volley into the net from 15 yards and send the home supporters into raptures.

But still PSG would not lie down. Ezequiel Lavezzi went on as substitute and his first touch was a free header that went straight into the arms of a grateful Courtois.

And then came the moment that took the game into extra time. Paris St Germain won a corner on the right, and when the ball was floated in, Luiz lost his marker Branislav Ivanovic to power a header past Courtois.

The Brazilian celebrated wildly, Chelsea players looked crestfallen and the sides played out the remaining five minutes with no further clear chances.

Five minutes into extra time, Hazard thought he had settled the tie. Thiago Silva stuck an arm in the air as he challenged Kurt Zouma for a high ball, referee Kuipers pointed to the spot and Hazard calmly put the ball past Sirigu.

Still Laurent Blanc’s men would not capitulate. Luiz fired in a 30-yard dipping free-kick that Courtois did well to tip over the bar, and the Belgian keeper did even better to keep out a powerful header from Thiago Silva in the 111th minute.

And from the ensuing corner, PSG’s Brazilian captain rose unchallenged to send a looping header over Courtois — and through to the last eight.

Chelsea v Paris Saint-Germain — The moments that mattered

31 minutes – Zlatan sees red

A frenetic opening period devoid of clear-cut chances meandered towards half time when a mistimed Zlatan Ibrahimovic challenge changed the game’s entire complexion.

The Swede and Oscar lunged for a loose ball with the Brazilian coming off worst but reacting like he had taken a bullet to the leg.

Irate Chelsea players immediately surrounded Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers and one harsh red card later saw Zlatan trudge off disconsolately.

81 minutes – Cahill scores

A Cavani strike hits an upright Thiago Motta’s perfectly weighted pass released him in behind a Chelsea back four caught cold.

Chelsea conjured up a goal from a set-piece shortly afterwards when Gary Cahill took advantage of slack Parisian defending to wallop home a superb half-volley.

85 minutes – Luiz headers sends the tie to extra-time

The Premier League club appeared set for victory until David Luiz’s late intervention levelled a breathless encounter. The Brazilian international defender thundered a header in off the crossbar before racing off to celebrate with delirious PSG supporters.

The goal was no more than the French side deserved following a gutsy second half showing, overcoming their numerical disadvantage to deservedly take the tie to extra-time.

97 minutes – Hazard scores penalty spot

Thiago Silva’s incredulous decision to commit a needless handball whilst challenging Didier Drogba in the penalty area handed Chelsea a golden opportunity. Eden Hazard took responsibility for the kick and coolly sent Salvatore Sirigu the wrong way.

114 minutes – Silva wins it late on

Silva makes up for penalty error by heading home a corner five minutes from the end to send PSG through to the Champions League quarter-finals.

— Ger McCarthy CHELSEA 4-2-3-1 Courtois 8 ; Ivanovic 6, Cahill 6, Terry 6, Azpilicueta 7; Matic 6, Fabregas 7; Ramires 6, Oscar 6, Hazard 8; Costa 6

Chelsea subs: Willian for Oscar 46, Zouma for Matic, Drogba for Ramires 91

PARIS ST GERMAIN: Sirigu 7; Maxwell 7,Thiago Silva 9, Luiz 7, Marquinhos 7 Pastore 8, Verratti 7, Thiago Motta 7, Matuidi 6 Ibrahimovic 5, Cavani 7

PSG subs: Lavezzi for Verratti 81

Ref: Bjorn Kuipers (Netherlands)


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