Recap: Paris Saint-Germain eliminated Chelsea from the Champions League Round of 16 for the second season running and booked a place in their fourth consecutive quarterfinal after a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge gave them a 4-2 aggregate triumph. The two sides had shared victories in the competition’s knockout phase for the past two seasons in contests that went right to the wire, but with wins both home and away, PSG were comfortable and fully deserved victors at the third time around.
Leading 2-1 from the first leg in Paris, the French champions made an ideal start when Adrien Rabiot turned in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s low cross with 16 minutes on the clock. The goal and the sloppiness of Chelsea’s defending was a reflection of a tentative start from Chelsea in which they appeared happy to bide their time in search of the one goal they needed.
But the slow start and Rabiot’s resulting goal left Chelsea with too much to do to turn the contest around. To the credit of Guus Hiddink’s side they certainly made things interesting for a time. The goal brought fresh intensity from the home side, as they constantly harried PSG in possession. And they got their reward when Thiago Motta conceded possession and Diego Costa finished expertly to level proceedings on the night before the half-time interval.
Chelsea came close to leveling the tie up, too, midway through the second half, but Kevin Trapp’s double save from Willian and Eden Hazard preserved PSG’s advantage. It proved a crucial moment, as just two minutes later Cesar Azpilicueta switched off, allowing Lucas Moura to pick out Ibrahimovic to effectively seal the visitors’ progress.
Victory provides PSG with another chance to crack the Champions League semifinals for the first time since the Qatari takeover of the club in 2011 turned them into a European force. Chelsea, meanwhile, down in 10th place in the Premier League, have to face up to the prospect of a first season without Champions League competition for the first time since Roman Abramovich started to pour millions into their club in 2003.
FULLTIME: Chelsea 1-2 PSG (2-4 Agg.)
For the second season in succession, Paris Saint-Germain get the job done at Stamford Bridge to move onto the Champions League quarterfinals. Adrien Rabiot’s early goal and Chelsea’s tentative start left the home side too much to do. Despite a big improvement after falling behind and an equalizer on the night from Diego Costa, a second-half goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic effectively ended the tie as a contest. Chelsea’s hopes of getting back into the Champions League next season have been effectively dashed, while PSG will now aim to make it beyond the quarterfinals for the first time since the Qatari-backed takeover of the club in 2011 transformed them into a major European force.
87 mins: Matuidi, who has played despite being hampered by a hamstring injury, goes off, to be replaced by Gregory van der Wiel, with Marquinhos moving into midfield.
85 mins: Traore strikes straight at Trapp but the final few minutes are meaningless now. Not only are Chelsea facing up to the reality of their season being effectively down to just the FA Cup with more than two months still remaining, but for the first time since Roman Abramovic took over the club 13 years ago, there will be now Champions League action at Stamford Bridge next season.
82 mins: Di Maria now departs, with Edinson Cavani, the man who gave PSG a crucial first-leg advantage, coming on for the final eight minutes.
80 mins: Ibrahimovic comes close to getting his second goal of the night, but Ivanovic just got to a low cross ahead of the Swede and was relieved that his intervention went straight to Courtois rather than either side of his own goalkeeper.
77 mins: The night continues to get worse for Chelsea. To a smattering of boos from his own supporters, Hazard follows Costa in limping off with an injury. Oscar is his replacement. Meanwhile, Javier Pastore replaces the excellent Lucas Moura for PSG.
74 mins: Di Maria attempts to extend PSG’s lead with a back-heel flick from Ibrahimovic’s cross, but the effort lacked power and Courtois could comfortably saved. The belief, though, understandably, looks to have been sucked out of Chelsea by that Ibrahimovic goal.
73 mins: PSG are now confidently stroking the ball around, safe in the knowledge that it would take a remarkable classic and a stunning Chelsea fight back for them to blow this lead in the closing minutes. A fourth consecutive Champions League quarterfinals is now well within their sights.
Here's Ibrahimovic's goal to put PSG 4-2 up on aggregate:
GOAL! Chelsea 1-2 PSG (Ibrahimovic, 67)
Moments after coming close to leveling the tie, Chelsea suffer what is surely a fatal blow to their chances, falling 4-2 behind on aggregate and leaving them needing to score three more in the final 23 minutes. Again it’s a goal that Chelsea will feel really should have been avoided. This time it was Azpilicueta who went to sleep, allowing Lucas to run in behind him down the left. But full credit must go to the Brazilian for producing a perfect low ball across the six-yard box with his weaker left foot to give Ibrahimovic the straightforward task of tucking it into the roof of the net.
65 mins: Trapp twice comes to the rescue to preserve PSG’s narrow advantage. First Willian cut in dangerously from the left, before unleashing a fierce low drive with his right foot that Trapp did well to get down low and beat away before recovering to block Eden Hazard’s follow-up effort. Nervy moments for the French champions.
62 mins: PSG still have their main striker available and Ibrahimovic really should have done better after being released down the inside left channel, but he allows himself to be forced wide before Courtois helps his tame finish behind for a corner.
59 mins: A big problem for Chelsea as their goalscorer Costa goes down after clutching his hamstring and immeditely hobbles off. His replacement is 20-year-old Bertrand Traore, who made a bright start to his Chelsea career, scoring four goals in his last five appearances.
58 mins: PSG produce their best passing move for some time, with Chelsea dangerously reverting to standing off their opponents, but it ends with Maxwell’s high cross being comfortably gathered by Courtois.
53 mins: John Mikel Obi deservedly earns a yellow card for hacking down Lucas Moura from behind as the Brazilian drove toward the Chelsea penalty area.
49 mins: Chelsea have picked up right where they finished off in the first half. Willian, the pick of Chelsea’s attacking players, launched a superb run down the left flank and pulled back for Costa, but this time the Spain forward’s shot was blocked before the same fate befell an effort from Azpilicueta.
Second Half Kickoff: PSG get the second leg back underway at Stamford Bridge.
HALFTIME: Chelsea 1-1 PSG (2-3 Agg.)
An engrossing first half at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea began tentatively and paid the price when Adrien Rabiot turned in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s low cross to deservedly extend PSG’s aggregate lead. But Chelsea have been ignited by that goal and were on top for the final 20 minutes of the first half. Diego Costa’s composed finish has put Guus Hiddink’s side level on the night and back to just a goal behind on aggregate. But Chelsea have the walk a delicate tightrope in the second half with another goal for PSG leaving the English champions needing to score four on the night.
45+1 mins: Costa fires in a low shot from 25 yards that Trapp failed to hold onto and Marquinhos had to be alert to stop Pedro from feeding onto the rebound.
42 mins: Eden hazard stings the palms of Trapp with a curling effort from 20 yards that was just too close to the PSG goalkeeper. Again the opportunity came from Chelsea’s keenness to press PSG in possession.
39 mins: This is a really enticing European matchup now. Both sides are looking dangerous going forward and there’s a real intensity both on the pitch and in the atmosphere in the stands. Meanwhile, Cesc Fabrgeas has just had an effort for Chelsea that was just always moving away from goal.
34 mins: The scorer of the opening goal, Rabiot, also becomes the first man to earn a booking, seeing yellow for a cynical foul on Costa.
34 mins: Chance for PSG to go back in front. Lucas Moura does really well to get a cross back in from the byline down the right and Ibrahimovic easily gets above Cesar Azpilicueta in the middle, but can only direct his header straight at Courtois.
31 mins: Chelsea really responded to going behind, stepping up their intensity both with and without the ball. PSG now find themselves on the back foot, although they still hold a 3-2 aggregate lead.
Here's Costa's goal:
GOAL! Chelsea 1-1 PSG (Costa, 27)
Chelsea quickly get themselves right back into this tie. The usually reliable Thiago Motta is robbed of the ball by Pedro, before it quickly found its way to Willian. Chelsea’s most lively attacking player so far then poked a pass through for Costa, who turned past Thiago Silva onto his left foot and beat Trapp with a low finish to net just his second Champions League goal in a Chelsea shirt.
Here's Rabiot's goal to put PSG 1-0 up on the night and 3-1 up on aggregate:
22 mins: Chelsea now not only need to step up their attacking intent, but they have be caution against conceding another goal that would leave them needing to get four on the night.
GOAL! Chelsea 0-1 PSG (Rabiot, 16)
PSG make their strong start count and further strengthen their grip on this tie to leave Chelsea needing to score twice. And it was dreadful defending from the home side that took their deficit to 3-1. First Di Maria was allowed far too much time to pick a pass through for Ibrahimovic, who was initially tracked by Gary Cahill but them bizarrely left to run three onto the ball down the right of the box. Ibrahimovic’s low cross then found an unchecked Rabiot to score with a simple tap in at the back post.
14 mins: Ibrahimovic is again denied a chance by the offside flag, this time attempting to get on the end of a mishit short from Di Maria. Thibaut Courtois was equal to the Swede's low shot in any case.
10 mins: After that early stumble, PSG have begun this second leg very well. They’re dominating possession in midfield and the front three of Lucas, Di Maria and Ibrahimovic are looking capable of causing Chelsea’s backline plenty of problems.
6 mins: An opening at the other end for PSG. A jinking run from Lucas Moura is followed by a pass through to Angel di Maria, whose dangerous low ball across the face of goal had to be blocked away by Branislav Ivanovic. From the resulting corner, the ball ends up being put into the net by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but the flag had already gone up for offside.
3 mins: Some overly casual play from Adrien Rabiot inside his own box gifts an early chance to Chelsea. The midfielder’s pass is easily intercepted, and Diego Costa does well to manufacture space for a shot, but Kevin Trapp was able to parry the ball to safety.
KICKOFF! Chelsea get the game underway, trailing 2-1 from the first leg.
2:43 p.m. EST: The two teams are out of the tunnel as the Stamford Bridge crowd attempts to build an atmosphere to inspire their team to victory as they did against the same opponents two years ago. Last year, though, it was PSG who prevailed, with a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge taking them through on away goals.
1:53 p.m. EST: Chelsea hand a first Champions League start to 20-year-old Brazilian Kenedy, who will start at left-back, with Cesar Azpilicueta on the right and Branislav Ivanovic partnering Gary Cahill in the center of defense. Elsewhere, John Mikel Obi again partners Cesc Fabregas in midfield. For PSG, the major team news is that Italian midfielder Marco Verratti has failed to win his fitness battle and is replaced in the starting lineup by Adrien Rabiot. That’s the only change from the first leg for the French champions, with Edinson Cavani, despite scoring the winner in the first leg, again having to settle for a place on the bench.
Team to play PSG: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic (c), Kenedy; Mikel, Fabregas; Pedro, Willian, Hazard; Diego Costa. #CHEPSG
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 9, 2016
— PSG Officiel (@PSG_inside) March 9, 2016
Preview: For the third season running, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain will take to the field at Stamford Bridge for the second leg of a finely poised Champions League knockout tie. Chelsea prevailed in 2014, when overcoming a 3-1 deficit in front of their own fans, but it was the French champions who got revenge a year ago, winning on away goals after extra time following a 1-1 draw in Paris. This time around, PSG will take a narrow 2-1 advantage to London after John Obi Mikel gave Chelsea a precious away goal in Paris three weeks ago in between efforts from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani.
For both clubs, Wednesday’s Round-of-16 second leg is of huge importance. For PSG, it represents another chance to make a major statement on the European stage and secure a further opportunity to break through into the Champions League’s final four. Despite winning three-straight Ligue Un titles, and looking near certainties to make it four in a row, PSG have been knocked out at the quarterfinal stage for the last three years, leaving the club still to fulfill its continental ambitions since the Qatari takeover in 2011.
In Chelsea’s case, meanwhile, the Champions League represents the best chance to salvage a troubled season. Despite going 12 Premier League matches unbeaten since interim manager Guus Hiddink took the reins last December, Chelsea lie down in 10th place in the table. The London club’s only realistic chance of returning to the Champions League next season is to win the competition this campaign. They have achieved exactly that feat before, when lifting the European Cup for the only time in their history, despite finishing outside the Premier League’s top four, in 2012.
If they are to continue in the competition beyond Wednesday, they will have to defeat PSG without captain John Terry. The veteran, along with fellow center-back Kurt Zouma, remains sidelined through injury. Diego Costa, though, is fit, despite missing Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Stoke City. PSG, meanwhile, have doubts over the fitness of midfield duo Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi.
Check back here at 2:45 p.m. EST for live updates and video highlights from Wednesday’s second leg.