Chelsea hangs on for draw at PSG

Published Tuesday, February 17, 2015 3:45 PM by Shane Barrow

The champions League is back after the long winter layoff.  Time for the knockout round of 16 and today we got a good one as Jose Mourinho and his Chelsea boys hopped across the channel to face Paris St Germain. Who would influence the day?  The self proclaimed greatest player in history Zlatan Ibrahimovic or the workman Diego Costa?  PSG have been knocked out on away goals in the last two Champions League campaigns.  They would be looking for a good result on home soil.

The match started as cagey as you would expect from an opening leg.  Chelsea confident and patient on the ball.  Never allowing themselves to get too stretched.  PSG simple as well not even daring to give up the dreaded away goal.

The first flurry came from the home side in the 11th minute as Courtois was called into action twice. The first was a nice save on a powerful header from Blaise Matuidi which he pushed aside.  The second an easier save on a Ibrahimovic header into the ground.  More of that please.

Chelsea were content to sit at midfield and invite PSG to come beat their eleven.  No surprise at all from Mourinho in the opening half of an opening leg.  How much patience would Paris show?  Push too hard and face the lethal counter of Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas.

Chelsea bossed possession the next ten minutes. Pushing PSG into their own half.  Finally they were able to break out on a counter and earn a corner kick.  Lavezzi curled in a nice near post ball that Cavani met on the run and headed at frame.  Courtois was ready though leaping to palm it out for another corner.

In the 36th the PSG defense fell asleep and it was three Chelsea defenders up for a free kick that mad them pay.  John Terry on the cross.  Gary Cahill on the flick and Ivanovic with the header.  A most unlikely connection for sure.  Big trouble in Paris as a nine year, thirty two match European unbeaten streak was in danger.   1-0 to the break.

Paris St Germain regrouped in the locker room and came out flying in the second half.  Within ten minutes they had the match all even.  It was another header from Cavani, but this time Courtois had no answer as Cavani turned the Matuidi cross home.  It was all PSG and Chelsea were hanging on for dear life.  Two glorious chances at he hour mark went unrewarded.  Ibrahimovic got in and fired a low left footed sot that Courtois went down and kicked away the rebound fell for Lavezzi who saw his shot blocked by Azpilaqueta.

With ten minutes to play Cavani had the chance to win it as he skipped past Matic with a nifty bit of footwork.  Unfortunately his shot rolled just wide of the back post.  A miss PSG might bemoan if they can't get a result at Stamford Bridge next month.  It became a night of what might have been for PSG after Ibrahimovic saw his stoppage time header turned away by the man of the match Courtois.

In the end, Chelsea got a fine result to take home with them despite being massively outplayed on the night.