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PSG and Chelsea face a close Last-16 CL 2nd round tie

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: PARIS ST GERMAIN 2-1 FC CHELSEA

The UEFA Champions League Last-16 first leg clash between PSG and Chelsea kicked-off at Parc des Princes at 7.45pm GMT. Chelsea lost to titan French club Paris-Saint-Germain in the Blues first defeat since interim manager Guus Hiddink took over earning a 12 game unbeaten streak after Portuguese Jose Mourinho was fired in November.

Laurent Blanc's PSG side showed superior strength and class, however the Blues are still very much in contention to win in the second leg. The first leg of the Last 16 Champions League tie ended with PSG winning 2-1; the second leg will be contested at Stamford Bridge on March 9th.

Top flight French Ligue 1 leaders PSG are in first place, unbeaten after 26 league games this season leading second-placed Monaco by 24 points. PSG’s superstar striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, opened the scoring with a lucky deflected free-kick. PSG captain Ibrahimovic curled his free-kick just wide of Thibaut Courtois' right-hand post after the hard hit ball hit Mikel, who had taken his eye off it wrong-footing Courtois and putting PSG ahead. An embarrased Mikel later earned his first-half redemption with a rare goal that gave Chelsea a massive foothold in the game.

Chelsea’s John Mikel Obi scored a well deserved equalizer from six yards just before the break in injury time. After Obi’s goal, Guus Hiddink’s Chelsea side were poised to return home with a very creditable draw. The amazing runaway French Ligue 1 leaders PSG with four draws their only setbacks in 26 domestic matches to date, were facing the unlikely prospect of a draw at home against 12th place England Premier League side, Chelsea who spiraled down the EPL ladder earlier this season apparently due to a dressing-room mutiny that forced the sacking of “chosen one” Jose Mourinho.

After an intense spell of pressure by both clubs in the second half, Edison Cavani came off the bench and scored in only four minutes as Cavani’s ball slid through Thibaut Courtois' legs to regain the lead for PSG. Cavani’s coming into the game kept PSG’s energy high. In the 78th minute, Cavani and Angel Di Maria combined to ensure that PSG travel to London with high hopes of staying in the European title race. Twenty-nine year old Uruguay striker and “super-sub” Cavani came off the bench to score the winner in the 78th minute, steering home former Man Utd star Angel di Maria's pass, giving Paris St-Germain a 2-1 lead going into the second leg.

It is interesting to note that the super sub taking the win away from Chelsea, Edinson Cavani, cost £55million - the most expensive signing in the history of French Ligue 1 football. Cavani no longer gets to start every game. However in seven Champions League games against the Blues, Cavani has three goals and made two assists for PSG, so he may start the match in the second leg. The Parisians will travel to play against the Blues with a slender advantage in their UEFA Champions League last-16 second leg clash that takes place at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, March 9 at 7.45pm.

A 1-0 victory for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on March 9 would see them through. A win not be easy against PSG goalie Kevin Trapp and their titan offense whose front three players have more goals total than the entire Chelsea side put together this campaign. PSG's German outstanding goalkeeper Kevin Trapp made a tremendous save when he tipped Diego Costa's header up onto the crossbar.

Chelsea goalie Courtois was exceptional against PSG until beaten by Cavani, The players who were stopped from scoring by Courtois include Di Maria; Ibrahimovic; Maxwell; Lucas; and Di Maria’s free-kick. Benfica defeated Zenit 1-0 in the night's other UEFA Champions League tie.

SQUADS

Paris Saint-Germain: Trapp, Marquinhos, Silva, Luiz, Maxwell, Verratti (Rabiot), Motta, Matuidi (Pastore), Lucas (Cavani), Di Maria, Ibrahimovic
Subs not used: Sirigu, Stambouli, Kurzawa, Van der Wiel
Booked: Ibrahimovic, Luiz, Lucas.
Goals: Ibrahimovic 39, Cavani 78.
Manager: Laurent Blanc

FC Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Baba Rahman, Fabregas, Mikel, Pedro, Willian, Hazard (Oscar), Diego Costa
Subs not used: Begovic, Traore, Kenedy, Remy, Miazga, Loftus-Cheek.
Booked: Mikel, Pedro.
Goal: Mikel 45.
Manager: Guus Hiddink
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo

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