Ibrahimovic returns to haunt Chelsea as PSG advance

Friday, 11 March 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}



REUTERS: Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the winner as Paris St Germain beat Chelsea 2-1 to knock them out of the Champions League for the second successive season at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

PSG’s victory after their 2-1 first-leg win in Paris put Laurent Blanc’s team into the last eight for the fourth successive season 4-2 on aggregate.

A composed display built on superb passing outclassed the English champions and confirmed the runaway Ligue 1 leaders as one of the favourites to win this season’s premier European club competition.

PSG went ahead in the 16th minute when Angel Di Maria found Ibrahimovic, sent off when the sides clashed at the same stage a year ago, wide on the right.

The 34-year-old Swedish striker’s cross eluded the defence for Adrian Rabiot to tap in, giving Thibaut Courtois no chance.

But Chelsea, without injured skipper John Terry at the back, recovered with neat moves of their own and equalised with a superbly constructed goal when Diego Costa checked past Thiago Silva to fire wide of Kevin Trapp after 27 minutes. The hosts, however, lost their cutting edge when Costa went off injured and Ibrahimovic turned in Di Maria’s cross from close range after 67 minutes, meaning Chelsea needed to score three times to win the tie. “It was a difficult game for us but we never change our philosophy, we try to play with the ball and create gaps to score,” PSG’s former Chelsea defender David Luiz told BT Sport. “It was a collective victory. Everyone knows how hard it is to play here. We kept calm and we scored at key moments.”

Chelsea’s interim manager Guus Hiddink bemoaned the gulf in quality between the sides.

“You saw the difference between the squads when we had to bring young guys on and they have Edinson Cavani to come in,” the Dutchman said.

“We gave too much respect in the first 10 minutes, they were dominating. They are a good side but once we stepped up we had some chances.”

PSG, who have only lost twice in 44 matches in all competitions this season and are set to win the French League for the fourth successive year, took an early grip on the game with Ibrahimovic linking superbly with Di Maria and Lucas.

They deserved their opening goal, but Chelsea, who have improved after a poor start to the season, began to impose themselves with Willian central to most of their best moves and Costa a constant threat.

Costa went off with a calf injury and the visitors wrapped up the match and the tie through Ibrahimovic’s goal.

Chelsea, languishing 10th in the domestic standings, now have the FA Cup as their only hope of a trophy this season as PSG eye bigger prizes.