Paris Saint-Germain FC 2-1 Chelsea FC: Five things we learned from the Champions League game
PSG's short passing and clever movement, made Chelsea sit deep.
New Delhi: Chelsea's 12-match unbeaten run came to an end as manager Guus Hiddink suffered his second loss in his entire two spells at the club. The Blues went down 2-1 against a resolute Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes.
Hitman Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring for the hosts with a ferocious taken free-kick, that took a deflection off John Obi Mikel into the net. In first-half stoppage time, Mikel equalised for Chelsea after neatly placing the ball into the net from a corner.
Substitute Edinson Cavani then won the match for PSG with a superb goal through the legs of goalkeeper Thiabut Courtois from a tight angle. PSG will go into the 2nd leg tie at Stamford bridge with a one-goal advantage. The second leg will be played on March 9.
Here are the five things we learned from this Round of 16 fixture.
PSG's pace hard to handle: The hosts dominated the game right from the start and the pace of their play, blended with short passing and clever movement, made Chelsea sit deep. Lucas Moura looked the liveliest off all, making important runs and linking well with Ibrahimovic and Marco Veratti. Even in the second half, PSG gained control and their swift thinking got them the winner.
Thiabut Courtois excels for Chelsea: The Belgian showed why he is a top-class keeper and kept Chelsea in the game with numerous stupendous saves. He also read the game well to come out off his line and fearlessly challenge for the ball. Courtouis was a busy custodian all through the game and his saves off Angel di Maria and Moura deserves credit. He will be expected to do the same at the Bridge.
Diego Costa, Eden Hazard fail to impress: Diego Costa had the best chance to give Chelsea get something more from the game but missed to score. Costa didn't manage to keep an open header down after a cross from the flanks as Kevin Trapp made a remarkable save with his right hand to somehow parry off the ball. Hazard worked hard and was busy on the left flank but couldn't create any magic spells upfront.
Mikel almost redeems himself: PSG's link of midfield with the attack didn't give any space for Mikel and Cesc Fabregas to operate in the centre of the pitch for most spells of the game. Mikel was a poor shield front of his defence and his foul on Moura led to the free-kick. Zlatan's shot then deflected off Mikel himself and went through. But Mikel has kept Chelsea in the tie with the solitary goal after showing his nerves for a calm finish.
Chelsea's defence gives it all: The make-shift defence comprising Gary Cahill and Branislas Ivanovic saw off most threats apart from one mistake that led to the winner. The duo made good recovery runs and their interceptions and blocks was notable. Blaise Matudi's block being the most vital off them all. Also Cesar Azpilcueta looked strong in the right-back position and read the advancing Maxwell and Di Maria's run effectively.