Chelsea 1-2 PSG (2-4 agg): Zlatan Ibrahimovic helps knock Blues out
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 10/03/16 12:59pm
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored one and set up another as Paris Saint-Germain beat Chelsea 2-1 (4-2 on aggregate) to knock the Blues out of the Champions League for the second year running on Wednesday night.
Adrien Rabiot swept home the striker's cross to put PSG on their way to the quarter-finals after 16 minutes at Stamford Bridge, before Diego Costa gave Chelsea hope with a fine finish before half-time.
Willian and Eden Hazard forced PSG goalkeeper Kevin Trapp into a double save after the break as Chelsea pushed for the goal that would send the tie to extra time, but Ibrahimovic volleyed home Angel Di Maria's low delivery to book the Ligue 1 side's place in the next round.
The visitors were on top for large periods as they controlled more than 60 per cent possession, and there was more bad news for the hosts as Costa and Hazard both limped off in the second half and are injury doubts for Chelsea's FA Cup quarter-final against Everton on Saturday.
Elimination means the Blues, who sit 10th in the Premier League and 10 points behind fourth-place Manchester City with nine games remaining, now face the prospect of no Champions League football next season.
With a slender one-goal advantage from the first-leg in Paris, Laurent Blanc recalled five players from their goalless draw against Montpellier last weekend, including Ibrahimovic, and the striker had the ball in the net after just seven minutes.
A fast start from the Parisians caught Chelsea cold as Di Maria first went close, before Ibrahimovic was correctly ruled offside after latching on to Thiago Motta's header and slotting past Thibaut Courtois.
But they didn't have to wait long to extend their aggregate lead as Rabiot held off the challenge of Cesar Azpilicueta to slide home Ibrahimovic's pass.
Blanc's side were in control as they looked to put the tie beyond their opponents but were pegged back against the run of play by Costa's low finish just before the half-hour mark.
Chelsea's high pressing was causing PSG problems and when Pedro robbed Motta, Willian was in. The Brazilian picked out Costa, who turned Thiago Silva before firing low past Trapp to score for the fifth consecutive match at Stamford Bridge.
The Premier League side ended the first-half on the front foot as Hazard and Costa drew saves from the PSG goalkeeper, and Di Maria, Motta and Lucas Moura were each guilty of surrendering possession in dangerous areas as Chelsea squeezed the space.
The Blues were dealt a blow after the interval when Costa was forced off with what appeared to be a muscular injury, but Trapp was still called into action to deny Willian and Hazard in quick succession as Chelsea looked to keep their hopes of progression alive.
However, they were all but ended on 67 minutes when Ibrahimovic turned home Di Maria's inch-perfect cross from close range for PSG's 100th goal of the season in all competitions.
The strike meant Chelsea needed three goals to go through, but that never looked likely and with 15 minutes to play Hazard pulled up, capping a difficult evening for Guus Hiddink's side, who are now left with the FA Cup as their only shot at silverware this season.
As for PSG, they will wait to see who joins them in the last eight of the Champions League after they became the fourth team to earn their spot, joining Real Madrid, Benfica and Wolfsburg.