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PSG's Ibrahimovic lives up to billing and gives Chelsea a master class

chelsea 1-2 Paris St Germain (PSG won 4-2 on aggregate)

By Mark Ogden

Zlatan Ibrahimovic signalled the end of the road for Chelsea with a Champions League masterclass at Stamford Bridge on a night when injuries to Diego Costa and Eden Hazard threatened to have ramifications beyond this one-sided tie.

Ibrahimovic, the 34-year-old forward who may yet be tempted to the Premier League this summer, created the opener for Adrien Rabiot and scored the decisive second as PSG eliminated Chelsea at the last-16 stage for a second successive season.

But while the Swede was majestic, Chelsea's star players were scythed down by injury, with Costa and Hazard limping off in the second-half, now doubtful for the FA Cup quarter-final at Everton on Saturday.

Defeat at Goodison Park, following this ultimately comprehensive 4-2 aggregate loss, would bring the curtain down on Chelsea's season.

Since defeating the Blues at Parc des Princes three weeks ago, PSG have suffered a wobble, with Laurent Blanc's team going into this second leg having collected just one point from their last two league games.

Blanc, though, did not field his strongest XI in the defeat at Lyon or the home draw against Montpellier.

Guus Hiddink enjoyed no such luxury and was once again forced to do without injured captain John Terry.

The Premier League champions certainly began brightly, with Costa forcing the first save of the game from Kevin Trapp on three minutes when his drag-back preceded a left-foot shot from 20 yards.

It was an early example of Costa's desire to make a difference but while he looked sharp, PSG's front three of Ibrahimovic, Angel di Maria and Lucas Moura were like wasps buzzing around.

Moura, who rejected Manchester United in 2012 to sign for PSG, was allowed to run across the Chelsea 18-yard box before teeing up Di Maria early on, but the winger's right-foot shot was blocked.

Di Maria then saw a left-foot effort blocked by Gary Cahill before top quality play between the Argentinian and Ibrahimovic opened up the Chelsea rearguard to enable Rabiot to score the opener on 16 minutes.

It was a sublime pass by Di Maria to Ibrahimovic, but the Swede was given too much room by Cahill and was able to run into space before delivering a perfect ball for Rabiot to guide home.

It was a deserved opener for PSG, whose control of possession was impressive against Chelsea's more frantic approach, but the home side were able to draw level on 27 minutes when Costa scored following careless play by Di Maria.

The Argentinian, still the British record signing following his disastrous £59.7m move to United, was dispossessed by Pedro before the ball dropped to Willian. Spotting Costa's run, Willian released the forward, who turned Thiago Silva before scoring with a low strike.

Costa was a constant menace and the Spain forward almost created a second in first-half stoppage time when his shot was fumbled, only for Pedro to fail to convert.

Despite claiming a foothold, the threat of a PSG away goal hung over Chelsea at the start of the second-half.

Hiddink's men needed a second, but another PSG goal would leave Chelsea having to score three times and the French champions cleverly turned the screw by retaining possession and attempting to strike on the break.

Rabiot was at the heart of PSG's game-plan, with the languid midfielder effortlessly spraying the ball around with incredible economy and accuracy.

Chelsea struggled to land a blow, but Hiddink's team lacked the snap and crackle of PSG.

Chelsea's hopes of clawing themselves back were dealt a blow on the hour when Costa, appearing to have pulled a calf muscle, limped off to be replaced by Bertrand Traore.

PSG began toying with Chelsea and the killer blow was delivered on 66 minutes when Ibrahimovic scored his 50th European goal.

Thiago Motta's pass to Di Maria instigated the move, and the winger's cross left Ibrahimovic to guide home.

The old man of PSG switched off the lights for Chelsea, who appeared an old and ordinary team against the rising force from Paris.

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Kenedy, Mikel, Fabregas, Pedro, Willian, Hazard (Oscar 77), Costa (Traore). Goal: Costa 27. Not used: Begovic, Baba, Remy, Matic, Loftus-Cheek.

PSG: Trapp, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Maxwell, Rabiot, Motta, Matuidi (Van der Wiel 87), Di María (Cavani 82), Ibrahimovic, Lucas Moura (Pastore 77).

Goals: Rabiot 16, Ibrahimovic 67.

Not used: Stambouli, Kurzawa, Augustin, Sirigu.

Man of the match: Ibrahimovic (pictured)

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Dr Felix Brych (Germany)

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