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Champions League: David Luiz and PSG knock Chelsea out

Chelsea 2-2 Paris Saint-Germain (PSG win on away goals)

By Sam Wallace

Of all the ways Jose Mourinho might have imagined a Champions League exit, he could hardly have conceived of an evening when Paris Saint-Germain's superstars assumed the Stamford Bridge FA Cup spirit of Bradford.

It would have been a remarkable performance from the French side in any circumstances, but to play 90 minutes without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, erroneously sent off, made this a benchmark night in the history of the French club.

Twice they came from behind, eventually to win the tie on away goals in extra time, and for most of that you would scarcely have noticed that they only had 10 men.

Chelsea were not at their best, although their goals from Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard's penalty should have been enough.

They failed in a discipline which they usually handle with ease, conceding both goals to headers from corners from David Luiz and Thiago Silva. Mourinho will ask why Diego Costa did not get a first-half penalty. PSG deserve an explanation for Ibrahimovic's red card.

It was a swine of a decision for the referee Bjorn Kuipers to have to make, a blur of a tackle between the great Swede and Oscar, but Kuipers got it wrong and so the tie was turned on its head.

What no one was expecting from that moment was the great PSG performance that ensued.

As Oscar and Ibrahimovic went for the ball it was actually the Brazilian's leading leg, his right, that was fully extended and his studs up.

Ibrahimovic had folded his legs to a greater degree and contact was made. It was fast and the reaction of Oscar - hand over face, protestations of agony - seemed to influence the referee.

And then, when Kuipers must have been wondering whether it could get any worse for him, it did. On 43 minutes, Costa went on a brilliant run that took him into the box.

Having beaten Edinson Cavani, the Uruguayan clearly thrust out a leg and tripped him, but no penalty was given. In spite of that it was a tie that, at half-time, was made for Mourinho's team to win.

PSG were depleted and missing their star player and yet they were superb in the second half. It was an heroic effort from the French side.

At the heart of it was Marco Verratti probing with passes from midfield where Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas were quiet. Not only Verratti, but Javier Pastore was impressive too.

They simply kept trying to break Chelsea down. Having failed to exact revenge on Luiz, Costa sought out Maxwell for a bad late tackle and was booked. Luiz intervened and was booked as well.

Then came the breakthrough for Chelsea. They had barely created a chance before Ramires had a shot saved at the near post by Salvatore Sirigu and from the ensuing corner, PSG made a mess of the clearance. From Costa's scuffed shot it fell to Cahill to lash in.

Laurent Blanc made changes immediately, bringing on Ezequiel Lavezzi and Adrien Rabiot, and within minutes PSG were level. Pastore's skill and chip forced the corner and Luiz was unmarked to head the ball past Thibaut Courtois.

By this time, there was not a thought given by Luiz to curtailing the celebration. Into extra-time the game went. Mourinho replaced Ramires with Didier Drogba.

The second Chelsea goal was a disaster for Silva, who inexplicably extended a hand in a challenge with Kurt Zouma and touched the ball. This time there were no protests. Hazard dispatched the penalty.

In the final minutes, Courtois saved brilliantly from a Silva header from a corner.

Then the next one came over and this time Silva found the space to beat Courtois and win the tie for PSG.

Belfast Telegraph


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