Chelsea 1-2 Paris Saint Germain: Zlatan Ibrahimovic seals away win as PSG march on to Champions League quarter-finals
Goals in either half from Adrien Rabiot and Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped Paris Saint-Germain to a deserved 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge as they booked their place in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Diego Costa had looked like being the night's hero after an all-action display and cancelling out Rabiot's opener.
But Costa was substituted after an hour due to injury and Ibrahimovic struck seven minutes later to secure a 4-2 aggregate success.
Ibrahimovic, on the eve of the tie, had denied seeking revenge after 12 months ago being sent off at Stamford Bridge, but had vowed he was better than ever as he continues to chase the triumph in this competition which has proved elusive in his illustrious career so far.
And as he impressed, duly PSG advanced to a fourth straight Champions League quarter-final and Chelsea were left to contemplate the probability of being absent from the competition next season.
Eden Hazard was again disappointing and he was booed by a handful of home supporters as he was replaced 13 minutes from time.
Away goals had separated the sides in the last two seasons - Chelsea won the quarter-final tie in 2014, but were defeated at the last-16 stage in 2015 - and John Obi Mikel's strike on February 16 at Parc des Princes gave Chelsea a fighting chance.
The performance of Costa did, too. The striker was labelled a "fraud" on social media by PSG on the eve of the contest and shed his protective mask inside 10 minutes to reveal himself.
Costa forced a save from Kevin Trapp in the opening moments after Rabiot, in for the injured Marco Verratti, had given the ball away.
Then Angel Di Maria and Lucas Moura set to work, targeting Chelsea's left where Kenedy was deployed at full-back.
Branislav Ivanovic scampered back to deny Di Maria, after Lucas fed the former Manchester United winger, before Ibrahimovic stole in down the right and his cross beat Chelsea's defence for Rabiot to tuck in at the far post. Kenedy was missing in action.
The television cameras panned to Chelsea's injured captain John Terry, who was surely contemplating the end of his Champions League career.
PSG, who are without challengers in Ligue 1, looked like they had not had to defend all season. And Costa was more of a nuisance than Laurent Blanc had predicted.
PSG, leading 3-1 and with Mikel's away goal wiped out, continued to play at a high tempo as they sought another. But they looked vulnerable, too.
Thiago Motta lost the ball in midfield to Pedro, who combined with Willian and then Costa, who did the rest. He turned Thiago Silva and fired into the bottom corner.
It was just his second Champions League goal in 15 games for Chelsea, but his 11th goal in 15 appearances under interim manager Guus Hiddink, whose only prior defeat since his appointment was in the first leg. It gave the Blues belief.
Ibrahimovic headed at Thibaut Courtois, while Cesc Fabregas shot wide and Hazard weakly at Trapp, who next saved sharply from Costa.
Hazard and Di Maria swapped shirts at half-time. Hiddink wanted Hazard to show his best after an anonymous first leg, but the Belgian was again poor.
Costa had been a menace, but departed and Chelsea's only other real attacking threat was Willian. He stretched Trapp before Hazard's poor follow-up was also saved.
Team to play PSG: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic (c), Kenedy; Mikel, Fabregas; Pedro, Willian, Hazard; Diego Costa. #CHEPSG— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 9, 2016
Ibrahimovic then delivered, netting from Di Maria's cross. It was a cathartic moment for the Sweden striker, who missed the 2014 tie through injury and called Chelsea's players "babies" following his sending-off 12 months ago.
Chelsea interim boss Guus Hiddink has defended Diego Costa's behaviour and scoring record ahead of Wednesday night's Champions League last-16 second leg with Paris St Germain at Stamford Bridge.
PSG's social media team upped the ante on the eve of the tie with a video montage of masked super heroes titled 'Spot the fraud', which also included Costa, who has been playing with a protective mask due to a broken nose.
PSG boss Laurent Blanc warned his players to watch out for arch-antagonist Costa, who has scored 10 goals in 14 games under Hiddink, but has just one Champions League goal in two seasons and 14 games with the Blues.
Costa, available after missing last Saturday's draw with Stoke as a precaution over a minor tendon problem, has a reputation for riling opponents. He has never been sent off for Chelsea, although he has served two retrospective three-match domestic bans in his two seasons in London.
"I'm very proud of him the way he's playing and, going not over the edge, but he likes to fight in the real way of the game," Hiddink said.
"That's what we like. I protect him and support him when he's doing what he has done in my period at Chelsea.
"He scored recently in not the worst league in the world. In the Premier League he frequently is scoring now, since December, January.
"Before he had also this problem not scoring, as did the team. Let's see and hope he can make it to the European level as well."
Hiddink, who is without captain John Terry due to a hamstring injury, also issued a robust defence of Eden Hazard.
The Belgium playmaker, Chelsea's leading performer in last season's Premier League and Capital One Cup double, has been underwhelming this term.
Hazard on the eve of the first leg suggested a move to PSG would be too good an opportunity to turn down, stoking speculation he is angling for a move this summer.
And he was substituted in the 2-1 loss at Parc des Princes, but Hiddink attributed that to his return from a groin injury.
Hiddink added: "At that time when he was playing away in Paris he was in that period just coming back from a rather severe injury.
"We could not ask him to be game fit at that moment. He had two or three actions that looked like Hazard.
"We are some weeks further into the league and game fitness. He can and must show tomorrow what he is capable of, which is more than the away game."
The Blues are up against PSG for a third-straight season. Chelsea won the quarter-final tie in 2014 on away goals, but were defeated at the last-16 stage in 2015 by the same method.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be determined to make an impression after missing the 2014 tie through injury and his first-half dismissal 12 months ago.
Chelsea defender Gary Cahill said: "Revenge? I don't know. For him it was unfortunate last time round, but for his team it was positive because they went through.
"He's very vocal on the pitch. He does like the sound of his own voice, but he deserves respect because he's a top player and we have to look out for him."
Chelsea's only defeat since the appointment of Hiddink as interim successor to the sacked Jose Mourinho was in Paris on February 15, but John Obi Mikel's vital away goal leaves the tie finely poised.
After guiding Chelsea up the Premier League and into Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final at Everton, Hiddink has lofty targets.
He said: "The team responded, got the points, is now mid-table in the Premier League. This was a target, a soft target by Chelsea's standards.
"We'd like to go to a new target which must be FA Cup and Champions League. It can give another image to Chelsea (this season)."
PSG have made no secret that the European Cup is their aim, just like it was the target for Chelsea and owner Roman Abramovich before their 2012 win.
Hiddink said: "We hope we can stop them a bit in their project."
Terry will miss a sixth successive game after his hamstring injury sustained in the 5-1 defeat of Newcastle, prior to the first leg in Paris.
Like Costa, Pedro (hamstring) and Kenedy (groin) appear to be fit to feature in a contest which could come down to a penalty shootout. Chelsea have practised spot kicks.
Hiddink said: "We have the habit to practice after normal training free-kicks and penalties. Not just before this game."
Belfast Telegraph Digital