Paris Saint-Germain defeated Chelsea on Tuesday night at the Parc de Princes in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 but the Blues remain very much in the competition and have a good chance of making it to the quarter-finals of the competition. The 2-1 defeat at the hands of Zlatan and his team-mates has very little significance if they can manage to turn things around in the second leg.
This is not the first time the two teams meet each other in the knock-out rounds of Europe’s most prestigious competition. In fact, this is the third time they meet in as many years. In 2014, the two met in the quarter-finals. PSG won the first leg 3-1 but the Blues managed to turn things around in the second leg by winning 2-0 and qualify on away goals. One year on, in 2015, The two teams drew 1-1 in the first leg and the second leg had to go into extra-time after another 1-1 draw but eventually PSG were able to qualify on away goals after an aggregate score of 3-3.
Substitute Edinson Cavani was the difference between the two sides last night. John Mikel Obi had cancelled out Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s opener for PSG but it was the second half that showed the differences between the two teams. Cavani, Javier Pastore and Adrien Rabiot came off the bench for the French club while Chelsea’s bench had the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Bertrand Traore, Kenedy and Matt Miazga limiting Guus Hiddink to a single substitute during the 90 minutes.
The Dutch manager even acknowledged the strength of his opponent’s bench “I envy a bit the bench of PSG, they have a very strong one.” said Hiddink. “You see what this team can bring on in the second half, world-class players as substitutes.” While Hiddink was finding excuses for his first loss with Chelsea this season, his side did score a valuable away goal, something that has been the difference between the two in the past two years. Chelsea’s 12-match unbeaten run has reached a stop but in their defence they had to play without their captain, John Terry, Kurt Zouma and the suspended Nemanja Matic.
PSG are going to Stamford Bridge to score and Chelsea are likely to open up in front of their home crowd if they are to stand any chance of going through. Of course a defeat is not a good result but a 2-1 loss has never been disastrous in the Champions League and it can be reversed with a single goal. There’s still three weeks until the next tie, expect an open ended game with goals on both sides and what better way to watch it than by travelling with us to London and cheering on your favourite team with fellow supporters like you.