Ibrahimovic inspires PSG to Chelsea coup and Champions League quarter-final spot
Lee Gormley | March 9, 2016
Chelsea 1-2 PSG (aggregate 2-4)
- PSG held 2-1 aggregate lead coming into second leg liaison
- Adrien Rabiot slots home opener after just 16 minutes
- Diego Costa clinically pulls goal back on 27 minutes
- Costa forced off with injury before hour mark
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic finds net late on to secure quarter-final spot
PSG book quarter-final position in London
PSG booked their place in the Champions League quarter-finals with a 2-1 (4-2 on aggregate) last 16 second leg victory over Guus Hiddink’s Chelsea, with Adrien Rabiot and Zlatan Ibrahimovic striking decisive away goals at Stamford Bridge.
The Parisians entered the clash with a 2-1 first leg lead and they quickly built upon it as Rabiot pounced after 16 minutes to open proceedings, before Diego Costa fired back before half-time.
Costa was forced off in the second-half through injury, with PSG going on to capitalise, as Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic dispatched a 67th-minute strike to secure progression and send Chelsea crashing out.
Rabiot deals Blues massive blow
This awaited second leg liaison began swiftly, with PSG looking the more dangerous in the opening stages, as former Manchester United misfit Angel di Maria saw his early attempt cleared off the line by a sliding Branislav Ivanovic, following a spurned Costa strike.
Later, within the first 10 minutes, Ibrahimovic, who is out of contract in the summer, had the ball in the net but witnessed his close-range tap-in ruled out for offside, though PSG’s towering Swede soon made up for his mistimed run.
With only 16 minutes gone at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea were dealt a hammer blow as Ibrahimovic provided Rabiot with a pinpoint cross from the right flank and the midfielder happily obliged to tuck away a crucial goal.
Instrumental Italian midfielder Marco Verratti was the man Rabiot replaced in the central areas after the former was forced out with a groin injury, but his stand-in was enjoying an impressive outing in London so far.
Costa clinically strikes back
Exactly 11 minutes after conceding, Brazilian attacker Willian surged forward in search of a decisive through ball, and he found exactly that as the Samba star picked out a charging Costa, who swivelled inside then clinically fired past Kevin Trapp to pull one back.
The Brazilian-born Spain international’s emphatic finish was his 11th goal in 15 appearances under temporary coach Hiddink, proving his rampant resurgence since Jose Mourinho’s departure, as he continued to battle strongly with former Blues defender David Luiz and Thiago Silva.
With 33 minutes played, Ibrahimovic leaped above Cesar Azpilicueta to connect with a lofted right-sided delivery from Brazilian wideman Lucas Moura, but Thibaut Courtois was able to deny the marksman with a strong save.
Willian was looking extremely sharp and once again got the Stamford Bridge faithful off their seats on 39 minutes, as he swiftly danced past a sliding Maxwell to eventually pick out Pedro Rodriguez, before Cesc Fabregas sent a low-driven shot trickling narrowly wide left.
It was Eden Hazard’s turn to press PSG moments later, with Laurent Blanc’s men sloppily losing possession in the middle recurrently without reliant Verratti to calm proceedings down, and the Belgian tested Trapp with a thunderous strike before half-time was reached.
Costa suffers untimely knock
Willian picked up in the second-half where he left off in the first, leaving Marquinhos for dust down the left wing to pick out Costa in PSG’s penalty area, but he was ultimately crowded out.
After 52 minutes contested in London, Lucas showed blistering pace to get his visiting side on the counter attack but had his rapid run abruptly halted by first leg goal scorer John Obi Mikel, with the Nigerian receiving a caution for his troubles.
Chelsea’s hopes of reaching the quarter-final stage took another hit before the hour mark, as imposing frontman Costa was forced off with a muscle injury, with youngster Bertrand Traore replacing him, having netted four goals in five outings beforehand.
The Blues were pushing hard at the travelling defence, with Trapp first stopping a vicious Willian shot before the German palmed away an immediate rebound effort from Hazard, and they proved decisive stops.
Ibrahimovic furthers Blues’ misery
Following a loss of possession close to their penalty box, Chelsea were made to pay the price, as impressive Argentine Di Maria latched onto a perfectly timed Thiago Motta pass before finding Ibrahimovic in the six-yard box, who thunderously fired home a second away goal.
Edinson Cavani arriving on the pitch was a familiarly daunting sight for the hosts, after the Uruguayan’s first leg winner, and he was a constant nuisance for Gary Cahill and Ivanovic again, but he couldn’t grab another goal.
Nevertheless, Chelsea saw their European campaign come to an end on home soil, as an Ibrahimovic-inspired PSG rallied into the quarter-finals and are now 13/2 with Coral to become only the second French club ever to taste Champions League glory this season.