It was a glorious night in London indeed. As Chelsea looked to build on their away goal advantage and Paris Saint-Germain stood better on the pitch in the first half an hour of the match, it suddenly felt we would witness another unjust Champions League evening. PSG’s biggest star Zlatan Ibrahimovic was shot down by an unjustified expulsion after a headless tackle. Eight Chelsea players parked the bus around Bjorn Kuipers and only possible reaction he could produce was sending Ibrahimovic off, which proved to be too harsh seeing the replays, as he pulled out from the tackle as he saw Oscar sliding in.
However, the weary display from Mourinho’s side just kept getting worse, with just periodic shows of the power they are. The ten-man PSG lost their composure after losing Ibrahimovic, but seemed to be catching up with the Blues easily. The sending-off produced a kind of anger and determination, which Laurent Blanc seemed to have put under control in half-time talks. The character of the referee though had more problems controlling as Kuipers at times lost all control and failed to keep to his criteria, which a top referee could not allow himself to. Both David Luiz and especially Diego Costa, should have gotten the yellow cards elbowing each other in the first half, and Oscar could have been sent off too after pulling back Veratti, already being yellow. A clear 42’ penalty for Chelsea also went unnoticed in Kuipers’ book, Cavani tripping Costa who just waited for the contact.
Diego Costa just could not get his way, and his offences continued throughout the whole match. After not getting the penalty-kick, he just could not pull himself together. To name just some of the bookable offences: 11’ elbowing David Luiz, swearing to the referee in Portuguese, ’73 tackle on Thiago Silva and headbutting David Luiz, 91’ Marquinhos pushing and 103’ squaring up with Thiago Motta. The Spaniard should have probably been sent off for the tackle on Silva alone!
Although Chelsea opened the second half better, Paris had the first 100% chance with Cavani running around Chelsea’s Courtois and hitting the left post. From that point, it was all PSG, running as if they were man up and getting everywhere first. Mourinho could not believe his eyes, struggling to change the pace with double block defense. Veratti, Matuidi and Motta seemed to be in full control of the midfield. Ramires had a clear chance but Sirigu kept the clean sheet for a couple more minutes, before Cahill shocked the Parisians with a great volley leaving them with just nine minutes to equalize and take the match to extra-time.
It was enough, as ex-Chelsea man David Luiz headed a rocket behind Courtois in 85’, which proved to be enough for extra-time, even though Chelsea pushed towards the late winner. The extra-time started horrendous for the Parisians, Hazard converting the penalty after Silva’s handball inside the box. David Luiz came close to equalizing again from a 35-yard free-kick, marking the highlight of the rest of the first half of the extra-time.
Chelsea then tried to run down the clock for the entire second half, Courtois making several immense saves and just when it seemed he’s saving Chelsea for the night, Thiago Silva sealed their Champions league season with an amazing header almost from the edge of the box. The French team closed the match with no trouble, Chelsea looking stunned for the rest of the match. Mourinho was surprisingly calm after the match, and focused on his team’s issues and not on the refereeing for a change:
Deservedly, Parisians took on to celebrate with their travelling fans, overpowering one of the main . We seldom saw Chelsea so vulnerable defensively, and lacking serious penetration in attack, Hazard being the only menace to the PSG defense. Not only did Chelsea play poorly, but many criticize them behaving poorly too, disgracefully surrounding the referee after Ibrahimovic’s tackle and on several other occasions. While Mourinho proposed Luiz not to be allowed to play the quarter-final, many believe Costa should be the one punished by UEFA.
Ibrahimovic also had a lot to say about Chelsea players behavior on the pitch. See his post-match interview.
Probably the best way to end this story, here are the highlights from last night’s memorable Stamford Bridge match!
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