Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Chelsea: Cavani strikes late to hand Hiddink first defeat

The Blues put in a solid shift against PSG, giving themselves a great chance to make the quarter-finals.

Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Chelsea: Cavani strikes late to hand Hiddink first defeat
Image credit: Getty Images
Paris-Saint Germain
2 1
Paris-Saint Germain: (4-3-3) Trapp; Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Maxwell; Verratti (Rabiot 81'), Thiago Motta, Matuidi (Pastore 81'); Lucas (Cavani 74'), Ibrahimovic, di Maria.
Chelsea: (4-2-3-1) Courtois; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Baba Rahman; Mikel, Fabregas; Willian, Hazard (Oscar 71'), Pedro; Diego Costa.
SCORE: 1-0, Ibrahimovic 39'. 1-1, Mikel 45+1'. 2-1, Cavani 78'.
REFEREE: Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP). Booked: Ibrahimovic (19'), Mikel (38'), Pedro (67'), Lucas (70'), David Luiz (71').

A late strike from Edinson Cavani proved to be the difference between Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain in an enthralling first leg in their last 16 tie.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's deflected free-kick gave the hosts the lead, before John Obi Mikel leveled the scores before the break.

PSG were the better side in the second period and eventually got the goal they deserved.

Blanc's men start well

PSG were on top in the early moments of the match, with Chelsea looking oddly sheepish in midfield and defence. Thibaut Courtois was called into action early on by Marco Verratti's swerving strike, though the Belgian stopper confidently palmed it away. Lucas tried a similar effort from range, although it was comfortably wide.

The onslaught didn't stop there, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent a 25-yard free-kick whistling wide of the top corner. A cross from the dangerous and lively looks almost found the toes of Ibrahimovic, only to slide into the grateful grasp of Courtois. 

Chelsea come into the game

The Blues' main attacking threat in the first 20 minutes came from a Maxwell slip that let Pedro slide down the right, though his cross came to nothing.

That would change moments later, as Diego Costa forced a spectacular stop from Kevin Trapp. Abdul Baba Rahman's cross was inch-perfect, as the Spaniard powered a hedaer at goal; Trapp somehow managed to flick the ball onto the bar, much to the disbelief of the Chelsea players.

The chance seemed to settle the visitors, who seemed to feel that balls in from wide areas would provide the best chance of scoring. A Willian cross was almost met Costa in the box before Branislav Ivanovic fired a shot into the side-netting. At the other end, PSG found back with Ibrahimovic and di Maria missing the target.

Ibrahimovic opens the scoring

Just as the game looked to be heading into the break all-square, the Swedish striker broke the deadlock. After John Obi Mikel gave away a free-kick on the edge of the area, Ibrahimovic dusted himself down and took the resulting set-piece.

The ball was driven hard and low, but clipped the outstretched leg of Mikel to wrong-foot Courtois and leave the Parc des Princes watching on as the shot found the back of the net.

Mikel magic

Given the timing of the goal, which couldn't have come at a worse time, Chelsea could have been forgiven for playing out the final few minutes of the half to regroup at the break. However, that was far from the case and two Willian set-pieces were cleared away by the first man.

It would be a case of third time lucky, though, as Mikel redeemed himself with the final kick of the half. Willian's corner looked to have come up short again but was flicked on by Costa, which fell perfectly to the Nigerian midfielder. A touch and close range half-volley later, and Mikel was running to the corner in celebratory mood.

Mikel had leveled the tie. | Image source: Getty Images
Mikel had leveled the tie. | Image source: Getty Images

Quick start to the second half

The visitors, still on a high after the goal, picked up where they left off and went in search of a second. That very nearly came when a quick breakway saw Willian play Costa through on goal, though Trapp spread himself well to save.

Angel di Maria responded with a shot of his own, forcing Courtois to tip it behind. Ibrahimovic followed that up with a chance of his own, this time from close range. A combination of Gary Cahill and his goalkeeper were able to thwart him, however.

PSG pile on the pressure

After that chance, the crowd seemed to rally behind their side and that gave them new-found impetus. Ibrahimovic, of course, was involved but di Maria was beginning to pull the strings. It was his ball that found Maxwell through on goal, only for Cahill to make a crucial interception and spare the blushes of a ball-watching Pedro.

More opportunities would follow, as Lucas burst past several sorry Chelsea challenges to go through on goal. Courtois, once again, produced the save that was needed. Moments later and another stop was required, this time from a di Maria free-kick that was curling inside the far post.

The hosts finally get their goal

The Blues almost grabbed a shock second when a long ball through wasn't dealt with by the defence, and was met by substitute Oscar. It seemed likely Chelsea could cling on to their lead, perhaps even sneak an unlikely winner, but those hopes were dashed 10 minutes from time.

A similar ball over the top saw Edinson Cavani break the offside trap and leave the visitors' line in his wake. The Uruguayan forward drove forward and, from an acute angle, drove the ball hard and low through the legs of Courtois to give PSG a vital advantage.

Pedro had a late chance to give Chelsea a share of the spoils, but his shot found the side-netting. Despite the defeat, it was a largely positive game for the visitors who coped well without a recognised defence and will be confident of turning the tie around at home.