Paris Saint-Germain will take a 2-1 advantage to Stamford Bridge thanks to Edinson Cavani’s winner in the first-leg of the last-16 of the UEFA Champions League! El Matador scored a goal that he badly needed and one his team needed in what was a tightly contested affair in Paris. The Uruguayan came off from the bench to net the decisive goal and cement a famous win for the French champions.
Chelsea were dangerous throughout, especially on the counter. For parts of the game they looked the more sharp, despite our domineering possession. Willian was proving to be a thorn in the side and Eden Hazard, particularly in the first-half, was keeping us on our toes.
The big call pre-match was who was going to replace Serge Aurier at right-back? That duty fell to Marquinhos who was exceptional throughout bar one jittery moment where he let the ball bounce over the top of the defence but thankfully Kevin Trapp came to the rescue.
The German did that on a few occasions and no more so than the wonder save he produced to deny Diego Costa’s header in the first-half. He had no right to save it! He somehow managed to get his fingertips to the ball and tip it onto the crossbar. Costa was dumbstruck and it really should have been the opener for the English champions.
They were left to rue that as Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired us into the lead with a freekick that deflected in off Jon Obi Mikel. Ironically, it was the Nigerian who gave the freekick away having fouled Lucas Moura as he raced through the middle. That goal sent the Parc des Princes into sheer delirium.
Even more ironic, was that it was Mikel who equalised! The odds on him netting a goal would have been off the scale but he did so after the corner was whipped in and kindly fell to his feet to smash home. The ball glanced off the head of Ibra, which deceived Marquinhos and there was the holding midfielder to blast past Kevin Trapp. That would end up being the last kick of the half!
Thibaut Courtois in the Chelsea goal was outstanding, denying the likes of Angel di Maria and Lucas after the interval. Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic also defended with their bodies on the line to block Blaise Matuidi’s goal bound effort from close range.
If ever though there was a time to score – and via a certain player – it was destined to be Cavani! The scenes as the ball rippled the net were spine tingling and you could sense the relief from him and the delight from his teammates. It was such a composed finish from the striker and who was it with the assist? That man Di Maria. With 12 minutes to play, Edi swung the tie in our favour!
But, it is far from over! Chelsea were dangerous and have that all-important away goal. The game back in London on 9th March is delicately poised!