Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain played out an enthralling 1-1 draw as the two sides could not be separated in Paris.
The opponents, who were playing in front of a star-studded audience, including David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson, fittingly matched that with a good game, with goals nine minutes either side of the half-time interval. It means now there is all to play for in the return leg in three weeks’ time.
It was a start which belonged to neither side, with both hesitant to make a wrong move so early on. Chelsea edged it slightly but PSG were always there to counter, forcing Chelsea to take risk-averse action.
That changed in the 36th minute. A set-piece petered out but John Terry collected the ball and regathered momentum with a hopeful cross into the box. Cahill applied the perfect flick-on for Ivanovic to leap highest to score his 30th Chelsea goal. It was a quite brilliant goal from Chelsea’s back-line: who needs Hazard, Fabregas and Costa?
PSG, and Cavani, responded straight after the break with their own headed goal, though. The hosts had had a greater share of possession and chances and it was inevitable one would be converted. Cavani was found in acres of space and headed down and past Courtois.
It was not the only time Chelsea were shaky. Courtois had to be on hand to divert many downward-facing headers and it was the luck of a fortuitious Terry and Azpilicueta combination that stopped Lavezzi from putting PSG’s noses in front.
Ibrahimovic had a chance in the dying moments to head his side in front but Courtois was again on hand to divert the header away.
It was a game of many headers and many long balls, not allowing the creative sparks of Hazard and Willian, who love ball at feet, to really get into their rhythm, which suited PSG perfectly. We await the second-leg.
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Man of the Match
THIBAUT COURTOIS: Been harsh on this little lad for a while now, not because he has not done a good job on occasion, but because I am a Big Pete fan. But, emotional allegiances aside, the Belgian perhaps just shades my Man of the Match award tonight. None of his saves were extraordinary, but he needed to be there and read it well. No flapping at crosses at this time too. 7/10
Mourinho was pleased with a draw: “We could have lost, so I think the result is a positive one. I don’t say very good because it depends on the result of the second leg but it is a positive result against a very good team with fantastic technical players. It was a difficult match.”
Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had four years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.
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