Luiz haunts Chelsea in CL as Blanc’s boys advance on away goals
Jose Mourinho said he expected more from PSG (now 8/1 chances with Coral) and such mind games rather backfired on the Chelsea boss, as Laurent Blanc’s boys dumped the Blues out of the Champions League in extra time.
It is likely the Stamford Bridge side shall be the first of three Premier League casualties that fall at the first knockout hurdle in Europe’s elite club competitions, with Arsenal and Manchester City both trailing going into away legs next week.
Chelsea saw the away goals rule help them sneak past the no less expensively assembled Parisian roster in last season’s quarter-finals, but this European exit was a dose of their own medicine in more ways than one.
Pundits talked pre-match about how the Blues possess set-piece strength under Mourinho and PSG were weak defending such situations, so it was ironic none of the four goals scored in west London came from open play.
Referee Bjorn Kuipers will surely endure criticism for sending off the admittedly ineffectual Zlatan Ibrahomovic half an hour in, when he and Oscar both went for a 50-50 ball. It may not matter to Blanc, though, as his side won in spite of this officiating howler and those connected with PSG would be stunned to see the red card not rescinded by UEFA.
Did Chelsea players influence Kuipers by crowding round him in the immediate aftermath of this challenge? If they did, then the referee subsequently failed to oblige the Blues when Diego Costa was clearly brought down by Edinson Cavani in the area.
Uruguay international Cavani came close to giving PSG the lead in an ugly contest when he rounded Thibaut Courtois, but rattled the post with an open goal, but from a tight angle.
Gary Cahill capitalised on the visitors’ inability to clear a corner, with stopper Salvatore Sirigu spilling Ramires’ effort and a Diego Costa cross-shot fell kindly for the England centre back.
Just when it looked like Chelsea would advance, PSG hit back through former Stamford Bridge star David Luiz. The Brazilian, blamed en masse in his home country for blowing the Samba Boys’ chances of winning the World Cup on home soil last summer, earned some redemption on this big stage with a thumping header, beating Branislav Ivanovic to an Ezequiel Lavezzi corner delivery.
An aggregate scoreline of 2-2, with one away goal apiece after 180 minutes of this last 16 tie meant extra time. The pendulum then swung Mourinho’s way again as referee Kuipers spotted a silly handall from PSG skipper Thiago Silva inside his own area.
This allowed Eden Hazard to convert from the spot, but Luiz’s partner in crime for club and country Silva went from zero to hero, netting an even more impressive set piece header from Thiago Motta’s dead ball.
Conceding twice from corners dumped Chelsea out on away goals, but Mourinho’s men looked jaded at times throughout this contest. Perhaps a lack of any real rotation, through what has already been a long season of 43 matches so far, has taken its toll.
PSG progress on merit and through adversity which will serve them well for whoever they get in next Friday’s quarter-final draw. That being said, however, they should still hope to avoid Bayern Munich, who crushed 10-man Shakhtar Donetsk at the Allianz despite a cagey first leg stalemate in war-torn Ukraine.
In a week where holders Real Madrid (3/1 to retain the Champions League) struggled to sneak past Schalke, magnificent Munich laid down a major marker and are now worthy 5/2 favourites to give Pep Guardiola his third European Cup in management.