Chelsea dumped out of Champions League with defeat at home to PSG
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was on target for the French champions22:19 Wednesday 9 March 2016, 22:19 9 Mar 2016
Chelsea's hopes of European football next season took a massive dent tonight as they were beaten by a well drilled PSG side.
A goal in each half from the French champions condemned Guus Hiddink's side to a 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge and now all eyes will be on the FA Cup, as victory there would guarantee them a spot in next year's Europa League.
Laurent Blanc's side dominated the opening 15 minutes, stroking the ball around confidently and pressing well up the pitch to suffocate the Chelsea midfielder.
They were almost punished for dawdling in defence, when Willian picked up possession in the opposition box and fed Diego Costa, but his shot was blocked.
Adrien Rabiot put the visitors in front on 16 minutes when Angel Di Maria slipped the ball in behind for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his low cross was met by the defender at the back post.
Rabiot puts the French side into the lead. Image: John Walton / PA Wire/Press Association Images
Chelsea were forced to come to life after going behind, the tempo increased and the service from the wide areas improved dramatically.
Costa pulled the Londoners back into it then just before the half hour mark.
A neat one-two between Willian and Pedro caused havoc in the PSG defence. The ball was slipped into the path of Costa who only needed to drop his shoulder to deceive Thiago Silva and fired low into the bottom corner beyond Kevin Trapp.
Costa levels proceedings with a low strike beyond Trapp. Image: John Walton / PA Wire/Press Association Images
The game burst to life after this, with both sides looking dangerous in attack and the Premier League champions incisive on the break.
Eden Hazard and Pedro offered good service going forward, while Willian's battling qualities were enough to stifle the PSG midfield.
Chelsea should have had the lead before the interval when Trapp made a mess of a save and the ball bounced back into the area. Luckily for him on this occasion, Maxwell was on hand to clear before the onrushing Pedro who turn the ball into the net.
The sides remained nip and tuck in the second 45, both looking like they could take the lead. Ibramhimovic remained a constant threat, playing off the shoulder of a fragile Chelsea back line.
It was his predatory instincts that gave the visitors the lead once again.
A loose pass found its way to Thiago Motta, who spotted Di Maria in acres of space behind Azpilicueta. Di Maria accelerated into the box and flashed his cross into thee six yard box, an easy tap in for a striker of the Swede's calibre.
Zlatan strikes to put the final nail in Chelsea coffin. Image: John Walton / PA Wire/Press Association Images
Chelsea failed to recover after that mortal blow and with Costa and Hazard withdrawn with knocks, the task looked even greater heading into the final 20 minutes.
That left them trailing 4-2 on aggregate, knowing that only three goals would send them through, thanks to the away goals rule.
The game fizzled out in the final quarter, with Chelsea exiting with a whimper rather than a roar and now Hiddink must look upon the FA Cup as their best chance of European qualification.
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