Wednesday, February 18, 2015 12:43 am
A game of headers saw Chelsea come away from Paris with what could prove a crucial 1-1 draw against Paris St. Germain in a first leg round of 16 clash of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night.
Branislav Ivanovic had given the visiting Blues – clad in bright yellow – the lead and an important away goal 10 minutes before half time while Edinson Cavani headed PSG back on level terms 10 minutes into the second half.
In a repeat of last season’s quarterfinal clash, PSG came into this season’s showdown for a quarterfinal place with vengeance on their mind and they almost reaped rewards early on.
However Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was on hand to make two good stops within a minute, first denying a strong Blaise Matuidi header off a Cavani cross before keeping out another header from Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 11th minute.
PSG maintained the upper hand on proceedings but saw further efforts to break the deadlock thwarted, with Courtois on hand again to deny Cavani’s goalbound header in the 34th minute.
The save proved crucial as Chelsea took the lead a minute later against the run of play through Ivanovic who powered in a header after being set up by his defensive colleagues John Terry and Gary Cahill.
That goal was however cancelled out in the 54th minute when a Matuidi ball in was met by Cavani who headed downwards past a despairing Courtois to restore parity for the Parisians.
Courtois was then able to keep out a fiercelow drive from Ibrahimovic on the hour mark, with Chelsea’s goalkeeper having Cesar Azpilicueta to thank for making a goal-line clearance of Ezequiel Lavezzi’s effort on the rebound.
Ibrahimovic had another header tipped out by Courtois while Cavani saw an effort from a tight angle go past the Chelsea goalkeeper but sail agonisingly wide of goal with 10 minutes to go as both sides settled for a share of the spoils on the night.
Chelsea as a result can now go through to te last eight with a goalless draw in the second leg at Stamford a fortnight from tonight, while PSG must at least score to hold any hope of making it through.
In Tuesday night’s other round of 16 clash, Shakhtar Donetsk and Bayern Munich ayed out a goalless draw in a scrappy affair that saw Xabi Alonso sent off for Bayern.
The first knockout stage continues on Wednesday night with holders Real Madrid guests of Schalke 04 in Gelsenkirchen while FC Basel will host 2004 champions FC Porto in another encounter.