Never mind parking the bus, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea couldn’t even get the bus in to the players arrival area! The Chelsea team bus got lodged in the arrival tunnel and the blues boss walked his players to the stadium entrance. Not the best of starts to an already difficult task.
The visit to Paris was never going to be easy as the home side had not lost in the Parc de Princes, in European competition, since 2006. Indeed Barcelona suffered a 3-2 defeat in the group stages. However once again Mourinho got his tactics spot on as his players ground out a hard fought draw. The Chelsea manager knows only too well that away goals at this stage are vital and once again Ivanovic scored with a fantastic header.
Sometimes we are spoilt in England with end to end, fast and furious football which delights even the neutral fans but this intriguing tactical battle was every bit as entertaining. PSG clearly respected their opponents from the start and let Chelsea play across the back line, but were quick and positive on the counter. Yes Chelsea rode their luck at times but luck is a key component in winning this cup.
Former blues man David Luiz was given the holding midfield role which meant that Matuidi was free to stride forward and Thibaut Courtois, returning in place of Petr Cech, was forced into making saves in quick succession from the French midfielder and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The impressive Belgian was again called in to action making a fine save from Cavani’s bullet header. Moments later Chelsea scored that vital away goal. John Terry crossed, Cahil flicked on and Ivanovic rose imperiously to head past Salvatore Sirigu. That was his first European goal since scoring in the Europa League final.
PSG were resurgent after the break and Chelsea had to defend wave after wave of attack. The inevitable equaliser came in the 54th minute. Matuidi found space in the left channel and his cross was perfect for Cavani, who found space between Terry and Cahill to head the ball down and past the hapless Courtois. PSG were now in control and pressed forward looking for a second. Chelsea held firm and Courtois was called upon again late in stoppage to push away Imbrahimovic’s powerful downward header.
Chelsea will feel that they have a slight advantage, but the return leg, next month, will be another nervy memorable night back at the Bridge.