Chelsea stunned Paris Saint Germain to enter the Semi Finals of the Champions League for the 7th time in 10 years.
A 32nd minute strike from substitute Andre Schurrle lifted the team up, increasing the desire to win. Then the thrilling 87th minute goal poached by fringe striker Demba Ba ensured that Chelsea completed an amazing and difficult comeback.
This was the second time that Chelsea turned a 3-1 first leg deficit at home against Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani. Two years back it was their Napoli who were beaten 4-1.
The home team had a lot to worry about in terms of squad depth. Ramires was suspended for this game because of accumulated yellow cards. Matic and Salah were ineligible because they are cup-tied whereas John Obi Mikel and Samuel Eto’o were not fully fit.
Under these circumstances, Jose Mourinho chose to field the rather incompatible duo of Frank Lampard and David Luiz in the defensive pivot. Hazard, Oscar and Willian started behind the lone striker Samuel Eto’o who was chosen despite not being “very fit”.
Starting Line-up: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry(c), Azpilicueta; David Luiz, Lampard; Oscar, Willian, Hazard; Samuel Eto’o.
Paris Saint Germain had one of their marquee players in the form of Zlatan Ibrahimovic out injured meaning Edinson Cavani had to play his favourite central striker role. Lucas Moura replaced Zlatan and he took up his ususal right wing/attacking midfield position.
The rest of the PSG squad was the same that beat Chelsea 3-1 at Parc des Princes. First choice right back Gregory van der Wiel was on the bench as manager Laurent Blanc thought of playing Christophe Jallet to maintain some momentum and not take any risk with the winning team.
Starting Line-up: Sirigu; Jallet, Alex, Thiago Silva (c), Maxwell; Motta, Verratti, Matuidi; Lucas, Lavezzi, Cavani.
The Blues started the first half in a nervy manner losing possession and looking sluggish at times.
But it was Chelsea who got the first chance as Oscar made his way to the by-line and his cut back met Eto’o who’s shot was covered by the PSG defenders.
Samuel Eto’o was looking sharp despite being back after an injury as he saw his shot deflected after he met Eden Hazard’s excellent low cross. He also looked lively as he almost got himself a poached goal when he closed down Sirigu who was unsure in possession and was taking too long to clear, but he ended up fouling the keeper.
Chelsea’s talisman Eden Hazard suffered a muscle injury and had to be substituted by Andre Schurrle in the 17th minute. Despite this not being a tactical change, Paris Saint Germain were off guard against the more direct and explosive play of the German winger.
Oscar was caught by Marco Verratti at the corner of the penalty box which resulted in the Italian’s yellow card and a Frank Lampard Free Kick in the 28th minute. The shot took a heavy deflection and Sirigu was required to save it with a full stretch dive.
The breakthrough goal came at the 32nd minute when Ivanovic supplied the long throw in to David Luiz who flicked a headed pass in the path of Andre Schurrle who was unmarked in the box. The German slotted in a composed side foot finish from 12 yards out to send Stamford Bridge into rapture.
There were penalty claims when Andre Schurrle collided with Marco Verratti inside the penalty box but the refree Pedro Proenca was not interested.
Gary Cahill had a glorious chance to put his team in pole position in the 37th minute when the ball bounced at his feet after a deflected free kick by Frank Lampard. He had a wild attempt but failed to make a strong contact hence fluffing the chance.
PSG were living dangerously in the early parts of the second half as Chelsea struck the woodwork twice in as many minutes when Andre Schurrle shot from Willian’s cut back struck the crossbar and Oscar’s delightful free kick beat Sirigu but not the frame.
Petr Cech made a strong save from Lavezzi’s whipped in free kick in the 57th minute after Ivanovic fouled Matuidi in the edge of the penalty box, which also got him booked, meaning he can’t feature in the first leg of the semi-final.
Jose Mourinho replaced Frank Lampard by Demba Ba as Chelsea looked to be more direct and attack. Demba Ba immediately added extra height up front as he headed the ball in the path of Schurrle who’s shot was deflected and subsequently saved by Sirigu.
Cavani and Maxwell missed two excellent chances around the 72nd minute as Chelsea’s sloppy passing and attack minded game created space for PSG.
Former Newcastle player Yohan Cabaye played in Cavani with an excellent through ball in the 77th minute but the Uruguayan failed to hit the target in what was PSG’s best chance of the night.
Mourinho then made his last substitution as he brought on Fernando Torres for Oscar, as he played his all three strikers at the same time for the very first time.
The winner came three minutes from full time when Azpilicueta’s shot was deflected and landed near Demba Ba in the far post who slid in and scooped home from six yards with a type of finish typical of his Chelsea career- a poached goal.
Cech had to make a final crucial save when Marquinhos’ driven shot was on target deep into the stoppage time.
Referee: Pedro Proenca (Portugal)