Chelsea visited Parc Des Princes with a change in plan, where Mourinho decided to adopt to a 4-3-3 formation for the First Leg – Round of 16 UEFA Champions League.
Courtois and Cahill came in for Cech and Zouma in the defence after their absence in the game against Everton. Fabregas, Matic and Ramires were the 3 midfielders selected for this game.
Chelsea started the game trying to control the ball in midfield and being extremely patient, waiting for their chances. The first threat of the game came in the 10th minute where PSG sent 2 teasing crosses into the box followed by 2 headers by Blaise Matuidi and Ibrahimovic, both being saved by Courtois.
Chelsea’s first chance came in the 25th minute when Hazard shot on the right flank inside the box. However, the shot was easily saved by Sirigu. Four minutes later, Hazard was fouled outside the box and the resultant free-kick was whipped in by Fabregas where Sirigu made a punch.
In the 33rd minute, PSG won the first corner of the game where the ball was delivered into the box and Cavani’s header was directed towards the top corner. However, he did not get the chance to celebrate as Courtois made a nice reflex save.
Out of nothing, Chelsea took the lead in Paris. Terry sent a cross from the left flank into the box with Cahill’s back heel pass going into Ivanovic’s path where he sends a thumping header over Sirigu into the back of the net. A goal combined by 3 defenders and Chelsea leads 1-0. As for Ivanovic, he might not be a surprising scorer, as he always shows his presence when the teams needs him!
PSG won a freekick on the edge of the box in the 43rd minute but Ibrahimovic only saw his effort over the bar. It might not be the most eventful first half but Chelsea leads 1-0 at half time, where Chelsea’s only shot on target was converted into a goal.
The second half was under way and PSG equalised 9 minutes into the game, with a cross from the left by Matuidi which found Cavani unmarked right in front of goal. The striker made no mistake and sent his header pass Courtois.
PSG almost took the lead 3 minutes later when Ibrahimovic did a clever one-two with Lavezzi. Ibrahimovic’s shot was first saved by Courtois and the follow-up from Lavezzi was deflected from Terry and blocked by Azpilicueta.
More chances for PSG as Chelsea backed off after scoring the goal in the first half. In the 66th minute PSG had a freekick being sent into the box and David Luiz’s header was tipped over the bar by Courtois.
PSG was dangerous again in the 80th minute when Cavani dribbled pass Matic and toe-poked a shot towards the far post in the box. Luckily, the shot sailed just wide of the post.
PSG’s last dangerous attack came in the last minute when Maxwell’s cross was linked up by Ibrahimovic’s header, but Courtois made sure that Chelsea can leave Paris without a loss. The game ends with a draw and the second leg is two weeks away to be played at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho should be satisfied with the draw as Chelsea came to Paris with a clear game plan for not bringing a loss into the second leg. Mourinho’s tactics has certainly worked. After Chelsea scored the opening goal, they backed off and created little chances. The players did not panic even after PSG’s equaliser and Mourinho should have briefed the players about that. The draw should be within the manager’s expectation. A draw is actually an acceptable result given that Parc Des Princes is not an easy stadium to play in and we had a crucial away goal. A goalless draw or a win at home 2 weeks later will send us into the quarter-finals.
Courtois had made a couple of important saves tonight to make sure that Chelsea does not suffer a loss. It is expected that his confidence will be restored after his wonderful performance tonight.
Chelsea would now have to put their focus back on the Premier League ahead of Saturday’s game against Burnley, before thinking about how to cope with PSG in the Second Leg at Bridge!
The second leg will be held on March 11, 2015 in London.
Edited By: Harshal