A spirited 10 man PSG side moved into the last eight of the Champions League after a thrilling 2-2 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The home side were made to look like second best despite their numerical advantage but Chelsea would have little complaints on what was a disappointing night for Jose Mourinho’s men. Laurent Blanc though will take heart with his side’s herculean effort to reach the quarter-finals while UEFA’s referring ‘blemishes’ will arguably dominate headlines.
Here are some of the thing we learnt from Stamford Bridge:
Chelsea should have no complaints
Well, let’s admit it. Chelsea have lost their early season swagger and Jose Mourinho’s team no longer look insurmountable. Mourinho’s side were earlier unplayable given the creative brilliance of Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard’s dazzling abilities and Diego Costa’s finishing prowess. None of the three did really make a mark and were kept quiet by the French side. It’s time that Costa is probing between thin lines of stupidity and aggression and even the most ardent of Chelsea fans would say he was lucky to be on the pitch. PSG controlled the game with remarkable grace and rightly secured their passage to the last eight. As for once called the clown at Stamford Bridge, David Luiz had the last laugh.
Which side was the dirtier of the two
Mourinho’s pre-match venting about PSG’s supposedly aggressive play did the trick in getting Zlatan Ibrahimovic off. The Swede would be wondering how on earth did he get the marching orders as replays clearly suggested the PSG man didn’t even get a meat of Oscar’s legs. What made it worse was 10 Chelsea players surrounding the referee in a deliberate attempt to tilt the game in their favour. The plan worked but credit must be given to PSG players who played with a big heart and came back twice in the span of two hours of energy sapping football. As Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness summed it up, “It saddens me and makes me angry that gamesmanship is deciding big games.” Costa was unlucky not be given a penalty but the manner in which he shoved Marquinhos off the ball was unacceptable. Hazard too should have been given a yellow for his simulation.
PSG could well go far in the tournament
“Beating a team like Chelsea is crucial for our project”, said the PSG president, Nasser al-Khelaifi at the end of the game. The Qatari owners have spent millions in the Parisian side and it would be only fair to say that the project is slowly but surely coming off. PSG had been in last two years thwarted in the knockout stages despite being unbeaten over two legs, against Chelsea and before Barcelona in successive years. However, this huge victory would give them confidence and with a favourable draw, expect PSG to be dangerous opposition going further in the tournament.
Referee Bjorn Kuipers will be under the scanner
The Daily Telegraph have branded the behaviour of Chelsea’s players to surround Bjorn Kuipers to get Ibrahimovic sent off as disgraceful. However, the Dutch referee who is an experienced official will be under the scanner from here. He managed to get only a handful of decisions correct. Kuipers had earlier officiated 2011 UEFA Super Cup, the 2013 UEFA Europa League Final, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup Final as well as the 2014 UEFA Champions League final, thus you would expect better officiating from him. Diego Costa was lucky to be on the pitch after his shove on Marquinhos but Kuipers had turned his back to run away from the incident while Ibrahimovic’s challenge was never a red card.
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