Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Chelsea: Cavani, Zlatan give PSG first leg edge

Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
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  • Ibrahimovic, Cavani give PSG win
  • Courtois keeps it close
  • Mikel picks up away goal for Blues
  • Return leg March 9 at Stamford Bridge

Edinson Cavani’s terrific finish of a team goal lifted Paris Saint-Germain to a 2-1 victory over Chelsea at the Parc des Princes in Tuesday’s first leg of a UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s free kick goal was PSG’s other goal, while John Obi Mikel made amends for deflecting Ibrahimovic’s shot past Courtois by scoring just before halftime.

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Ibrahimovic bent an arrow just over the upper left corner in the 12th minute as a PSG free kick was the first bit of danger for either side.

Chelsea’s first great chance was spurned by PSG’s keeper, after Diego Costa‘s offside run went uncalled and his header was slapped over the goal by Kevin Trapp.

Ibrahimovic was sitting on a yellow card after 20 minutes, but that didn’t stop him from pounding a header into the ground that bounded over the bar.

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He didn’t miss on his next attempt, albeit aided by Chelsea. Mikel hacked down Lucas, then saw Ibrahimovic’s low free kick take a turn off his shin to wrong-foot Thibaut Courtois. 1-0, PSG.

PSG’s wall held up to a rare Chelsea chance when Willian‘s free kick was headed out for a corner. The Brazilian’s corner kick was then cleared away for a Chelsea throw.

Yet Mikel giveth, and he taketh away from PSG, given time to settle and finish a corner from Willian in stoppage time. 1-1 at half.

PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 16:  John Mikel Obi of Chelsea (L) celebrates with Gary Cahill as he scores their first and equalising goal past goalkeeper Kevin Trapp of Paris Saint-Germain during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea at Parc des Princes on February 16, 2016 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

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Trapp made a terrific stop after a Willian counter sprung Diego Costa 1v1 with the sliding keeper, and the match remained even at 1.

Angel Di Maria tried his luck from more than 30 yards away, and Courtois had to sacrifice a corner from the high but dipping shot. Soon after, Courtois stopped an in-tight shot from Ibrahimovic for a corner.

Lucas a was a troublemaker for the makeshift Chelsea back line. Courtois parried his chance in the 61st minute.

Guus Hiddink went with a like-for-like offensive swap of Oscar for Eden Hazard, but it was PSG’s sub that paid dividends. Cavani caught an otherwise-brilliant Branislav Ivanovic unaware, and darted in to finish a great team goal he started in his own half. 2-1, 78′.

Courtois made a solid in-tight stop on Ibrahimovic in the first moments of stoppage time to keep Chelsea within a goal.