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UEFA Champions League roundup: PSG, Benfica take leads on Chelsea, Zenit

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Two very different UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first legs were staged on Tuesday in Paris and Lisbon.

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One saw exceptionally physical, fouling soccer punctuated by a stoppage time winner, while another saw a trio of interesting goals send a Premier League side home with the solace of an away goal.

Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 ChelseaRECAP

John Obi Mikel looked to be the goat, before making up for his early gaffe; The needless foul he put on Lucas allowed Zlatan Ibrahimovic to bounce a free kick off him and in, but Mikel found an equalizer within 7 minutes and sent the match to halftime tied at 1.

It turned out Edinson Cavani in the role of super sub would steal the show, starting and capping off a well-worked team goal to send PSG into the second leg with a 2-1 leg. Will Chelsea’s away goal end up the difference come March 9 at Stamford Bridge?

Benfica 1-0 Zenit St. PetersburgRECAP

It’s a long trip from St. Petersburg to Lisbon, and the Russian visitors won’t enjoy knowing they were 60 seconds from emerging from the first leg with a 0-0 draw. Nicolas Gaitan’s late cross was headed home by Brazil’s Jonas, and Benfica has a 1-0 advantage heading to Russia next month.

Wednesday’s 2:45 p.m. ET kickoffs
Roma vs. Real Madrid
Gent vs. Wolfsburg

Benfica 1-0 Zenit St. Petersburg: Eight yellows and one late Jonas goal

AP Photo/Armando Franca
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  • Eight yellow cards in testy tie
  • Gaitan finds Jonas for stoppage winner
  • Return leg at Noon ET on March 9 in Russia.

A tightly-contested match at the Estádio da Luz saw Benfica and Zenit St. Petersburg trading shoves more than shots before the home side found a late winner on Tuesday in a first leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

Benfica attempted more shots than Zenit, but neither side produced much danger until Nicolas Gaitan’s cross was buried by the head of Jonas for a 1-0 win.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

The first half saw Benfica with a load of possession, but just one big chance when Jonas’ 25-yard shot deflected within a hair of the far post.

Zenit had a chance itself, as Hulk battered a low free kick that skipped wide of the Benfica goal.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

[ MORE: Watch full Premier League match replays ]

The match was more memorable for its chippy nature than scoring chances, with eight yellows handed out.

The winner came with a red card, as a second yellow was given to Zenit’s Domenico Criscito. Fittingly, Jonas was given a yellow himself for excessively celebrating his winner.