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Sport

PSG beat Chelsea 3-1 in first leg of Champions League quarter-finals

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-02

Paris Saint-Germain defeated Chelsea 3-1 in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals at Paris’s Parc des Princes on Wednesday, with a brilliant last goal by Javier.

Argentinian striker Ezequiel Lavezzi gave PSG an early lead before Eden Hazard brought Chelsea level from the penalty spot in the 27th minute.

The hosts regained the lead in the 61st minute against an unambitious Chelsea as Lavezzi's wickedly curling free kick was put into his own net by David Luiz.

PSG, however, could be without its top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic for next week's return at Stamford Bridge after the striker hobbled off injured in the second half.

Chelsea were without a key attacking element of their own for this game with Samuel Eto'o sidelined due to injury, and yet manager Jose Mourinho left Fernando Torres on the bench at kick-off, with Andre Schuerrle preferred to the Spaniard in attack.

PSG, meanwhile, were at full strength with the exception of the injured Gregory Van der Wiel, whose place in the side was again covered by Christophe Jallet.

The home side were expected to control possession but few could have foreseen the extent to which they came flying out of the blocks.

Marco Verratti had the game's first shot on goal after just 17 seconds and the opening goal arrived inside four minutes, mixing delightful build-up play with some questionable defending.

Thiago Motta worked the ball out to Blaise Matuidi on the left, and the France midfielder's cross was met by the head of Chelsea captain John Terry. However, he could only knock the ball down for Lavezzi, who controlled on his chest before firing into the net off the underside of the bar on the half-volley.

It was the Argentine's sixth goal in PSG's last 10 games and Chelsea looked in shock. Soon after Lavezzi was chopped down by Ramires and the Brazilian picked up a booking that rules him out of next week's return leg.

Lavezzi then outpaced Gary Cahill to latch on to an Ibrahimovic through ball before shooting into the side-netting, but by now the expected roles had been reversed, and PSG were playing on the break.

Hazard leaves PSG rattled

The visitors had started to take the game by the scruff of the neck as they went in search of an equaliser, and they were gifted a penalty in the 27th minute when Oscar went down following an uncharacteristically rash challenge in the box by his compatriot Thiago Silva.

Eden Hazard, who won the French title on the same ground with Lille three years ago, sent goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu the wrong way from the resulting spot-kick.

Chelsea might even have taken the lead before the interval when Hazard connected first-time with a hanging Willian cross on the left-hand side of the area, but his volley struck the far post and rebounded to safety.

PSG had failed to make the most of their stunning start but they regrouped at the interval and almost seized the lead for the second time on 52 minutes, Lavezzi heading just over from another Matuidi left-wing cross.

And just after the hour mark they were back in front, Luiz conceding a foul wide on the left and then helping Lavezzi's wicked delivery into the net.

PSG's momentum was checked again midway through the second period when Ibrahimovic hurt himself playing a pass to Jallet in midfield and hobbled off clutching the back of his right thigh.

But the home fans' concern for the Swede's fitness was forgotten when Pastore, a late replacement for Lavezzi, wriggled away from the challenges of Cesar Azpilicueta and Frank Lampard before beating Cech at his near post.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-04-02

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