Paris Saint-Germain secured their place in the quarter-finals of Europe’s elite football competition on Wednesday night, after surpassing Chelsea in a thrilling 120 minutes encounter.
The French team managed to come from behind twice despite playing with one less player after the 31st minute of the match, when striker ZlatanIbrahimovic was eliminated following a controversial referee decision. The night ended on level terms, 2-2, and the result sees PSG going through on virtue of having scored more goals away from home.
Things seemed to be going well for the London side. Having scored once in Paris, Chelsea needed either to win or not receive two goals in order to advance to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. After a hard tackle on Oscar, the referee decided to eliminate PSG star Ibrahimovic from the field, after just a little over thirty minutes of the game had passed. Chelsea players thought it was going to be an easy night from then on.
Ibrahimovic, 33, blamed the opposition for overreacting in hopes of persuading the referee to have him eliminated after his tackle, and replays showed the striker was right in his assumption. Pundits and players alike claimed the Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers didn’t “know what he’s doing,” after refusing to give a penalty-kick for Chelsea this time a few minutes later.
English defender Gary Cahill looked to settle things for Chelsea after scoring with a point blank shot on 81st minute. However, a few minutes before the regular time was about to end, former Chelsea player David Luiz brought the equalizer for PSG with a header after a corner.
The game went into extra-time, and Paris Saint-Germain players thought all was lost when a penalty-kick was awarded after a handball by Thiago Silva. The French team’s captain, Silva disappointed many after jumping recklessly with his hand in the air, giving the ref no choice but to point to the spot. Eden Hazard coolly converted the penalty into a goal.
However, it was a night that offered the Brazilian defender the chance to show people why he is wearing the armband in the French best team. Thiago Silva first tried to make things right in the 114th minute, but a world-class save from Chelsea goalkeeper ThibautCourtois denied him the goal. Silva redeemed himself only seconds later turning the score 2-2.
Many have criticized Chelsea’s coach Jose Mourinho’s cynical approach to the game, and last night proved to be a fruitful episode for those who hate him. Former Liverpool icon Graeme Sounesswas angered by Chelsea players’ reaction to Ibrahimovic’s challenge that saw the Swedish striker sent off.
Fellow Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher blamed Mourinho for encouraging this attitude. Replays showed London side striker Diego Costa pushing an opponent while the ref had his back turned in another attempt to provoke the PSG players into doing something wrong.
“Jose Mourinho could end up being the most successful manager ever but I don’t think him and his teams will be ever be loved because of actions like that. Does Mourinho care? I don’t think he probably cares. I think it’s sad,”Carragher said, labeling the employment of dirty tricks “disgraceful” for football.
The Portuguese manager made no comment on the issue at the press conference after the match. He congratulated PSG players, saying their team deserved the win, and pointed the finger at his men for conceding two goals after two corners, and not being able to control the match. “When a team cannot cope with the pressure of being one player and play at home a team doesn’t deserve to win. I think we couldn’t cope with that pressure,” Mourinho told reporters.
In the other UEFA Champions League encounter Wednesday night, the Germans from Bayern Munich crushed Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk 7-0 to advance to the quarter-finals.