2-1 would have been a good result. Not a great result, obviously, since Chelsea were doing just fine in the first half and easily could have been leading at the break, but a good one. Paris Saint-Germain are a very strong side, albeit not a fantastic one, and 2-1 away from home would have put
us in great position to qualify for the semifinals.
But 3-1 away from home? 3-1 away is much harder. There's a reason why our comeback against Napoli in 2012 was legendary -- it's because it was almost impossible to achieve. And now to advance, we have to do the same thing, against a better team. And, it should be noted, without Didier Drogba.
The match began badly. The hosts started on the front foot and went ahead in the third minute after a bizarre combination of errors on a simple cross. Under no pressure, John Terry nodded straight to the completely unmarked Ezequiel Lavezzi, who chested down and then blasted a classy finish in off the crossbar.
With PSG's ability to kill off games, conceding early was a very bad sign, but the Parisians ended up letting us back into it and eventually handed us a lifeline through the unlikely figure of Thiago Silva, who managed to insert himself into the middle of an interchange between Willian and Oscar by fouling the latter. In the penalty box.
Eden Hazard stepped up to take the spot kick, which meant Eden Hazard scored the spot kick. It's what he does.
The momentum of the tie seemed then to have changed completely. Chelsea had that crucial away goal and the Parc des Princes was rocking. The Blues had PSG on the back foot, holding possession in their half and could have taken the lead through Hazard, who met a dinked ball from Willian with an audacious left-footed volley which beat Salvatore Sirigu but crashed off the foot of the post.
At halftime, at 1-1, the tie looked safe. All we needed to do was to keep it up. We didn't.
The intensity dropped markedly after the break, and it was increasingly obvious that a PSG goal was coming. With Ramires on a booking (he'll miss the next game), they found it far too easy to march through our midfield once they had their tails up, and eventually we'd pay the price. David Luiz gave away a needless free kick against Blaise
Matuidi, and Lavezzi's delivery evaded a cluster of players only to be turned in by the centre-back-cum-midfielder.
At 2-1, the match was a slightly different proposition, and Jose Mourinho responded by deploying Fernando Torres for Andre Schurrle, who'd been a surprise starter up front. Torres singularly failed to do much of anything, and in that especially infuriating Torres way where it all looks promising before it goes to hell, sort of like an £180,000 per week Salomon Kalou minus the cheeky grin.
It wasn't just Torres who failed to do much, though. The entirely forward line could and should have done better -- we had several opportunities to counterattack with PSG outnumbered and ended up taking a total of zero shots from those positions, which was deeply annoying.
Anyway, 2-1 was where the match was meant to stay. There were a couple of scary moments -- Zlatan Ibrahimovic got injured and that led to a reshuffle in which everyone else assumed their proper positions, leading to a Lucas Moura rampage through the middle and a near-miss from an Edinson Cavani curler -- but by and large it looked like we'd take a good result back to Stamford Bridge next week.
And then Pastore happened.
Javier Pastore will
haunt my dreams. HE WILL HAUNT THEM.
He'll probably be haunting Petr Cech's too, and it's not as though any of Frank Lampard, Cesar Azpilicueta and John Terry covered themselves in glory when the Argentinian picked up possession on the PSG right, danced through half the team and finished from a frankly stupid angle to make it 3-1.
3-1? 3-1. Crap. Lots of work to be done next week.
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