Branislav Ivanovic, Captain on the day thanks to Terry's absence, started at center back for the first time since two games at the end of the 2013-14 season, when he and partner Tomas Kalas famously shut down Liverpool and Anfield and then collected a win on the final day of the season against Cardiff City. We have to go back even further for the pairing of Cahill-Ivanovic, last seen in the Europa League final in 2013. The crucial block in yesterday's game reminded a bit of the block in the last minute of that final against Benfica, though this time we didn't manage a last-minute dream goal. Instead, it was Edinson Cavani who undid our defense with an expert spin and a lucky finish.
Still, Ivanovic was proud of our efforts and the way we approached the game.
"It was a very difficult game, we tried to play our game and to score the away goal but in the end they scored a massive goal. It was very difficult moment for our team because of a lot of things, but we came here with courage and we tried to score the goal."
"We had a couple of chances before they scored the second goal. We could have won the game and scored a second one. We lost a bit of concentration in the end and we were a little bit open, and the strikers like Paris have use every single chance. We have to be more careful with this kind of thing because these small details can decide a game. We kept fighting, it was difficult and we will try to do everything to win at home to go through."
-Branislav Ivanovic; source: BT Sport via FourFourTwo
That away goal could prove most crucial; a 1-0 home win for Chelsea would be enough to advance. Chances are we will be back to our usual defensive configuration by then — the second leg is not for another three weeks — though Baba Rahman certainly made a good case for more minutes yesterday and could give Hiddink a dilemma.