UCL: Cavani downs Chelsea, Benfica beat Zenit

A late Edinson Cavani strike saw PSG take a 2-1 first leg lead over Chelsea at the Parc des Princes in Paris while Benfica beat Zenit St. Petersburg 1-0 thanks to a 90th minute goal from Brazilian forward Jonas.

Sport360 staff
by Sport360 staff
16th February 2016

article:16th February 2016

Match-winner: Cavani.
Match-winner: Cavani.

John Obi Mikel scored a vital away goal for Chelsea as Paris St Germain inflicted the first defeat of Guus Hiddink’s second spell in charge at Parc des Princes.

Mikel made amends for conceding a free-kick from which Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored to put PSG 1-0 up in the Champions League last-16 first leg. The striker’s shot deflected off Mikel, who equalised from close range for a rare goal, before substitute Edison Cavani struck to earn PSG a 2-1 win and end Hiddink’s 11-match unbeaten run.

The Dutchman will be content, though as Mikel’s first Chelsea goal since December 2014 means the Blues have a vital away goal ahead of the March 9 return at Stamford Bridge.

Away goals have separated these sides in the Champions League in each of the last two seasons.

Chelsea might have had theirs sooner had it not been for a fine reflex save from Kevin Trapp. Trapp stuck out a hand to save a Diego Costa header which had looked destined for the back of the net and ended up hitting the bar.

Lucas Moura had impressed early on and almost provided the opener for Ibrahimovic – but the Swede headed the ball into the ground.

Moura then burst by three Chelsea players before he was tripped by Mikel, who was booked. Ibrahimovic’s free-kick hit the midfielder and wrong-footed Thibaut Courtois.

Six minutes remained until half-time and Chelsea replied when Costa met Willian’s corner ahead of Ibrahimovic, getting enough of a flick-on for the ball to drop for Mikel. He finished emphatically from six yards for his sixth goal in 358 Chelsea games.

Trapp raced off his line to deny Costa early in the second half before Courtois repelled PSG time and again – only for his defences to eventually be breached for a second time.

First Courtois tipped Angel di Maria’s effort over, then he blocked an Ibrahimovic shot and next he saved from Moura.

Chelsea were defending deep, inviting pressure.

Courtois denied Di Maria from a free-kick before the former Manchester United winger played a fine ball over the top for Cavani, who stayed onside before tucking the ball under the goalkeeper from a tight angle.

Elsewhere, Benfica have a slender 1-0 advantage over Zenit St Petersburg after striker Jonas’ injury-time goal at the Estadio da Luz.

Neither team really ever got going in Portugal and it looked destined to finish goalless until Jonas popped up with his 25th goal of the season, shortly after Zenit left-back Domenico Criscito was sent off for a second yellow card.

He will miss the second leg in three weeks’ time along with team-mate Javi Garcia and Benfica duo Vieira Jardel and Gomes Andre Almeida, who all came into Tuesday night’s game one booking away from a suspension and received a caution.