Chelsea need to overturn a two-goal deficit when they host Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of their quarter-final encounter in the UEFA Champions League at Stamford Bridge in London on Tuesday evening.
A dismal showing in the return fixture last week in Paris saw PSG slot three past a beleaguered Chelsea. Ezequiel Lavezzi’s brilliant strike in the fourth minute was cancelled out by a Eden Hazard penalty in the 27th.
However, the home side proved to be too strong for the visitors in the second half, and a PSG free kick was turned into his own goal by Chelsea defender David Luiz. Substitute Javier Pastore compounded Chelsea’s misery with a coolly taken goal in the 93rd minute, which the Blues’ manager Jose Mourinho later referred to as a “joke”.
To advance to the semi-finals, the Londoners will be required to bring back the steel which saw them overcome the same two goal disadvantage with a spirited 4-1 home win against SSC Napoli in the 2011-12 version of the tournament, which they later went on to win. Incidentally, both Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani were part of the Napoli squad that year.
In the domestic competition over the weekend, Chelsea gave a professional performance in seeing off Stoke City 3-0 at home. However, striker Samuel Eto’o’s fitness is still under question and he may not be available for selection in this crucial encounter.
Paris St. Germain continued their good run of form to beat Stade Reims 3-0 at the Parc des Princes on Saturday evening, with a goal from striker Cavani and two own goals from the extremely unlucky Aissa Mandi. The current league leaders now have a four point advantage over second placed Monaco.
PSG are having a great European season too, scoring 14 goals in four away matches. However, the visitors will be without the services of talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic who is out for four weeks following a hamstring injury in the first leg last week.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who has admitted that they are out of the domestic league title race this season, knows that the UEFA Champions League is his best chance of silverware this season, and the Blues will have to give all they have to defeat the high-flying Parisiens.