Paris sunk by Chelsea subs as Blues reach semis
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
Chelsea FC 2-0 Paris Saint-Germain (agg: 3-3, Chelsea win on away goals)
Substitutes André Schürrle and Demba Ba made the difference as Chelsea struck late to knock out the French champions on away goals and reach the semis.
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Demba Ba came up with the golden touch with three minutes remaining to blast Chelsea FC into the UEFA Champions League semi-finals and break the hearts of a Paris Saint-Germain side who were so close to pulling off a famous triumph.
The strike, ensuring Chelsea's success on away goals, sent José Mourinho hurtling down the touchline to celebrate with his players. Considering the woodwork twice intervened to prevent them adding to substitute André Schürrle's first-half goal sooner, no one would question Chelsea's right to a seventh semi-final.
It had the makings of one of the great European nights at Stamford Bridge with both sets of supporters in good voice and the tie promising heady drama. It was no surprise to see Samuel Eto'o recalled to the Chelsea colours while Frank Lampard's return could only enhance their goalscoring potential.
First the home team had to free themselves from the Paris shackles. Quick into the tackle, the visitors restricted Chelsea's room to work. A source of Chelsea progress was likely to be via the quick feet of Eden Hazard but the Belgian international was struggling from early on and replaced by Schürrle after 17 minutes.
The change would not have dimmed Paris's confidence and only their loose passes back to Salvatore Sirigu were a cause for alarm at this stage. Until the 28th minute, that is, when Lampard's free-kick deflected off a Paris head and forced a rapid reaction from the goalkeeper. It heralded an increase in the Chelsea tempo with Schürrle seeing plenty of the ball. He chose an opportune time to open his European goal account for the club, side-footing in after David Luiz had helped on a long throw.
Thiago Silva recovered from a heavy collision with Eto'o to continue at the heart of the Paris resistance. His experience would be needed as Chelsea renewed their pursuit of a second goal with vigour. Oscar carried the fight to the edge of the area and when Willian pulled the ball back, Schürrle was so unlucky to see his first-time effort crash against the crossbar. Two minutes later and Oscar's free-kick met the same fate while at the other end Ezequiel Lavezzi's set-piece delivery was palmed out by Petr Čech, the keeper's first serious involvement.
As the game became stretched so Edinson Cavani came more into the picture. He was found with a couple of exquisite passes, firstly from Blaise Matuidi then from Yohan Cabaye. He took the shot on but each time cleared the bar.
Ba and Fernando Torres came on to beef up the attack. It paid off when César Azpilicueta's strike was diverted to Ba who managed to scoop the ball high into the net with his outstretched leg. Cue pandemonium.