Champions League

PSG seek Chelsea revenge

2015-03-11 07:58
Thiago Motta (AFP)

London - Eleven months on, but with the same coach and broadly the same team, Paris Saint-Germain return to Chelsea on Wednesday seeking to prove their worth as a Champions League force.

In last season's quarter-finals, PSG came to Stamford Bridge leading 3-1 from the first leg and with a huge 13-point advantage in Ligue 1, only to crash out after Demba Ba's 87th-minute strike took Chelsea through on away goals.

This season, a round earlier, the tie is more delicately balanced at 1-1, and it is Chelsea who are dominating domestically, five points clear in the Premier League with a game in hand, while in France, PSG trail Lyon by a point.

But in contrast to last season, PSG have Zlatan Ibrahimovic fit and in form, with the giant Swede having scored his third goal in four games and provided a delightful assist for Javier Pastore in Saturday's 4-1 defeat of Lens.

Laurent Blanc's side have now gone 14 matches without defeat in all competitions and despite their failure to recapture last season's heights, they remain in contention for an unprecedented four-trophy haul.

"We're halfway through a two-legged tie," said Blanc, who has spoken of an opportunity to "change the perception" of PSG.

"Chelsea have a slight advantage because they scored a very important away goal. We have to do what they did in Paris. That's our objective.

"We know what we have to do, and Chelsea too, although they also have to ask themselves whether to attack or defend. But we know we have to score at least one goal to qualify."

With PSG's owners, Qatar Sports Investments, having taken over at the Parc de Princes eight years after Roman Abramovich first brought his rubles to Stamford Bridge, the French champions have had to face the barrier of Financial Fair Play (FFP), which Chelsea did not have to worry about when Jose Mourinho was building the first great team of the Abramovich era.

The FFP sanctions that PSG were hit with last year restricted their close-season transfer activity, but they were nonetheless able to splash out an astonishing $54.5 million to sign David Luiz from Chelsea.

The Brazil centre-back deputised for Thiago Motta in central midfield in the first leg, but with the Italy international fit again after a calf injury, Luiz is expected to take his place in an all-Brazilian back line alongside Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Maxwell.

In Lucas Moura's absence, Pastore is due to link up with Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani -- who cancelled out Branislav Ivanovic's opener in the first leg -- in Blanc's three-pronged attack.


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