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Champions League: Chelsea 2 – Paris Saint Germain 2

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THE Brazilian was never a dull figure at Stamford Bridge. Ridiculed by some pundits for his risk taking, a cult hero for the fans for his hairstyle and humour.

Sold for £40 million last summer he came back to haunt his old team as his headed goal took this epic last 16 tie into extra time.

It was Thiago Silva’s goal six minutes from the end that settled this bad tempered, epic last 16 tie and sent ten man Paris St Germain into the quarter finals. But it was Luiz who was at the centre of everything Silva’s daft extra time hand ball had given Chelsea the lead through Eden Hazard’s penalty. But then his glorious looping header was the moment that left Chelsea devastated.

It was though no more than Luarent Blanc’s team deserved. PSG had played like heroes for more than an hour after key man Zlatan Ibrahimovic was harshly sent off by referee Bjorn Kuipers.

They should have scored when Edinson Cavani missed a sitter, fell behind when Gary Cahill scored, but never gave in as Luiz, inevitably, had his moment.

Chelsea looked to have done had done what they do under Jose Mourinho. Won the game. But Laurent Blanc’s classy side simply refused to give up. They kept going – a minute before his crucial goal Silva had seen another header brilliantly stopped by Thibaut Courtois. Seconds later he tried again – and PSG are in the quarter finals after a truly epic performance.

For Mourinho and Chelsea the title is now everything.

A year ago Blanc had felt the agony of going out in the quarter finals at Stamford Bridge thanks to an 87th minute Demba Ba goal, after his team had led 3-1 from the home leg. The word was that PSG’s Qatari impatient owners might well pull the trigger on Blanc if he failed again. But this was sweet revenge for the former France coach.

Mourinho as ever stirred the pot before kick off as he named PSG as the dirtiest side his team have faced all season, after Eden Hazard was fouled nine times in the first leg. Blanc in turn warned his team to watch for Chelsea and Diego Costa in particular’s dirty tricks. Anglo-French accord there was not.

But the tackles flew from the start – Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas both flattened early on. Then Luiz ended up on the deck.

But then Zlatan slid in late on Oscar leaving the Brazilian in a heap – and Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers instantly waved the red card. It looked very harsh indeed on the Swede, whose studs were not raised, and who had tried to pull out. But he was late.

But the French side picked themselves up and got on with it. Only a brilliant covering header from Terry denied Edinson Cavani. But then Costa weaved his mazy way through several tackles and was felled in the area – but for once Kuipers waved play on, to Chelsea’s fury. Then Chelsea had their second major stroke of good fortune. Thiago Motta put Cavani clean through, and the Uruguayan went round Thibaut Courtois – but with the goal gaping, drove his shot against the post.

But ten man PSG simply kept coming.

Costa was booked for a terrible tackle on Thiago Silva that could easily have been a red, and a squaring up to Luiz brought a yellow for both. Tempers were fraying all over the pitch and tackles flying. Kuipers had definitely not helped matters with that early, rash red card.

But then the breakthrough. Willian’s corner was not cleared by the PSG defence. Costa miscued, but Gary Cahill was there eight yards out to crash in a right footed volley.

Then Courtois was in the right place to stop Ezequiel Lavezzi’s header, and Pastore’s chip. But then from the corner Luiz met the ball with a thumping header that gave the Belgian no chance. It had had to be him.

Extra time should have seen Chelsea, with a man extra, home – especially when Hazard coolly rolled in the spot kick. But this Chelsea side are not yet adept at closing out games, and Silva punished them. This one will hurt. – Daily Express

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