BRANISLAV IVANOVIC NETS AGAIN AS CHELSEA DRAW AT PSG



Branislav Ivanovic continued his priceless knack for netting important goals as his header helped Chelsea secure a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Paris Saint Germain in the first-leg of their Champions League last-16 showdown.

The Serbian made it three in his last five outings as he followed up crucial efforts against Liverpool and Aston Villa to give Jose Mourinho's men what could be a vital away goal in the context of this tie.
The Blues were soundly beaten by a 3-1 scoreline on their previous visit to the Parc des Princes last season, and could have fallen behind early on had it not been for the agility of Thibaut Courtois who kept out headers from Blaise Matuidi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (twice).
Chelsea rarely threatened but grabbed the lead on 36 minutes when John Terry's cross was flicked on by Gary Cahill for Ivanovic to guide home.
The hosts upped the ante in the second period and deservedly pulled level when Edinson Cavani nodded in the lively Matuidi's left-wing cross.
Courtois was called into action again late on as the hosts looked for the winner but he twice kept out Ibrahimovic while Cavani stabbed just wide as the Blues nervously held on to take a 1-1 draw back to the Bridge.

KEY MOMENTS
PRE-MATCH: Thibaut Courtois returns between the sticks in place of Petr Cech for Chelsea. Cesc Fabregas is recalled following illness while Diego Costa leads the line. PSG have a host of injury problems to contend with and name an attacking line-up that sees ex-Blue David Luiz deployed in a holding midfield role. 
11' - DOUBLE SAVE! Matuidi forces a smart save out of Courtois with a towering header before almost turning provider with a left-wing cross for Zlatan just seconds later, but the Belgian keeper is there again to deny the Swede. 
34' - PSG CHANCE! Cavani meets Lavezzi's out-swinging corner at the near post and almost sneaks it beyond Courtois who does well to push it to safety. 
36' - GOAL! PSG 0-1 CHELSEA. The visitors lead. Ivanovic leaps to guide a superb header into the top corner after Cahill had flicked on Terry's left-wing cross. 
54' - GOAL! PSG 1-1 CHELSEA. Cavani is left unmarked just outside the six-yard box and makes Chelsea pay with a cool header into the corner from Matuidi's sublime left-wing cross. 
60' - PSG CHANCE! Courtois manages to keep out Zlatan's low attempt from 10 yards before Azpilicueta somehow denies Matuidi on the follow-up. 
81' - CLOSE! Cavani bursts into the left side of the area and shows lovely footwork before stabbing just wide of the far post. 
90' - PENALTY SHOUT! Ramires blocks Pastore on the edge of the box. It's blatant but the referee doesn't see it! 
90+2' - WHAT A SAVE! Courtois denies Zlatan's header at the death! What a stop. How crucial will that be in the outcome of this tie? 

KEY STATS
Ivanovic's goal was the fourth Champions League goal this season to be both scored and assisted by a defender.
Chelsea have scored nine goals from set pieces in the Champions League this season; three more than any other side (R Madrid 6).
Branislav Ivanovic has scored seven goals in the CL since 2009, more than any other defender.
Edinson Cavani has scored 6 goals in 7 Champions League games this season
PSG have never failed to score in their last 19 home games in European competition.
PSG have only lost one of their last nine Champions League knockout games (W4 D4),
PSG are unbeaten in their last 33 home games in European competition (W22 D10), longest ever run for a French club.
Chelsea are still one of three teams still unbeaten in this season’s Champions League, alongside Porto and Real Madrid.
Diego Costa has not scored in any of his last seven CL games; his last goal in the competition came against Chelsea (April 2014). 

TALKING POINT. Branislav Ivanovic goal machine! The Chelsea defender has made a real habit of popping up with important goals during his Stamford Bridge career and this one is right up there. The Serb is one of the Premier League's unsung heroes and deserves more recognition for his ability to combine solid, no-nonsense defending with significant contributions in the attacking third. 

MAN OF THE MATCH
Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea). Came back into the side and proved just why he has kept Petr Cech out for the majority of this season with a series of top drawer saves that could well prove defining moments in this tie. 

PLAYER RATINGS 
PSG: Sirigu 6; van der Wiel 7, Silva 7, Marquinhos 6, Maxwell 6; Luiz 7, Verratti 7, Matuidi 8; Lavezzi 7, Ibrahimovic 7, Cavani 7. Subs: Pastore 6. 
Chelsea: Courtois 9; Ivanovic 8, Terry 8, Cahill 7, Azpilicueta 7; Matic 8, Ramires 7; Willian 6, Fabregas 6, Hazard 6; Costa 5. Subs: Cuadrado 5, Remy n/a, Oscar n/a.

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