In the Champions League round of 16 matches played on Tuesday night, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea played out a 1-1 draw while it ended goalless between Shakhtar Donetsk and Bayern Munich at the Arena Lviv.
Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic
opened the scoring in the 36th minute
to give Chelsea the lead at the Parc des Princes, but at interval PSG forward Edinson Cavani cancelled out Ivanovic’s opener in the 54th minute.
It was a goal remarkable for doing entirely without forwards, wide men or midfielders. A set piece had broken down but not left the danger zone and John Terry sprinted out to the left to recover the loose ball. He whipped in an early cross, flicked on by his central defensive partner Gary Cahill and falling to right back Ivanovic.
As is his style in important games, he seized the moment and directed a deft header past goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu. It was very clinical, very Chelsea. They had to defend much the same way, as Paris upped the tempo after the first half.
Jose Mourinho’s side take small advantage back to west London in the second leg on March 11 due to the away goal rule.
It was an outstanding performance from Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and a second-half in which PSG found a fresh level of menace and a pointer to what the Blues should expect at Stamford Bridge next month.
Edinson Cavani’s 55th minute equaliser was not the half of it. There were at least three other good goalscoring chances from a PSG side that can never be undermined, no matter what the history books say about the record of French teams in England.
Cavani was a constant threat and while Zlatan Ibrahimovic has never scored against a Jose Mourinho defence, he came devilishly close on two occasions.
PSG goal came after a Blaise Matuidi cross was poorly read by Gary Cahill, allowing Cavani a free header from his favourite place on the edge of the six yard box. It was the one occasion on the night when Courtois was rendered powerless.
Meanwhile, David Luiz’s first game against his former club was a mixed bag. Played in midfield in place of the injured Thiago Motta, he had a dust-up with Diego Costa, took one from Cesc Fabregas, gave plenty back, but appeared to lose Branislav Ivanovic for Chelsea’s first goal.
Elsewhere at the Lviv Stadium, the first leg of this last-16 tie was a tetchy affair between Shakhtar and Bayern.
Pep Guardiola’s side managed to get nowhere near the level of performance
managed in their 8-0 Bundesliga drubbing of Hamburg at the weekend.
Shakhtar looked rusty no surprise given they have not played a competitive game since matchday six and failed to capitalise on Xabi Alonso’s second-half sending off.
Alonso’s red card on his 100th Champions League appearance did not cost Bayern as they secured a goalless draw away ahead of the return leg at the Allianz Arena on March 11.
Alonso was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence with 25 minutes remaining, but it did little to change the match played out in sub-zero temperatures in Ukraine.
There was a break in play after a challenge between Luiz Adriano and Alonso a collision both recovered from, albeit the latter was soon exiting the field.
The midfielder was adjudged to have brought down Alex Teixeira and received a second yellow card, reducing Munich to 10 men for the final 25 minutes.
It was one of 35 fouls on the night, with the sides sharing eight bookings.
Shakhtar are having to play more than 750 miles from Donetsk due to the ongoing political troubles in the region, weakening their chances of recording a first home win against Bundesliga visitors since 1980.
They exited the competition at this stage to Borussia Dortmund two years ago and early on it looked like a similar fate would await, with Rafinha forcing Andriy Pyatov into a save inside the opening minute.
The Shakhtar goalkeeper could only watch on helplessly shortly after when Bastian Schweinsteiger met a lovely, clipped ball from Arjen Robben, although the strike flew just wide.
Robben was squeezed out after being the beneficiary of a free-kick routine, before the Dutchman playing in Thomas Muller to hit a cross-shot that Olexandr Kucher cleared from danger.
Shakhtar were struggling to get a grip of their visitors and tempers soon began to fray, with Darijo Srna fortunate not to be sent off for moving his head towards Jerome Boateng’s after Alonso was booked for a poor challenge.
From that, Bayern ‘keeper Manuel Neuer only managed to gather Yaroslav Rakitskiy’s driven strike at the second attempt, a rare moment of respite for the hosts, who were soon back on the defence as Muller turned over a Franck Ribery cut back.