Courtois hands Chelsea win

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 12:11

PSG struck the first blow midway through the first half as Zlatan Ibrahimovic tapped home a rebound, only for Chelsea to hit back just after the break thanks to Victor Moses’s close-range strike.
However, there is no doubt that it was the Ligue 1 champions who looked the more polished of the two sides, with PSG only losing their way after making a raft of substitutions in the second period.
Before that, though, they played some impressive football, with Brazil playmaker Lucas Moura the standout performer in Charlotte, particularly in an eye-catching opening 45 minutes that saw his team lead at the break.
Chelsea holding midfielder John Obi Mikel was badly at fault for PSG’s opener after 25 minutes, however, after the experienced Nigeria international got caught napping on the edge of the area, with striker Jean-Kevin Augustin taking advantage by stealing possessoion before hitting the post with a low shot.
Unfortunately for Mikel, the rebound fell straight at the feet of PSG captain Ibrahimovic, with the forward making no mistake with an accurate finish high into the net from six yards out past a helpless Asmir Bergovic in the Chelsea goal.
Thereafter it was PSG who dictated the tempo of the game in front of a large crowd at Bank of America Stadium.
New Chelsea ‘keeper Begovic was called upon on several occasions to keep the scoreline at 1-0 as the Bosnian – recently signed from Stoke City – denied the likes of both Augustin and Lucas before the interval.
For much of the second period the pattern of play continued in one direction, towards the Chelsea goal, which was this time occupied by first-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, but without PSG ever testing the big Belgian to the same extent as they had Begovic before the break.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the Premier League champions equalised through the one piece of play befitting their status
A swift counterattack and a delicious lofted ball to the back post by Cesc Fabregas picked out the unmarked Moses, who made no mistake with a controlled volleyed finish after 65 minutes.
However, despite there still being a quarter of the contest to play, the match then petered out amid a raft of changes – including Radamel Falcao’s introduction for his Chelsea debut – as both coaches took the chance to cast their eyes over new players, resulting in the game going to penalties.
Both sides missed one spot kick before sudden death was needed – Juan Cuadrado first for Chelsea, followed immediately by Jean-Christophe Bahebeck for PSG.
Thiago Silva’s weak effort was then easily saved by Courtois, giving the Chelsea ‘keeper the opportunity to fire powerfully into the net and hand his team the win.

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