Chelsea’s Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain turned ugly when away supporters were pepper-sprayed by police inside the Parc des Princes.
As reported by the Daily Mail, officers from France’s anti-riot CRS unit sprayed Chelsea fans in an eerily similar scene to the events of last year.
When the two sides met in Paris in 2015, police and fans clashed outside the stadium. This time, however, the officers acted even during the game.
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Video footage shows canisters being pointed in the direction of Chelsea fans following John Obi Mikel’s first-half strike. Away fans sit mere metres from the PSG faithful in the near 50,000 capacity stadium and footage shows an officer aiming pepper-spray towards away fans and demanding they sit down.
It’s another regretful incident involving supporters of Chelsea and PSG. Last July, four Chelsea fans were banned from matches after footage showed a group of Blues supporters refusing a black commuter access to a carriage on the Paris Metro. They chanted, “We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it,” too.
In January, a video surfaced appearing to show Chelsea supporters destroying a a Munich cafe before the 2012 Champions League final. A group of Blues supporters surrounded a pile of broken chairs and tables while heckling a member of staff.
Tensions escalated on Tuesday evening when Mikel equalised for the Premier League side six minutes after Zlatan Ibrahimovic had given PSG the lead. However, the home team had the last laugh when Edinson Cavani scored the winner with 12 minutes remaining.
It leaves the last-16 tie finely poised - PSG have the advantage but Chelsea have an away goal. The away team were expected to succumb to a heavy loss due to the absence of John Terry and Kurt Zouma - forcing Guus Hiddink to select a makeshift centre-back pairing of Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic - but limited PSG’s potent attack to just two goals while scoring one of their own.
It’s no surprise Chelsea fans acted so raucously to Mikel’s leveller. A goal from the Nigerian is such a rare occasion - he has now scored six goals in almost 10 years at the club - that the travelling fans probably felled compelled to go over the top with their celebrations.
FA Cup favourites
The Champions League is one of only two competitions the Blues remain in with a chance of winning, the other being the FA Cup. They are currently 12th in the Premier League in what has been a woeful title defence, but Sunday’s tie against Manchester City presents the opportunity for the west London side to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament.
Should they overcome City, Chelsea will surely be considered among the favourites to lift the cup. Arsenal and Tottenham are arguably the two strongest teams left in the competition but both have league and European commitments.