Verratti misses PSG's Chelsea clash


London (AFP)

Influential midfielder Marco Verratti was absent from Paris Saint-Germain's squad for their Champions League last 16 second-leg match at Chelsea on Wednesday due to a groin injury.

The Italy international has missed his team's last three matches and although he trained with his team-mates at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, he was not able to prove his fitness in time.

Adrien Rabiot took Verratti's place in midfield alongside Thiago Motta and Blaise Matuidi for Laurent Blanc's side, who lead 2-1 from the first leg, with Javier Pastore on the bench.

Diego Costa returned up front for Chelsea after being rested for Saturday's 1-1 draw at home to Stoke City due to a minor tendon problem.

With Chelsea skipper John Terry absent due to a hamstring injury, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic continued at centre-back, while Kenedy was preferred to Baba Rahman at left-back.

It is the third season in succession that the teams have met in the Champions League knockout phase.

Chelsea beat PSG on away goals in the 2013-14 quarter-finals, but the French champions claimed their revenge in the last 16 last season via the same method.

Starting line-ups for the Champions League last 16 second-leg match between Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday (1945 GMT kick-off; PSG lead 2-1 on aggregate):

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Thibaut Courtois; Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic (capt), Kenedy; John Mikel Obi, Cesc Fabregas; Pedro Rodriguez, Willian, Eden Hazard; Diego Costa

Coach: Guus Hiddink (NED)

Paris Saint-Germain (4-3-3): Kevin Trapp; Marquinhos, Thiago Silva (capt), David Luiz, Maxwell; Adrien Rabiot, Thiago Motta, Blaise Matuidi; Angel Di Maria, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lucas Moura

Coach: Laurent Blanc (FRA)

Referee: Felix Brych (GER)