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Paris Saint-Germain was held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by Chelsea in the French capital, while Bayern Munich finished goalless in Ukraine with Shakhtar Donetsk.
PSG will be the most annoyed -- Laurent Blanc's side had chance after chance to win the tie and put a dent in Chelsea's Champions League hopes.
In the end, Edinson Cavani's strike ensured parity after Branislav Ivanovic, the Serbia defender, had given the visitors a first half lead.
It could have been so different for the home side had it not been for Thibaut Courtois, the Chelsea goalkeeper.
Courtois denied PSG time and time again, much to delight of his manager, Jose Mourino.
'We could have lost, so I think the result is a positive one,' Mourinho told ITV.
'I don't say very good because it depends on the result of the second leg but it is a positive result against a very good team with fantastic technical players. It was a difficult match.
Asked if Chelsea got away with it, he added: 'When you see the performance of our goalkeeper you have to say yes, he made two or three important saves in the game.
'I am happy with the result because two legs is now one leg with everything to be decided at Stamford Bridge.'
Mourinho, who is hoping to become the first man to win the competition with three different clubs, cut a relieved figure at the full time whistle.
Time and time again the visitors were indebted to its goalkeeper, Courtois, who produced a number of fine stops to deny the French champion.
At just 22, it's frightening to think how good the Belgian could become.
Here, against a PSG side determined to take some sort of lead to Stamford Bridge in three weeks time, he ensured Chelsea got out of jail.
Laurent Blanc's men began the better of the two teams and Courtois was forced into action within the first 10 minutes.
Cavani, seemingly constantly linked with a move to England, found space on the left and when his cross was headed powerfully towards goal by Blaise Matuidi, Courtois was forced to fly into action.
The Belgian goalkeeper was soon busy again, this time saving from Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the forward's header bounced towards goal, while Cavani also went close with an effort which was tipped away.
Chelsea, seven points clear at the top of the Premier League, slowly began to grow into the contest but it still came as something of a surprise when it took a 36th minute lead.
John Terry, the captain, crossed from the left and after Gary Cahill had flicked the ball on, Ivanovic rose unopposed to head the ball into the far corner.
That goal was harsh on the home side, which emerged revitalized after the interval and was soon level.
Matuidi, one of the most impressive performers on the field, found space on the left and his cross was headed home by the unmarked Cavani.
Chelsea, normally solid and resolute in defense, was struggling to repel the French champion and Courtois was forced to save from Ibrahimovic once again as the Swede waltzed his way through the defense.
Cavani, alert to the rebound, thought he was set to give side the lead when the ball broke, but his effort was blocked by César Azpilicueta.
PSG, third in its domestic league, continued to dominate and Cavani wasted a glorious opportunity with 10 minutes remaining when he slid his effort inches wide of the far post.
Ibrahimovic might have stolen a dramatic winner at the death but his header was brilliantly tipped away by the overworked Courtois.
Chelsea will now be confident of progressing to the quarterfinal stage with the second leg to come at Stamford Bridge in three weeks time.
Last season, it was beaten 3-1 in Paris at the quarterfinal stage before recovering to win the second leg 2-0 and progress on the away goals rule.
At least this time it heads home level and with designs on the last eight.
'Both teams were feeling each other in the first half,' said Chelsea captain Terry.
'Thibaut Courtois pulled off some great saves and we go away with a happy draw.
'Last year we made it very difficult for ourselves but we are in a lot better position now.
'PSG keep the ball very well, David Luiz's range of passing is very good so they were able to stretch us but I thought it was very even tonight.
'Branislav Ivanovic has been different class defensively this year and always has been, attacking he always poses a great threat.'
In the night's other game, Bayern Munich was held to a goalless draw by Shakhtar Donetsk in Lviv.
It was a frustrating night for the 2013 winner which had Xabi Alonso sent off in the second half.
The Spanish midfielder, who was celebrating the occasion of his 100th appearance in the competition, was dismissed with 25 minutes remaining after picking up a second yellow card.
Shakhtar, which is forced to play its Champions League home games over 1,200 kilometers away from its home stadium because of the ongoing conflict in the region, had not played a competitive fixture since December following the winter break.
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