When will Chelsea see Champions League action. Again?
That is the question facing fans and most likely Roman Abramovich as the Blues got a masterclass in European football at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain tonight at Stamford Bridge.
Already 2-1 down from the first leg a 1-0 victory at least was required, but an early goal from Adrien Rabiot undid any tactical play Guus Hiddink had in mind.
A brief glimmer of hope came on 26 minutes from the lethal left foot of Diego Costa to perhaps recuse the tie and set up a grand stand finale.
But that too was snuffed out on 67 minutes as the French league leaders totally dominated the second period and scored the winner from the toe of talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
And that was it - the unlikely dream of a tilt at the cup with the big ears over.
This season is a salutary reminder for the Chelsea hierarchy that taking your eye off the ball in terms of recruiting serious top class players - all in the name of following a misguided Financial Fair Play rule, will result in sub-standards on the pitch becoming the norm.
Jose Mourinho, the solution not the problem, demanded the best recruitment in the summer. Abramovich failed to deliver and Mourinho had a sore head all through the summer that infected the squad when they returned late in the summer and the season got worse from there on.
An inability to reach the top four in the league this term means that there will be no Champions League next season at Stamford Bridge - that alone should put Abramovich on high alert that the rot needs to be rooted out
A possible tilt at the Europa Cup next season is the best they can hope for from the league.
A major overhaul in attitude from within the club is needed coupled with a serious revamp in personnel.
As for the game itself, a brilliant save by Kevin Trapp after three minutes thwarted Diego Costa,who at the edge of the PSG penalty area, took a touch before letting fly with a fierce left-footer which the goalkeeper, diving to his left, parried to safety.
Angel Di Maria saw his angled shot, on five minutes slip past Thibaut Courtpis, but Branislav Ivanovic was quickest to react and hacked the ball of the goaline.
But disaster struck for the Blues on 16 minutes when Gary Cahill failed to track a wide run by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The striker had time to cut the ball across the Chelsea six-yard line, and at the far post, popped up unchallenged. Adrien Rabiot, to slot home the goal to give PSG a 3-1 aggregate lead.The deficit lasted just 10 minutes as Chelsea took advantage of a dispossession of the ball on Thago Motta in midfield. Willian accelerated forward, inched the ball to Costa, and in a repeat of his earlier effort, struck the ball, goal bound. This time, Trapp misjudged the ball's angle and it zipped past him and into the net.
Six minutes before the break and a quick counter attack, involving Willian and Costa set up Fabregas, but he scuffed his edge of the area effort wide of Trapp's right post.
An angled effort by Hazard two minutes later failed to fool Trapp, and he snaffled the effort easily.
Pedro almost got to the rebound of a Costa effort that, goal bound, was too hot to handle for Trapp and he failed to hold onto the ball. But the ball was quickly cleared before the Spain wide man got get the decisive touch.
Neither manager made any changes at half-time.
PSG started the second half as they did the first, purposeful and full of possession. But a pulsating run by Willian tore the visitors' defence apart three minutes in. sadly for the Blues, neither Costa or Pedro were sharp enough to take full advantage.
Costa, who had had a calf problem which restricted his training, lasted just 60 minutes. He had done his shift manfully and was replaced by Bertrand Traore.
A double save from Trapp, on 64 minutes, the first from a Willian pile driver, the second a rasper from Hazard set the benchmark for Chelsea's second half ambitions.
But they were caught out by a counter-attack from PSG a minute later. Di Maria got past Azpiliicueta on the right and sent in the perfect cross, which Ibrahimovic gratefully snapped up, volleying home from close range to put the French side 1-2 up and 2-4 ahead on aggregate.
It was all over.
Next up for Chelsea is a trip to. Goodison Park, on Saturday, in the FA Cup.
Teams: Thibaut Courtois, Branislav Ivanovic, Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, John Obi Mikel, Kenedy, Pedro Rodriguez, Diego Costa, Willian, Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicuet
Subs, Asmir Begovic, Abdul Baba Rahman, Oscar, Bertrand Traore, Loic Remy, Nemanja Matic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek
PSG Trapp, Silva, Maraquinhos, Lucas, Motta, Ibrahimovic, Di Maria, Matuidi, Maxwell, Rabiot, Luiz,
Subs, Sirgu, Stambouli, Cavani, Kurzawa , Van Dier Weil, Pastire, Augustine
Referee, Felix Brych - Germany