Chelsea recorded an incredible comeback in the most bizarre of circumstances against Ajax, as Reece James salvaged a point for the hosts after they found themselves 4-1 behind.
2019/2020 UEFA Champions League
Chelsea conceded three first-half goals in a Champions League game for the first time but battled back against nine-man Ajax to draw 4-4.
Chelsea battled back from three goals down to earn a 4-4 draw in Tuesday’s thrilling Champions League clash with Ajax, who were made to pay for two red cards at Stamford Bridge as the hosts were denied a dramatic winner by VAR.
Frank Lampard’s side conceded three first-half goals in the competition for the first time as Tammy Abraham and Kepa Arrizabalaga both put into their own net, either side of Jorginho and Quincy Promes netting.
Ajax opened up a 4-1 lead through Donny van de Beek early in the second half and were still 4-2 in front – Cesar Azpilicueta pulling one back – when Daley Blind and Joel Veltman were dismissed in the space of a minute.
Jorginho scored his second penalty of the match to reduce the arrears and substitute Reece James struck 16 minutes from time to leave Chelsea, who had a late Azpilicueta goal ruled out by VAR, above Ajax at the top of Group H.
2′ OWN GOAL! Chelsea 0-1Ajax (Abraham)
GOAL! Ajax get the early lead! Azpilicueta’s foul near the touchline brought about a free-kick, which was whipped by Promes and in the chaos inside the Chelsea penalty area, Abraham gets the unfortunate last touch past Arrizabalaga!
4′ Penalty Goal! Chelsea 1-1 Ajax (Jorginho)
GOAL! Chelsea equalise! Calm as you like, Jorginho wrongfoots Onana and slots his third penalty of the season to level things and raise the volume at the Bridge once more. Immediately after conceding, Pulisic goes on a mazy run towards the visitors’ goal before being hauled down by Veltman in the penalty area!
13′ Disallowed! Abraham scores but the goal is offside
Abraham makes it 2-1 but it’s not to be, as the flag goes up as soon as the striker is put through on goal by Kovacic with only Onana to beat! Still 1-1 at the Bridge.
20′ GOAL! Chelsea 1-2 Ajax (Promes)
GOAL! Ajax make it 2-1! Ziyech plays a lovely cross towards the hosts’ six-yard area after more keep-ball from the visitors near the touchline and Promes reacts quickest to head it past Arrizabalaga in no man’s land!
35′ OWN GOAL! Chelsea 1-3 Ajax (Kepa)
GOAL! It’s now 3-1 to Ajax! Alonso pays the price for his carelessness as Ziyech’s free-kick is whipped towards Arrizabalaga’s far post with such precision that it hits the bar before going into the back of the net by bouncing off of the Chelsea stopper;s face! A farcical way to concede a goal, and Stamford Bridge falls into silence!
46′ Zouma’s shot over the bar
WHAT A RUN BY ZOUMA! The centre-back embarks on an unchallenged run through the centre of the pitch and tries a shot from distance only for the chance to go well wide! The home crowd applaud his efforts though, and Lampard even can’t help but raise a smile!
51′ CHANCE! Abraham’s shot stopped by Onana
WHAT A SAVE BY ONANA! More scintillating football by Chelsea as Kovacic releases Abraham down the middle, and the forward wins the battle of pace against Veltman only for his effort to get thwarted by the Ajax stopper! Replays show that the England striker was offside though.
55′ GOAL! Chelsea 1-4 Ajax (Van de Beek)
GOAL! Van de Beek makes it 4-1! Not long after another Chelsea breakaway, Ajax counter at will down the wing and after Neres is tackled by Zouma, Ziyech collects the loose ball and calmly plays in Van De Beek who slots it past Arrizabalaga!
63′ GOAL! Chelsea 2-4 Ajax (Azpilicueta)
GOAL! Azpilicueta gets one back for Chelsea! The skipper cajoles his teammates back to the centre circle following more Chelsea pressure inside the Ajax penalty area, with James’ cross directed towards Abraham and the latter’s touch helping it on to the onrushing right-back at the far post to poke it home!
68′ Second Yellow Card! Blind sent off
BLIND IS DISMISSED! The Ajax players surround Rocchi after the ex-Manchester United defender’s trip on Abraham is played on, and once Hudson-Odoi’s shot appeared to have hit Veltman’s hand in the penalty area, Rocchi stops play to hand Blind his second yellow!
69′ Second Yellow Card! Veltman sent off
VELTMAN IS SENT OFF TOO! The Ajax defender is penalised for handball following Hudson-Odoi’s shot and his defensive partner’s dismissal, and Ajax have not only conceded another penalty but are also shorn of their two centre-backs! Unbelievable scenes at the Bridge!
71′ Penalty Goal! Chelsea 3-4 Ajax (Jorginho)
GOAL! 4-3 now! Jorginho makes no mistake from the spot once more as he scores his second penalty of the game after wrongfooting Omana once again! This has the makings of a Champions League classic right here!
74′ GOAL! Chelsea 4-4 Ajax (Reece James)
GOAL! Reece James makes it 4-4! Zouma’s header following Willian’s corner his the bar and bounces clear only as far as the substitute, who rifles it home through a crowded Ajax penalty area! What a comeback from 4-1 down!
78′ Handball! Azpilicueta’s goal disallowed
Incredibly harsh for Chelsea there, as referee Rocchi reviews the VAR footage and chalks off Azpilicueta’s strike after replays showed that Jorginho’s shot hit Abraham’s hand! The scoreline remains 4-4, and the home crowd are just as incensed as their team!
Post Match Reaction
The Blues boss was none too impressed with his side’s defending but was bowled over by the action served up by the two teams
It was an incredible evening of football at Stamford Bridge, and even Lampard struggled to sum up what he had just seen.
“I can’t explain the game. For all the things we might analyse back, the madness of the game, we are here for entertainment I suppose and anyone who watched that has to say what a game of football,” the manager told BT Sport.
“Respect to Ajax, what a spectacle.
“I don’t think I have been in a game like it. The two own goals were the story of the first half. I said at half time it will be 3-3 or 4-4, we were so in the game.”
Lampard admitted that he was not pleased with the slack defending that allowed 2018-19’s Champions League semi-finalists to net four times while calling into question the relatively mean allotment of stoppage time at the end.
“We looked dangerous and I felt we would build momentum. I am not happy overall, this is the Champions League and we made too many mistakes,” he added.
“The biggest pleasure is the spirit the whole stadium showed. I can’t give you much on the red cards, I didn’t really see what they were for.
“At half time I would have taken a draw for sure. Let’s take it as what it was. I was expecting somewhere towards 10 minutes of added time, not sure where four came from.”
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