Chelsea 4-4 Ajax

Match Report

Chelsea stormed back from 4-1 down to draw 4-4 against nine-man Ajax in a thrilling Champions League Group H clash at Stamford Bridge.

Frank Lampard made one change from Chelsea’s 2-1 win at Watford in the Premier League as Emerson dropped out for Marcos Alonso.

Ajax boasted two changes to their starting XI from the 1-0 defeat against the Blues a fortnight ago as Noussair Mazraoui and David Neres replaced Edson Alvarez and Sergino Dest.

Ajax boss Erik ten Hag had managed seven Champions League away games without losing going into the game and his side handed him a dream start as they took the lead in the second minute.

Quincy Promes fizzed in a free-kick into the area from wide out on the left and Tammy Abraham could only divert the ball into his own net when attempting to make a clearance.

Chelsea responded almost immediately as Christian Pulisic was brought down in the area by Joel Veltman and Jorginho stepped up to fire his fourth-minute penalty past Andre Onana.

Abraham appeared to make amends for his early own goal when he was played in by Mateo Kovacic on 14 minutes and picked out the bottom corner, only for the offside flag to deny him.

It was Ajax who got their noses back in front in the 20th minute when Hakem Ziyech cut inside from the right on to his left foot and whipped a sublime cross to the back post where Promes was on hand to head past Kepa Arrizabalaga from six yards.

Abraham almost conceded another own goal on 27 minutes as he tried to cut out a Ziyech set-piece into the Chelsea area, but the ball flicked off his head and dropped just wide.

Ajax did extend their lead on 35 minutes when Ziyech played another superb free-kick into the area from the right flank and the ball rebounded off the crossbar and into the net off Kepa’s face for a second own goal of the game.

Both sides had chances to add to the scoreline before the break, before Kurt Zouma went on a barnstorming run past several Ajax players early in the second half only to balloon his subsequent shot into the crowd.

Chelsea continued to press, but it was Ajax who grabbed what appeared to be a killer fourth goal on 55 minutes when Donny van de Beek fired past Kepa after a quick break from the Dutch outfit.

The Blues grabbed a life-line on 63 minutes when Abraham touched a cross from the right towards goal and Cesar Azpilicueta put the ball into the net from virtually on the line.

It was game-on 68 minutes when Daley Blind was sent off for two bookable offences for a foul on Abraham, while a handball from Veltman in the area in the same passage of play resulted in Chelsea being awarded a second penalty of the night.

Veltman’s protestations earned him a second yellow card so by the time Jorginho dispatched his spot-kick into the corner on 71 minutes Ajax were down to nine men.

The comeback was complete three minutes later when substitute Reece James slammed in the rebound after Abraham’s bullet header came back down off the crossbar.

Chelsea thought they had grabbed the lead with a fifth on 78 minutes when Azpilicueta fired in from 18 yards only for the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to disallow it for a handball in the build-up.

The nine men of Ajax went close to a shock goal on 85 minutes when Alvarez looked to find the bottom corner from the edge of the area but was denied by Kepa.

Callum Hudson-Odoi was inches wide before Michy Batshuayi forced a great save from Onana in stoppage time as Chelsea could not find a winner against the nine men.

The draw leaves Ajax, Chelsea and Valencia all level on seven points with two matches remaining.

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