The Champions league continued to entertain on Tuesday night with an eight goal thriller, a comeback and some smaller clubs proving hard nuts to crack.
There is only one place to start, and that is Stamford Bridge where Chelsea hosted last year’s semi-finalists, Ajax. Chelsea won the corresponding fixture two weeks ago in Amsterdam meaning the two teams were level at the top of the group and a win for either side would mean they were in control of their own destiny with regards to qualification.
The match started as it would carry on with 2 goals in the opening 4 minutes. Ajax got the first when they won a free-kick and Quincy Promes’ quality delivery caught Tammy Abraham napping as he diverted the cross into his own net. Chelsea’s response was immediate with Christian Pulisic bursting into the box and drawing a late challenge from Veltman which allowed Jorginho the chance to score from the spot, and he didn’t pass up the opportunity.
The game continued to flow entertainingly with Hakim Ziyech providing the quality to take the game away from the hosts. It was his magnificent cross from the right that caught out Azpilicueta and allowed Promes to dart in and finish from close range to make it 2-1.
Ziyech’s left boot did further damage just before the break as Ajax extended their advantage, although there was a touch of luck about the goal. His delivery from near the corner flag caught out Chelsea keeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga, and the ball bounced back off the post and into the net via the unfortunate goalkeeper’s face.
Things got worse for the Blues when Ziyech found Van de Beek in the area and the classy midfielder found the bottom corner with a clever finish to make it 4-1 and seemingly put the game beyond Chelsea.
Tammy Abraham made up for his error by getting one back before the match entered a crazy period which swung it towards Chelsea.
Daley Blind was shown a second yellow card for fouling Abraham, the referee had played advantage before showing the red card, in the pursuing advantage Veltman was judged to have handballed a Callum Hudson-Odoi’s shot and a penalty was awarded.
To make matters worse for Ajax, Veltman had already been booked and was shown a red. Jorginho rolled in his second penalty of the night and suddenly Chelsea went from being 4-1 down to 8 minutes later being just one goal behind and playing against 9 men for the last 20 minutes.
It was not long before they levelled the match as Reece James hammered home from a corner and Chelsea would have backed themselves to win the match
Azpilicueta thought he had done just that but VAR dampened the celebrations by spotting a handball from Abraham in the build-up.
A crazy night at Stamford Bridge, that had everything ends as a 4-4 draw and the other result in the group, a 4-1 win for Valencia over Lille, means 3 teams are tied on 7 points.
Another dramatic match was played out in Dortmund as Borussia Dortmund played Inter Milan.
Barcelona had dropped points earlier in the day by only drawing at home to Slavia Prague meaning the winner of this one would close the gap on Barca to a single point.
Inter Milan controlled the first half and were 2-0 up at half-time thanks to goals from Lautaro Martínez and Matías Vecino.
This however was to be a story of two halfs, Dortmund came out like a completely different team after the break and 6 minutes into it had got one back through Achraf Hakimi, who incredibly had scored all of Dortmund’s goals in the campaign.
Paco Alcácer came on after 64 minutes and with his first touch set up Julian Brandt whose right footed shot from the left side of the box equalised for Dortmund.
They continued to push and Jadon Sancho played a delightful through ball to that man again, Achraf Hakim and the right-back scored yet again to complete the turnaround.
Qualification from this group is still wide open with 2 matchdays remaining with 4 points separating Barca in 1st and Inter in 3rd with Barca still to play both Dortmund and Inter.
Elsewhere, Liverpool were given a scare at home to Genk but overcame it to go top of Group E after Napoli were held by Red Bull Salzburg.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored in a second consecutive Champions League game as Liverpool won 2-1 but they were made to work for their victory.
Oxlade-Chamberlain scored another superb goal in the Champions League to ultimately seal a vital three points for the holders.
However, it was far from a walk in Stanley Park, with a thunderous Mbwana Samatta header leveling things up in the first half after an instinctive finish from Georginio Wijnaldum for Liverpool’s 14th-minute opener.
Genk could well have left Anfield with a point, but Liverpool had Alisson Becker to thank for some wonderful late saves.
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