Chelsea fight back to draw with nine-man Ajax in eight-goal thriller
Champions League Group H, Stamford Bridge - Chelsea 4 (Jorginho 4' (P), 71' (P), Azpilicueta 63', James 74') Ajax 4 (Abraham 2' (OG), Promes 20', Kepa 35' (OG), Van de Beek 55')
Chelsea and Ajax shared the spoils in a remarkable Champions League encounter with eights goals scored and two red cards shown at Stamford Bridge.
But for Jorginho’s fourth-minute equaliser from the spot, it was all about Ajax in the first half and their three goals scored from just one shot on target.
Chelsea's Italian midfielder Jorginho celebrates after scoring their first goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA Champion's League Group H football match between Chelsea and Ajax at Stamford Bridge in London on November 5, 2019Getty Images
Qunicy Promes’ cross was flicked in by Tammy Abraham just two minutes in, and after Promes then nodded Ajax back in front, Hakim Ziyech’s wicked free-kick from near the corner flag hit the crossbar and smacked goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga in the face before going in.
Donny van de Beek extended Ajax’s lead 10 minutes after half-time, but then – the most chaotic 15 minutes you are likely to see all season…
That 15 minutes of football…
The sight of Cesar Azpilicueta scraping in a goal off his studs in the 63rd minute was odd enough, but that was toppled by both Daley Blind and Joel Veltman seeing red in the space of a minute after Chelsea were awarded a penalty.
Blind was shown a second yellow for a foul in the build-up, Veltman a second yellow for handball, and after Jorginho made it 4-3 from the spot, Reece James levelled just three minutes later.
Azpilicueta then thought he had the winner in the 78th minute, but it was ruled out for an Abraham handball, with Ajax then going in search of a fifth themselves despite being down to nine men.
In the end, the points were shared - after somehow only four minutes were added on - with both sides joined on seven points by Valencia in Group H after the Spanish side beat Lille.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Reece James – Replaced Marcos Alonso at half-time and completely transformed Chelsea’s fortunes down the right, having swapped with Azpilicueta who looked just as threatening when switching to the left. Both full-backs got a goal to their name, but James’ impact will certainly have Lampard wondering whether the youngster warrants a starting place ahead of Alonso, who had a very poor 45.
Ajax: Onana 6, Mazraoui 6, Veltman 6, Blind 6, Tagliafico 6, Van de Beek 7, Ziyech 8, Martinez 7, Neres 7, Tadic 7, Promes 8. Subs: Schuurs 6, Alvarez 6.
2’ – GOAL AJAX! A foul from Azpilicueta and Ajax have the chance to cross one in - it's Promes who sends the ball in and it appears to clip Abraham before bouncing past Kepa.
3’ - PENALTY TO CHELSEA! Pulisic goes down under Veltman's challenge.
4’ - GOAL CHELSEA! Cool as you like, Jorginho rolls in the equaliser from the spot.
20’ - GOAL AJAX! Another goal was coming, and it's Promes who heads the visitors in front after a fine cross from Ziyech.
35’ – GOAL AJAX! Ziyech has gone for this, surely... It's a needless foul from Alonso out wide - basically a corner - and Ziyech whips it in with pace, finding the far crossbar before it SMACKS Kepa in the face and goes in... Kepa was diving to keep it out and replays show it hit him square in the face on the rebound.
55’ - GOAL AJAX! Chelsea well and truly punished... Van de Beek drifts in and is unmarked in the Chelsea area. It's a perfect first touch to kill the ball from a cross, and he then strokes it back across goal and beyond Kepa.
63’ – GOAL CHELSEA! It's scrappy, but Chelsea will not care... Pulisic's low cross is flicked on by Abraham, and though it's not quite going in, there is Azpilicueta to get his studs on the ball and knock it into the goal. It's checked for offside but the goal stands.
68’ - AJAX DOWN TO 10 MEN!! Booked in the first half, Blind is shown a second yellow for a foul on Abraham!!
68’ - AND IT'S A PENALTY TO CHELSEA! Not for Blind's foul - that came in the build-up - but it's given after Hudson-Odoi's strike hits the arm of Veltman.
69’ - NOW VELTMAN IS SENT OFF!!! What is going on?!?! As the Ajax players protest, Veltman is shown a second yellow as well.
71’ - GOAL CHELSEA! It's 4-3!!!! A second goal for Jorginho from the spot, and Chelsea are now playing against NINE MEN.
74’ – JAMES LEVELS!! Zouma heads against the bar from a corner, but it then falls for James, who calmly strikes it first time to level for Chelsea.
78’ - GOAL!!! CHELSEA ARE IN FRONT!!! … BUT WAIT!!! NO GOAL! The goal has been disallowed after a check of the pitch-side monitor. Pulisic's effort hit the head of Martinez and replays show it has hit Abraham's arm during a spell of pinball in the Ajax box too. It was Azpilicueta who then seemingly scored his second, but the referee consulted the pitch-side monitor and spotted the handball.