In Depth

Champions League highlights and reactions: Chelsea fight back against Ajax on a mad night at the Bridge

Holders Liverpool win 2-1 against Genk and Barcelona are held to a goalless draw by Slavia Prague

Champions League group H: Chelsea 4 Ajax 4

Truly, a game of two halves at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea overturned a 3-1 half-time deficit to draw 4-4 in a thrilling encounter with Ajax. 

The result leaves the two clubs on seven points, the same number as Valencia who thrashed Lille 4-1, as group H of the Uefa Champions League looks to go down to the wire.

“It’s hard to put it in perspective,” said a breathless Frank Lampard. “I had some mad nights over the years but for spectacle this is up there.”

Throw in the fact that Ajax received two red cards and Chelsea conceded two own goals and scored two penalties it’s hard to argue with Lampard’s assessment. 

The Chelsea boss added: “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 madness started early, the third minute to be exact, when Tammy Abraham put the ball into his own net. Two minutes later the Blues were level from the penalty spot as Jorginho took advantage of an Ajax foul on Christian Pulisic.

Ajax restored their lead on 20 minutes as Quincy Promes headed home Hakim Ziyech’s cross and the visitors went 3-1 up in bizarre circumstances as a free-kick pinballed off the Chelsea post into the face of goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and back into the net.

Blues fightback

The 3-1 lead became 4-1 ten minutes after the break when Donny van de Beek capitalised on sloppy Chelsea defending, but that seemed to spark the hosts into life. 

Three goals in 12 minutes midway through the second half brought them level as Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho and substitute Reece James all found the net.

The tension clearly got to the Ajax players with Daley Blind and Joël Veltman both sent off, and Chelsea thought they had made the most of their numerical advantage when Azpilicueta put the ball in the visitors’s net. VAR, however, detected a handball from Abraham in the build-up and the goal was disallowed. 

Too many mistakes

“I said at half-time it will be 3-3 or 4-4,” said Lampard, who described his side’s first-half performance as “a mixture of sloppiness and our bad fortune”. 

He added: “We looked dangerous and I felt we would build momentum. I’m not happy overall, this is the Champions League and we made too many mistakes.”

The result leaves group H intriguingly poised with Chelsea’s next game away to Valencia on 27 November before they finish their group campaign by hosting Lille at Stamford Bridge on 10 December.

Liverpool win but Barca draw a blank

In other Champions League results, Liverpool moved to the top of group E after beating Genk 2-1 at Anfield. 

With Napoli held to a 1-1 draw by Red Bull Salzburg, the Reds are now one point clear of the Italians and on course to qualify for the knockout stages. Georginio Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored for the holders but manager Jurgen Klopp admitted his side “didn’t finish our situations in the way we could have done”.

There were also wins for Lyon and Borussia Dortmund but Barcelona were held to a goalless draw at home to Slavia Prague, the first time they’ve failed to score at the Camp Nou in 46 matches. The result leaves them top of group F with eight points, one more than Dortmund after their 3-2 win over Inter Milan.

Tuesday’s Champions League results 

  • Group E: Liverpool 2 KRC Genk 1; Napoli 1 FC Red Bull Salzburg 1 
  • Group F: Barcelona 0 Slavia Prague 0; Borussia Dortmund 3 Inter Milan 2 
  • Group G: Zenit St Petersburg 0 RB Leipzig 2; Lyon 3 Benfica 1  
  • Group H: Chelsea 4 Ajax 4; Valencia 4 Lille 1

Wednesday’s Champions League fixtures

Matches kick-off at 8pm (GMT) unless stated and fixtures are live on BT Sport

  • Group A: Paris Saint Germain vs. Club Bruges; Real Madrid 20:00 Galatasaray  
  • Group B: Bayern Munich vs. Olympiakos (5.55pm); Red Star Belgrade vs. Tottenham Hotspur  
  • Group C: Atalanta vs. Manchester City; Dinamo Zagreb vs. Shakhtar Donetsk  
  • Group D: Lokomotiv Moscow vs. Juventus (5.55pm); Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs. Atlético Madrid

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