Chelsea 4-4 Ajax: Champions League – as it happened – The Guardian,

Chelsea 4-4 Ajax: Champions League – as it happened – The Guardian,

Two own goals, two penalties, two red cards, a 4-4 scoreline and a winner disallowed by VAR.Thatwas a game of football. Thanks for reading!

A cheery Frank Lampard tries to make sense of it all.“I can’t explain the game. For all the things we can analyze back, the goals we concede, we’re here for entertainment. So what an incredible game of football.Ajaxare a great team. But we were always in it. I felt we could build momentum, and fortunately we did! The biggest pleasure to me was the spirit the whole stadium showed. We should take it for what it was, a point against a very good team. ”


A5-5last week.A 4-4 tonight. It’s like1925 – 26all over again.

What a weird and wonderful game ofChampions Leaguefootball.After it all comes down, a draw is about right. Ajax might question the award of Chelsea’s second penalty – and therefore the red card awarded to Joel Veltman – as the defender didn’t have much of a chance of getting his hand away from Callum Hudson-Odoi’s shot. But the hosts were on the comeback trail already, and deserved to haul themselves back to parity through moxie alone. We already knew how magnificent Ajax were; this Chelsea side are something pretty special – and most importantly, fun – as well.

Frank Lampard applauds the supporters at the end of the match.
Frank Lampard applauds the supporters at the end of the match. Photograph: Ian Walton / AP


FULL TIME: Chelsea 4-4 Ajax

And that’s it! Phew. Dear me. On Bonfire Night, the denizens of Stamford Bridge certainly got plenty of bang for their buck with that one.

90 min 4:And even more frustration, as Willian slips a cute ball down the right to release Batshuayi into space. He enters the area and whips a shot across goal and out of play for a goal kick, inches wide.

90 min 3:James curls a harmless cross into the arms of Onana. More frustration.

90 min 2:Hudson-Odoi skitters down the left but runs out of pitch. Frustration abounds. CanChelseafind a winner against the nine men?

90 min:Jorginho slips a pass down the inside-right channel for Batshuayi, who spins on the penalty spot and must score. But his slapshot, towards the bottom right, is weak and smothered by Onana. What a chance to wrap it up!

(min:Hudson-Odoi advances on theAjaxbox, van de Beek having been stripped in the center circle. He curls towards the bottom right. It’s inches wide, with Onana rooted to the spot.

88 min:It’s end to end again. Mazraoui shoots from the right-hand edge of the D; Kepa saves. Abraham heads goalwards; Onana saves. That lull didn’t last long.

87 min:Kovacic is replaced by Batshuayi, who will be looking for a second late winner againstAjaxin a fortnight.

86 min:Ajax, with nine men, pile forward . Alvarez turns on the edge of the box and swishes a wonderful shot towards the bottom right. Kepa tips it round the post. Nothing comes of the corner. Alvarez, remember, was sent on to steady the ship at the back! Total football.

84 min:We’ve waited a long time for a lull. It’s a strange time to have one.

82 min:Anything goes tonight, so Willian, under a crossfield pass, tries to cream a volley into the bottom left from the right-hand edge of the box. Onana gathers. ************

80 min:And now a corner forAjax. Willian goes down to relieve pressure on the hosts, who are able to clear their lines. There’s no way this is going to end 4-4, is it?

VAR! NO GOAL! Chelsea 4-4 Ajax

79 min:Another twist in this wild game! In the middle of the melee, Jorginho had taken a shot that hit Abraham’s arm. The hand ball saves Ajax’s blushes. For now.

GOAL! Chelsea 5-4 Ajax (Azpilicueta 78)

This is absurd! Hudson-Odoi feeds Azpilicueta down the left. There’s a melee. Pinball. Then the ball breaks to theChelseacaptain, who arrows a shot into the top right! It’s probably for the best that Ajax don’t have any fans here to witness it.

Cesar Azpilicueta celebrates before his goal is ruled out.
Cesar Azpilicueta celebrates before his goal is ruled out. Photograph: Neil Hall / EPA

Updated (at 4.) pm EST

77 min:Nope. They don’t exactly load the box. They can’t commit too many men forward.Chelseaclear.

76 min:But the nine men of Ajax aren’t quite finished yet! Promes bustles under a long ball and James handles. Free kick, which Promes sends towards the top left. Kepa is forced to fingertip over. A corner!Ajaxcan’t, surely. Can they?

75 min:Willian dribbles along the byline, to the right of the Ajax goal. His low fizzer is gathered by Onana. (Chelsea) *********** (scent blood.)

GOAL! Chelsea 4-4 Ajax (James 74)

This is quite amazing!Chelseawin a corner down the right. Zouma rises high and crashes a header onto the crossbar. The ball pings out, to the feet of James, just inside the box to the right. James pearls a shot into the bottom left, and goes sliding off on his knees as the Stamford Bridge roof spins off towards Surrey. Holy moly!

Reece James fires in the equaliser!
Reece James fires in the equaliser! Photograph: James Williamson / AMA / Getty Images


GOAL! Chelsea 3-4 Ajax (Jorginho (pen)

A skip and a sidefoot into the bottom left! Ice-cool! This is on! Stamford Bridge, so quiet so recently, is bouncing!

Jorginho celebrates scoring the third.
Jorginho celebrates scoring the third. Photograph: Darren Walsh / Chelsea FC / Getty Images


Red card … and a penalty … and another red card!

70 min: (Throw) Chelseaa double lifeline, that’s what! The referee goes back to book Blind. It’s his second yellow, so he’s off! Then he awards a penalty. Then he books Veltman for the handball! It’s his second yellow, too. And in the blink of an eye, Ajax are down to nine men! A miracle comeback is on!

Ajax’s Daley Blind is shown a red card by referee Gianluca Rocchi.
Ajax’s Daley Blind is shown a red card by referee Gianluca Rocchi. Photograph: John Sibley / Action Images / Reuters

And then Joel Veltman is also sent off.
And then Joel Veltman is also sent off. Photograph: Adrian Dennis / AFP / Getty Images


66 min:Jorginho shimmies down the inside-right channel and shanks a shot. Abraham and Azpilicueta try to turn the ball goalwards, but neither can connect properly. Goal kick. ButChelseahave their tails up now.

64 min:That’s injected some energy into Stamford Bridge! There was a brief VAR check, but Azpilicueta was onside. Just. Small mercies, the check didn’t take too long, and the buzz of scoring wasn’t totally lost.

GOAL! Chelsea 2-4 Ajax (Azpilicueta 63)

Then suddenly there’s a bit of space for Pulisic on the right. He enters the box and rolls the ball across for Abraham, who turns the ball towards the bottom left. It’s heading just wide, but Azpilicueta is there to toe-poke it in from half a yard, just in time!

Cesar Azpilicueta toe-pokes in from close range.
Cesar Azpilicueta toe-pokes in from close range. Photograph: Chloe Knot / Danehouse / Getty Images


GOAL! Chelsea 1-4 Ajax (van de Beek 55)

Ajaxgo straight up the other end and score. Neres works his way down the right and cuts back for Ziyech, who instantly shuttles the ball inside for van de Beek. He takes a touch, takes his time, and slams an unstoppable shot across Kepa and into the bottom right.

Donny van de Beek slams in the fourth for Ajax.
Donny van de Beek slams in the fourth for Ajax. Photograph: Marc Atkins / Getty Images


55 min:Pulisic bears down on the Ajax box.Chelseaare five on three , but Pulisic makes the wrong decision, trying to release Azpilicueta on the overlap, but misjudging the pass. It’s easily intercepted. And it’s costly, because …

53 min:A cute shake of the hips from Jorginho in the center circle. He draws a couple of defenders before slipping Abraham free! Abraham launches towards the top right; Onana tips around the post. Corner. It probably shouldn’t be, because Abraham looked a smidgen offside as he was sent clear, but the referee waves play on. From the set piece, James fires low towards the bottom right, but the angle’s way too tight and Onana isn’t getting beaten from there.

50 min:Pulisic finds a bit of space down the left but can’t locate a team-mate with his cross. James tries to keep things going, coming in from the other flank, and wins a corner that comes to nothing. But this is much better fromChelsea, who need something to happen fairly quickly.

47 min:Zouma beat four men on that run, dropping a shoulder to see off Blind before taking his shot. In the dugout, Frank Lampard can’t quite believe what he just witnessed. He enjoyed that.

Chelsea get the second half started.Reece James has come on for Marcos Alonso, the captain Cesar Azpilicueta shifting to left-back. And there’s nearly a sensational start to the half, Zouma changing his inner Franz Beckenbauer, hip-shaking his way down the middle of the park, all the way to the edge of the box, before ballooning his shot miles over. What a run! What a shame that didn’t fly in.

Then again, we haven’t goteverythingwrong.“Your preview remark that Kevin Keegan would approve of Frank Lampard’s buccaneering blues (even with their leaky hull) certainly seems spot on so far, ”opines Justin Kavanagh. “Only one team is going to win it now… and I’ve no idea which it is.” Simon McMahon adds: “After that first 45 minutes, I think Chelsea should be looking to partner Jeep Cherokee and Audi Q in central defense for the second half. ”In the ever-upwardly mobile World of theChampions League, it was only a matter of time before “parking the SUV” became a thing.

Corrections and clarifications (pt.XXXVIII in an ongoing series).“It’s curious that Robert McAllister should pick up on the Volkswagen mix-up but not the fact that the player you said was Mickey Hazard is in fact Kevin McAllister, “Writes Joe Sampson. Yes, well, there you have it. Throw in two own goals initially awarded to attacking players, plus some confusion over who conceded the penalty, and it’s been a banner day for your super soaraway MBM! Support our journalism, etc.

44 min:Pulisic nearly breaks through a couple of challenges down the inside-left channel and into the box, but last man Blind closes the door just in time.

(min:Alonso has a crack from distance, but it’s easily gathered by Onana.

41 min:Tomori slides into the back of Neres, scooting down the right. Neres is allowed to get up and play on, Tomori stopping and failing to play to the whistle. The ball’s worked towards Promes on the left. Promes should score, but doesn’t. A huge let-off forChelsea, although not for Tomori, who is booked.

39 min:Uefa have given the third Ajax goal to poor old Kepa. So that’s two own goals byChelsea, because the first has gone down as an Abraham og. Where is the love?

37 min:Frank Lampard looks beyond furious. He’ll be having words with Alonso, no doubt. There was absolutely no need to give that free kick away, though there’s no accounting for what happened next. That was such a stunning free kick. Did Ziyech mean it? Either way, it was an unplayable delivery.

GOAL! Chelsea 1-3 Ajax (Ziyech 35)

… in it goes! Ziyech viciously whips a cheeky one across the face of goal, over Kepa towards the top left! It’s going in … or maybe not. It hits the post, comes back towards the flailing keeper, and slams in off Kepa’s coupon! That may go down as an own goal, but it was such an outrageous effort that Ziyech deserves all the credit in the world!

The ball from Ziyech goes over Kepa.
The ball from Ziyech goes over Kepa. Photograph: Chloe Knott / Danehouse / Getty Images

Updated (at 3.) PM EST

33 min:Now Blind goes in the book , sticking a leg across Kovacic in midfield, right in front of the referee’s nose. Completely unnecessary, and now both of Ajax’s central defenders are teetering on the disciplinary tightrope. Take care. ************

32 min:Pulisic takes. It’s really poor, a high, aimless waft, and easy pickings for Onana in theAjaxgoal.

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