Chelsea 4-4 Ajax: Dutch champions collapse to surrender three-goal lead in thriller at Stamford Bridge

Reece James celebrates his goal against Ajax
Reece James celebrates his goal against Ajax

Chelsea came from three goals down to snatch a 4-4 draw from a roller-coaster Champions League encounter with Ajax.

Frank Lampard's side scored two own-goals and two penalties while Ajax had two players sent off on a chaotic night at Stamford Bridge.

Having trailed 4-1, the Blues battled back to level the scores and then Cesar Azpilicueta thought he had scored a winner, only for VAR to step in.

Nevertheless, a point from a breathless match keeps Chelsea firmly in the race to qualify from Group H.

Chelsea's 1-0 win in Amsterdam last month had put them in control of the group but Ajax looked set to wrest it back following a lightning start.

Ajax fans were barred from attending following crowd trouble during their win over Valencia, although that did not stop hundreds from travelling to west London anyway.

The few that did make it in were celebrating inside two minutes, only to be silenced 60 seconds later in a breakneck opening.

Ziyech's swirling free-kick flew over Kepa and hit the inside of the post, before smacking the Brazilian keeper full in the face and bouncing into the net.

It was a freakish goal but Ziyech's delivery was superb, and for the third time in little more than half an hour Chelsea's inability to defend crosses had cost them.

Things got even bleaker for the Blues 10 minutes into the second half. Ziyech found Donny Van de Beek in the area and the midfielder was given the time and space to turn and fizz a low shot past Kepa.

Chelsea reduced the deficit to two again when Pulisic's cross was prodded towards goal by Abraham and Azpilicueta made sure at the far post.

Then in another crazy 60 seconds Daley Blind was shown a second yellow card for fouling Abraham and Joel Veltman followed him down the tunnel for handling Callum Hudson-Odoi's shot.

Stamford Bridge was rocking as Jorginho rolled in his second penalty of the night, and it was pandemonium moments later when sub Reece James lashed home from a corner to equalise.

VAR then ruled out Azpilicueta's dramatic late 'winner', spotting a handball among the pinball in the Ajax box, and visiting keeper Andre Onana denied Michy Batshuayi at the death as the Dutch champions held on.

Highlights

Chelsea vs Ajax (4-4) | UEFA Champions League Highlights

Tuesday's Champions League results

  • Barcelona 0-0 Slavia Prague
  • Zenit 0-2 RB Leipzig
  • Chelsea 4-4 Ajax
  • Dortmund 3-2 Inter
  • Liverpool 2-1 Genk
  • Lyon 3-1 Benfica
  • Napoli 1-1 Salzburg
  • Valencia 4-1 Lille

Opta facts

  • Chelsea are the third English side in Champions League history to come from three goals behind to avoid defeat and the first since Liverpool in May 2005 (3-3 v AC Milan).
  • Chelsea have conceded 4+ goals in a single Champions League game for only the third time in their history and first time since drawing 4-4 at home to Liverpool in April 2009.
  • Ajax have scored 4+ goals in a game against an English team in all European competition for only the second time (also 5-1 vs Liverpool in December 1966 at home in the European Cup).
  • Reece James (19y, 332d) became Chelsea's youngest ever goalscorer in Champions League history.
  • Five of Jorginho's six goals for Chelsea in all competitions have been scored via the penalty spot.
  • Chelsea conceded three goals in the first half of a Champions League game for the first time in their history. In fact, the Blues were the second side to concede two own-goals in the first half of a Champions League game after CFR Cluj (v Bayern Munich, October 2010).
  • Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech has either scored or assisted in nine of his last 12 Champions League appearances (4 goals, 6 assists).
  • Ajax were shown two red cards in a Champions League game for the first time in their history.
  • Ajax's opener against Chelsea (1:47) was the second earliest goal conceded by the Blues in the Champions League after Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma) in October 2017 (39 seconds).

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