Yet another thrilling result for Frank Lampard’s army after the 2-2 draw against the Spanish Club, Valencia at the Mestella Stadium. Both the teams after the emphatic fixture has made them on a must win situation next game-week for getting qualify to UCL Round of 16. The bizarre late equaliser by Wass denied Chelsea side a chance of qualifications to the round of 16 yesterday.
Valencia looked very promising in sense of attacking and passes as compared to Chelsea, but Maxi Gomez didn’t allowed the Spaniards to take the lead at home after missing some few easy tap-ins through a beautiful low cross by Rodrigo. The striker then again failed to score a goal but this time because of a fine save by Spain’s national goalkeeper, Kepa.
Both the goalkeeper showed some real class in front of the nets but this time, it was Cillessen’s turn to save his side after a perfect shot by English international Tammy Abraham into the right corner of the post. The impact of this attack from the blue side went too much on the Spaniards who attacked at that very moment and gave them lead at home after the strike by Carlos Soler from a close range, by which Kepa had no answer for that. But the taste of lead was not enjoyed for much longer as Mateo Kovacic scored the first goal for Chelsea on his 71st appearance for the club just after one minute of Valencia’s lead.
Right on the edge to the end of the first half, Chelsea suffered a huge injury blow when Tammy landed badly on Garay’s foot. Chelsea forced to do their first substitution for Tammy by bringing Batshuayi in after the first half. Chelsea dominated the game well and found their lead just after few minutes of the play of game. Pulisic scored a controversial VAR goal from inside the box for which the Dutch goalkeeper had no answer of. The Spaniards were rewarded a penalty at 64’ which was taken by Parejo to the left side and was perfectly judged by the Spanish number one Kepa with a very fine save. Valencia kept on dominating the game until they got their must deserving late equalizer by Wass through his phenomenal striker from the right side as a cross which eventually resulted in a goal.
Starting XI – Cillessen (7) Costa (5) Garay (7) Gabriel (6) Gaya (7) Torres (8) Parejo (7) Wass (7) Soler (8) Rodrigo (5) Gomez (5)
Substitutes – Gameiro (6) Coqueline (7)
The first quarter half, the blues showed too much impact throughout the game with continuous attack and dominating possession. It was a hugely entertaining encounter, the kind of one who will not allow you to change the channels off from this match. Probably not what Frank Lampard thought of the full time result but Chelsea’s defence looked a bit shaky in the first half and the Spanish side did deserve a goal which was eventually missed by Gomez.
The risk of playing Christensen after a long term injury come-back by dropping in-form Tomori who has shown positive results in his start and sifting Azpilicueta to Left was a bit confused decision taken by the Gaffer.
The sudden reaction after conceding the first goal, the team showed a real positive vibe of getting qualified for the round of 16 on last night itself, but the injury blow to Tammy cost the team a lot because of the decision of playing the Belgian Mitchy Batshuayi in the second half.
Netting early in the second half, through a controversial goal given by VAR to Pulisic, looked like it would settle nerves, but the home side were happy to throw men forward in search of an equalizer that would be crucial to their own hopes of qualification. It was end-to-end stuff, with Chelsea’s efforts to cling on ending in failure through the unfortunate manner in which they conceded.
It was a truly barnstorming encounter that could have ended in a high scoring game, let alone 2-2, but in the end it does neither side any favours heading into the final group matches. Luckily for Chelsea, however, they take on bottom side Lille at home, knowing that Valencia will need to travel to Ajax, which poses a far more daunting proposition along with the fine save by Kepa which denied Parejo’s penalty kick in 64’.
You couldn’t take your eyes off proceedings, but the manner in which Chelsea were carved open on numerous occasions will be the key issue for Lampard to unpick when the squad head back to London.
Starting XI - Kepa (8) James (8) Christensen (6) Zouma (7) Azpilicueta (6) Kovacic (9) Jorginho (6) Kante (7) Pulisic (7) Abraham (5) Willian (6)
Substitute – Emerson (6) Batshuayi (6) Mount (6)
Surely the Croatian international deserve to be the star of the match in last fixture after he reacted suddenly to the first goal by Valencia in the 40’ and scored outside the box at 41’ on his 71st appearance for the club, which was his maiden goal for the club. You don’t need to scratch your eyes, he did scored his maiden goal and it was not simple goal, the finish by the Croatian was on next level.
Scoring aside, he was the engine in the Blues midfield and was driving forward with the ball in the absence of Mason Mount, offering a threat going forward while equally keeping hold of the ball in situations that called for calm.
He’s a player who has truly blossomed under Lampard, and his immense form is keeping the club’s star of the season on the bench. That says enough. It was another excellent night from the Croatian.
Valencia is back to La liga action as they host Villarreal on Saturday. Whereas on the other hand, Chelsea will be hosting West Ham on Saturday as well. With both the team had a chance of qualifying for round of 16 in UCL, a draw last night will result in a must win situation for both the team in next game-week against Ajax & Lille respectively.
- Dipanshu Sharma (el_dipu9)