Eden Hazard scored his first goals of the season on Wednesday evening as Chelsea fought-back from behind to draw 3-3 with AS Roma on a breathless evening at Stamford Bridge.
Antonio Conte’s men streaked into a two-goal advantage in the first-half via strikes from David Luiz and Hazard, before Aleksander Kolarov gave the visitors a foothold before half-time. Ex-Manchester City striker Edin Džeko bagged two goals in quick succession, one an unbelievable volley, to give the Romans the lead.
Hazard though netted a second with a deft header to drag the Premier League champions level on an entertaining night in the capital.
The supporters at Stamford Bridge enjoyed an open start to the clash as Eden Hazard put through Álvaro Morata . The ex-Juventus forward though fired straight at Becker. Diego Perotti then went close as he produced a wonderful solo run but shot only inches over the bar.
David Luiz went one better as he opened the scoring. The Brazilian attempted to find Morata but saw his pass cannon off a Roma body. The deflection fell to the defender again and he hammered home from just outside the area as Chelsea edged into an early lead. Hazard could have doubled the advantage but fizzed his attempt just wide of Becker’s goal.
The visitors should have been level though not long after. Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan attempted to beat Thibaut Courtois from a tight angle but was thwarted by his compatriot at the near post.
Supporters were eventually celebrating though, it was not the away fans however that were on their feet. After defending for large periods of the game, Hazard broke forwards and combined with Morata. The Blues’ top scorer jinked inside and attempted to find the top corner. His effort fell to the Belgian forward at the far post and he made no mistake in burying the ball to score his first goal of the season.
The Romans though were soon back in the clash. Former Manchester City defender Aleksander Kolarov powered beyond the Chelsea defence and unleashed a thunderous drive that took a slight touch off of César Azpilicueta and into the back of the Chelsea net. The strike came only two minutes after the Premier League champions had found their second goal.
Antonio Conte’s men were under immense pressure heading into the second period and Džeko produced a wonderful moment of quality to drag the visitors level at Stamford Bridge. Latching onto a wonderful pass from Federico Fazio, the Bosnian forward connected with the most sumptuous of first-time volleys and powered beyond Courtois who was left reaching at thin air as the ball whistled past him.
The 31-year-old, making his 100th appearance for Roma, then produced another magic touch to put Eusebio Di Francesco’s men in front. Kolarov whipped in an excellent free-kick from the left-flank and found the head of Džeko who was in acres of space in the Chelsea penalty area. It was an easy task from then on in as he glanced a header into the bottom corner.
Hazard the hero
The Blues though were not to be denied as the mercurial Hazard combined with substitute Pedro. The latter crossed from the right-wing and the Belgian cushioned his header beyond Becker to drag his team level.
The Romans though could have snatched a late winner and Džeko could have been leaving London with the match ball. The striker leapt highest in the box but his powerful header flew wide of the post.
Chelsea might have felt themselves slightly fortunate to come away with anything from Stamford Bridge. The visitors continually threatened their goal and could have scored more. The Romans’ attacking play was sumptuous with Edin Džeko at the fore-front of most of the action.
The Blues’ defence struggled with the pace of the Italians and were flattered after gaining a two-goal advantage. Roma’s resilience was impressive though as they found a foothold, and eventually equalised with some style. They will be disappointed in having allowed Hazard the space to head home as the evening came to a close.
The point for each side leaves Chelsea and Roma first and second respectively in Group C while Atletico Madrid languish in third on only two points. They come together again on the 31st of October at the Stadio Olimpico.
Chelsea: Courtois (6); Azpilicueta (6), Christensen (7), Cahill (6); Alonso (7); Zappacosta (6) (Rüdiger (), 77′), Fàbregas (7), Luiz (7) (Pedro (7), 57′), Bakayoko (7), Alonso (6); Hazard (8) (Willian (), 80′), Morata (7).
Roma: Becker (6); Peres (6), Fazio (7), Jesus (6), Kolarov (8); Nainggolan (7), Gonalons (7), Strootman (7) (Florenzi (N/A), 83′); Gerson (6) (Pellegrini (6), 74′), Perotti (7) (El Shaarawy (N/A, 88′), Džeko (9).
Goals: Luiz (11′), Hazard (37′, 75′), Kolarov (40′), Džeko (64′, 70′)
Referee: Damir Skomina
Yellow Cards: Bakayoko (69′)
Red Cards: N/A
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