A low pressure occasion that was billed as little more than a fitness and form and good vibes exercise resulted in a game with plenty of action at either end, with Chelsea looking rather disjointed — a stark departure from recent games, but one perhaps expected given the personnel and the amount of changes.
The visitors, who fielded practically their strongest lineup (stronger than in the first match, even) were not afraid to attack or take shots, to be sure, and worked their opening goal very well. Former Newcastle man Remy Cabella finished off the flowing move on the left flank, scoring on his return to Stamford Bridge after playing here with the Magpies in 2015.
Their lead lasted less than three minutes however, as Kovacic found Abraham in the area, and he was hauled down from behind. Jorginho stepped up and dispatched the penalty with customary ease, making up for his miss from the reverse match earlier.
It was more of the same in the second half, with neither team able to find the real cutting edge in front of goal, despite a decent effort from both sides. Several half-chances and nearly chances ... but nothing doing.
Chelsea pressed for a late winner, and even put on Giroud with Abraham and Werner on as well, but a second goal was not in the cards today.
A score-draw it is.
- Ten changes from the weekend, with Kai Havertz the only one retaining his place, albeit in a different position.
- First ever start for Tino Anjorin. First Champions League start for Billy Gilmour. First start for Kepa since Southampton.
- Anjorin’s day last 80 minutes, with Giroud & Abraham both on for the final 10 minutes. Gilmour gets the full 90.
- Jorginho missed a penalty in Krasnodar, which cost him the job of being the primary taker. No mistake this time!
- Plenty of drama elsewhere in Europe, with Juve winning big in Barcelona, Manchester United losing to RB Leipzig and dropping into the Europa League, and Istanbul Basaksehir and PSG both walking off the pitch after the fourth official was accused of racial abuse.
Demba ba is pressuring the ref rassslcartttt pic.twitter.com/2GpIdkGMsX— AZ (@V1Loxzi) December 8, 2020
- The draw for the Last-16 will be held next Monday, December 14. As group winners, Chelsea will enter as a seeded team.
- Unbeaten run goes on, now 17 in all competitions (in regulation)
- Next up: Everton away, in another late Saturday night kick-off