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FRANK LAMPARD’S Chelsea remain on course to proceed from their Champions League group after rescuing a point against nine-man Ajax following this breathless encounter with the Dutch giants.
On an evening of high drama, Chelsea, out-of-sorts after being left 4-1 down in a disastrous first 55 minutes, mounted a superb comeback in the final third of this match against Ajax to claim a draw.
They even had a chance to snatch the win but Cesar Azpilicueta’s goal late on in the match was ruled out after referee Gianluca Rocchi consulted the video assistant referee.
By that point, the visitors had defenders Daley Blind and Joel Veltman sent off for second yellow cards moments within one another, pivotal moments in the match.
In the end, however, a stirring comeback papered over the cracks of Chelsea’s fragile back-line.
The result means Ajax, Chelsea and Valencia are tied on seven points in Group H with two games to go. Lampard’s men travel to Spain to play Valencia next on November 27.
“The spirit that we showed and the character was something that I loved, and I think our fans loved,” said Lampard. “We need to tighten up for sure, but with that spirit we can go places.
“It was a mad one, I don’t think there are too many I can even compare it to from my day. I know we had 4-4s with Liverpool and some crazy games. This one is hard to put into perspective. For everything it was, for the spectacle it was, it is certainly up there.”
Ajax took an early lead when Tammy Abraham clipped the ball into his own net when attempting to defend a corner kick.
However, moments later, Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic earned his side a penalty after being sent tumbling in the penalty area. Jorginho stepped up and confidently stroked the ball beyond goalkeeper Andre Onana.
Ajax re-took the lead on 20 minutes through Quincy Promes after he stole in behind Chelsea’s back-line before diverting the ball past Kepa Arrizabalaga.
On 35 minutes, Ajax extended their lead when Hakim Ziyech’s cross flew over the goalkeeper, deflected off the post before ricocheting in off Arrizabalaga’s face.
Ajax, top of the Eredivisie after winning 10 of their 12 matches so far this season, remained a threat at the start of the second half.
However, Chelsea, who had won in Amsterdam when the sides played each other in October, were not finished.
Azpilicueta started the fightback on 63 minutes before Blind and Veltman received their marching orders shortly after. Suddenly the complexion of the game changed.
Another spot kick from Jorginho saw Chelsea continue their resurgence before substitute Reece James pulled the hosts level on 74 minutes.
Stamford Bridge then erupted when it appeared Azpilicueta had given Chelsea at incredible win, which was disallowed by the referee.
In the end, both sides were left with a share of the points.
Chelsea welcome Crystal Palace on Saturday as they look to carry on their impressive league form.
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