Zenit 3-3 Chelsea: Blues forced to settle for second place

By Sports Desk December 08, 2021

Chelsea were forced to settle for second place in Group H after an injury-time equaliser from Magomed Ozdoev clinched a 3-3 draw for Zenit in the Champions League.

Two goals from Timo Werner and another from Romelu Lukaku were not enough to secure the victory for the Blues, with Claudinho, Sardar Azmoun and Ozdoev all scoring for Zenit in Russia, and the Blues will now not be seeded in Monday's draw for the last 16 after finishing below Juventus, who beat Malmo in Turin.

The momentum of the game swung back and forth several times, with Chelsea's Kepa Arrizabalaga kept particularly busy.

Blues boss Thomas Tuchel was missing a number of midfielders, including Jorginho, N'Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic, and started Ross Barkley and Reece James in the middle, with Atletico Madrid loanee Saul Niguez being utilised at left wing back.

Chelsea took the lead in just the second minute when a Barkley corner was flicked on at the near post by Andreas Christensen, allowing Werner a simple tap-in.

Zenit should have been level on 26 minutes when Malcom was played in on goal, but the former Barcelona winger was denied by Kepa.

The equaliser did arrive 12 minutes later when Douglas Santos played a ball into the box that was glanced in by the head of Claudinho.

The hosts then took the lead before half-time when Barkley was dispossessed in midfield, with Malcom sliding Azmoun in behind a chaotic Chelsea defence. The Iran international took the ball round Kepa before slotting home, with the Blues goalkeeper forced to make another save from Azmoun just moments later.

Chelsea improved in the second half and were level just after the hour as Werner and Barkley played a one-two on the edge of the box, with the German giving Lukaku an easy tap in to make it 2-2.

Azmoun was denied another as Kepa made a fine save down to his left following a header from the striker, before Werner finished off a nice move five minutes from time, narrowly remaining onside.

However, the visitors failed to hold on as a tremendous strike from substitute Ozdoev deep into stoppage time levelled it up to ensure the spoils were shared.

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