💫 UCL breakdown: Chelsea and Dortmund pull off comebacks for the ages


Padraig Whelan

Article image: 💫 UCL breakdown: Chelsea and Dortmund pull off comebacks for the ages

Matchday four of Champions League group stage action provided every bit of excitement we were expecting on Tuesday night.

Earlier results

  • Barcelona 0-0 Slavia Prague
  • Zenit 0-2 RB Leipzig

Chelsea stun nine-man Ajax with incredible comeback

This was all action as in the opening four minutes, when both sides hit the back of the net.

A Tammy Abraham own goal following a misjudged clearance put Ajax ahead but the Blues responded instantly through a Jorginho penalty after Christian Pulisic was fouled.

Hakim Ziyech’s glorious left foot was soon responsible for restoring the Ajax advantage, curling a perfect cross onto Quincy Promes’ head to supply the finish.

He was the architect of the third too with another sublime cross cannoning off the post and flying back in via the face of an unfortunate diving Kepa.

The Spaniard was beaten again after the break when Donny van de Beek was given the freedom of the area to drill a low effort home.

But just when Chelsea appeared out, chaos took over as they somehow pulled themselves back from the brink.

César Azpilicueta turned one home on the line and then Ajax had two defenders sent off in the build-up to the concession of a penalty which Jorginho scored.

Half-time sub Reece James, introduced for the abject Marcos Alonso, then picked a memorable time to volley in his first for the club to salvage a most dramatic point.

As if that wasn’t crazy enough, there was still time for Azpilicueta to have a potential winner ruled out by VAR! Incredible stuff.

Hakimi inspires Dortmund to epic turnaround

Everyone expected a potential classic from this one but nobody could have anticipated it bursting into life so quickly.

When the devilish Lautaro Martínez wriggled free on the right after five minutes, he punished BVB by cutting in and coolly slamming home.

Inter shocked the home crowd further before half-time when Marcelo Brozović’s delightful footwork started a sublime move that ended with Matías Vecino stroking home for yet another big game goal to add to his collection.

BVB brought themselves back into it when Achraf Hakimi (a defender remember!) kept up his run of being the only man until that point to score for his side in Europe this season when he scuffed a strike into the corner.

They equalised when Julian Brandt ended Hakimi’s goal run by capitalising on an awful Brozović error from a slack throw-in and a night of shock comebacks soon had another to boast about.

Not content with allowing Brandt in on the act, Hakimi got back on the goal trail to secure a memorable win when he calmly poked home after an exchange with Jadon Sancho, who unfortunately exited injured on the only negative of the night.

The Ox keeps up rich vein of form

Georginio Wijnaldum’s quick reactions got Liverpool up and running after just 14 minutes at Anfield, poking into the roof of the net on the turn in impressive fashion.

What should have signalled the start of a goal onslaught somehow the hosts pegged back with Genk’s first attempt four minutes before half-time.

A wicked near post corner was met with an emphatic Mbwana Samatta header ahead of James Milner to level it up.

Liverpool deservedly regained the lead when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came up with a striker’s finish, fizzing a low drive into the corner for the winner.

Lozano rescues point as Haaland enters record books

Early drama seemed to be a theme of this particular Champions League night and Naples certainly wasn’t immune.

An uncharacteristic lunge in the area from Kalidou Koulibaly gifted the visitors an early opportunity which tournament top scorer Erling Haaland didn’t pass up from the spot.

The home side responded well but were guilty of spurning several big chances from 18 first half attempts before a Chucky Lozano daisy cutter levelled matters before the break.

Despite further second half drama, there was no winner forthcoming from either side.

Lyon take big step towards last 16

Benfica got off to the worst possible start on their trip to France as Joachim Andersen planted an unmarked header into the net.

Their poor performance was soon punished by the concession of a second, Memphis Depay dispatching easily for his fourth in as many Champions League games.

Benfica pulled one back through Haris Seferović but Lyon got the insurance third through Bertrand Traore to go three points clear of Zenit in second with two games to play.

Valencia leave it late against Lille

After every other game had experienced a goal early on, this one at the Mestalla looked like it was feeling left out.

It didn’t have to wait too long though as shortly after the midway point of the half, Victor Osimhen raced through to add more value to his potential price tag.

A Dani Parejo Panenka penalty in the second half was followed by three late second half strikes for Los Che, the second of which was a Geoffrey Kondogbia stunner worth seeking out.