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Chelsea 3-3 Roma: It’s one of the best clash in champions’ league group stage

Full Time: Football can be great fun. Tonight it was. Roma were brilliant. Chelsea did well to score three while not seeing much of the ball. What a treat.

Chelsea 3-3 Roma: It’s one of the best clash in champions’ league group stage

Full Time: Football can be great fun. Tonight it was. Roma were brilliant. Chelsea did well to score three while not seeing much of the ball. What a treat.

18 October 2017 Wednesday 21:56
Chelsea 3-3 Roma: It’s one of the best clash in champions’ league group stage

Full-time: Chelsea 3-3 Roma

Football can be great fun. Tonight it was. Roma were brilliant. Chelsea did well to score three while not seeing much of the ball. What a treat. And do watch that Dzeko goal. It’s one of the best you’ll see this season.

90+4 min: Peres darts down the right and drills a cross at the near post. Courtois spills it but Chelsea scramble it clear. Peep! Peep! Peep!

90+1 min: Cahill, who looks like a half-arsed attempt by someone to dress up as a Mummy at halloween, heads over. Decent ball in by Fabregas though.

90 min: There’ll be four more minutes of this. That’s not enough. Chelsea win a free-kick 35 yards from goal and send everyone apart from Christensen forwards. They play it short and Nainggolan lunges at Willian and gives another free-kick away. This time on the right in dangerous position.

88 min: A long ball over the top heads towards Willian, who misjudges the flight of the ball when he has a great chance to control and get a shot on goal unmarked from the edge of the box. I think Kolarov may have flicked it back with his head and put Willian off.

87 min: Perotti, who has been a pesky menace all night, is replaced by the enigmatic El Shaarawy. Roma are not settling for a point.

86 min: Willian’s introduction and sparky energy has pushed Chelsea forwards. They’re in the ascendancy and are having their best spell of possession all game, which isn’t saying much. Morata tries to flick a header towards goal from the edge of the box but Fazio is in close attendance and clears.

85 min: “Hope you’re having a grand time watching the world grow older minute-by-minute. My question - if you had to get a neck tattoo what would it be? And, looking at the crazy yoofs making music these days (I’m talking in the US specifically) - how soon until we see a professional footballer (a good one) with a sh!t ton of face tats? Peas and carrots, my friend!” Tim Middleton may be drunk on this game.

84 min: Willian has a burst forwards and Chelsea win a corner. It’s played short to Fabregas. He lifts the ball to the back post where Rudiger leaps and heads wide. This will end 4-3. I just don’t know who to.

83 min: Strootman is off and Florenzi is on. Strootman has had a fine game. Always composed in possession.

81 min: Roma plays some delightfully zippy passes among their front line before working the ball out to Peres, overlapping on the right. He whips a cross into the near post where Dzeko is hanging in the air and primed to score his hat-trick. But he gets too much meat on his header and not enough glance. It’s wide by an inch. A bad miss. But we’ll let him off.

80 min: “Let Roma have the ball and even the play as long as we counter like this and create more chances. Nothing wrong with counterfootball, it is beautiful. As the best ever Bayern Munich under Heynckes 2012. Best football ever, possession football is way overrated and quite boring at times,” writes Chelsea’s tiki-taka-hating Swedish Fan Club, apparently.

79 min: Strootman tries a cute dink over the Chelsea back line but Alonso is alert to it and thumps the ball clear. Willian races on to the Stamford Bridge turf to replace Hazard, who gets a standing ovation. He looks cheesed off. He wanted a hat-trick.

77 min: Zappacosta is hooked after giving a corner away earlier. Rudiger replaces him. He slips into the back three with Azpilicueta moving up to right wing-back.

Goal! Chelsea 3-3 Roma (Hazard 75)

Like I said, Chelsea won’t get back into this. Pedro clips a ball into the box and Hazard heads powerfully, from 12 yards, into the bottom corner. He was unmarked but it was a brilliantly directed header. Did I say this was a good game of football? It’s wonderful fun.

74 min: Gerson gets cramp and is replaced by Pellegrini. Cahill cut his chin and is sporting a bandage that makes it look like he’s broken his jaw.

73 min: Gary Cahill has clashed heads with someone. Chelsea are momentarily down to 10 men. I can’t see them getting back into this. Roma have been much the better side. Conte is looking at three defeats on the spin.

Goal! Chelsea 2-3 Roma (Dzeko 70)

Chelsea must hate Manchester City. Kolarov whips a cross into Dzeko, who nods across Courtois into the far corner. It was too easy. Azpilicueta was three yards in front of him and Morata was two yards behind him (and watching him). What a match, though.

 Dzeko scores Roma’s third. Photograph: Javier Garcia/BPI/REX/Shutterstock

69 min: Perotti leads Bakayoko on a merry dance and wins a free-kick.

68 min: Roma thoroughly deserve to be level. The worry for Chelseais that they can’t hang on now. They’ve 23 minutes to go and they’ll have very little of the ball.

66 min: There were shades of Van Basten about that finish but I don’t want to get too carried away. It was just such a wonderful connection though. The angle wasn’t anywhere near that of Van Basten’s but still …

Bloody hell! What a finish this is. Incredible. Fazio, I think, wanders to the halfway line and lofts a diagonal ball to Dzeko, on the shoulder of Christensen. He watches the ball over his left shoulder and connects first time with his left foot, to slam the ball home emphatically, brilliantly.

63 min: A Chelsea attack! Morata is sent racing through on the inside right channel but Becker is out on him like a flash. Great keeping.

61 min: Conte, never one to stand still when there’s dancing to be done on the touchline, is told to get back into his technical area by the referee. He’s lid is rattling watching this. No surprise. Chelsea are treating the ball like a stranger. Perotti has a pop from 18 yards out on the left. It’s curled into Courtois’s arms though.

58 min: Strootman guides a ball in towards Dzeko but he’s outnumbered and bullied off the ball by a couple of Chelseadefenders, one of whom was Christensen. Then Kolarov’s wand of a left foot digs a ball to the back post where Gerson heads over. He’s have needed an extendable neck or a step ladder to get above that.

56 min: David Luiz finds himself in space and wanders forwards, dribbling around Fazio and looking to slip in Zappacosta on his left, but he’s offside. He looks up and sees his number up. “Eff off!” is his general reaction to seeing he is to be withdrawn. Pedro is on in his stead. David Luiz goes straight down the tunnel. Is he injured? He doesn’t think so. Maybe Chelsea’s physios do.

54 min: Kolarov drills a ball across the Chelsea six-yard box. Dzeko’s foot is waiting to turn it home but Courtois stretches a toe out and turns the cross away from goal. Brilliant goalkeeping. He’s saved his team there.

53 min: Chelsea don’t look remotely interested in winning back possession. Tony Pulis would be proud to call this Chelsea display his own.

52 min: Gerson, who is making his Champions League debut and first Roma start this season tonight, cuts inside on to his left foot and drives over from 20 yards. It opened up for him there and he got excited. We’ll let him off. He’s young.

51 min: It’s a dreadful corner. Not even I can defend it. And I’ve tried. Believe me.

In defence of the corner, a much-maligned set piece | Gregg Bakowski

50 min: Roma are pop, pop, popping the ball around for fun. And then Gonalons belts it out of play. But within 10 seconds Roma are back in possession and force a corner.

47 min: Chelsea break and Zappacosta curls a lovely ball to the back post but Roma clear. He’s got a cultured left foot has Zappacosta. David Luiz hasn’t. He’s encouraged to “Shoooooooot!” by the crowd. Not one to disappoint, he hammers a shot into another post code.

46 min: Kolarov buys a corner. It’s cleared low by Morata and hammered back towards goal with the force of a dozen storms by Nainggolan. A collection of Chelsea shirts appear to block it.

Peep! It's the second half

And relax. A brilliant half of football comes to an end. More please. I’ll be back shortly. Send me an email. Say hello.

45 min: Bakayoko has a shot blocked in the penalty area and then a second bite of it lands at Morata’s feet, but he’s offside. What a game this is. I need to take a breath.

44 min: Roma go close on the far post after a cross was drilled in from the left. And then Chelsea break and get a few numbers forwards. Roma, for what it’s worth get a few players back. Fabregas dinks a ball to the back post where Morata rises like a gymnast to control a ball with his outstretched toe before spinning in the box and going down after a tackle from Fazio. A replay suggests Morata was slipping before Fazio made contact, if he did make contact.

42 min: How Roma drew 0-0 with Atletico I’ll never know. They pretty much play with two defenders because Peres and Kolarov are barely in their own half.

Well, well, well. Kolarov pokes the ball past Zappacosta and runs past the defender and on to it like a zippy teen instead of the wily veteran he is. He takes one look at the goal and drills a left-footed shot that takes a deflection and winds up in the top of the goal. Roma deserve that.

38 min: So maybe this is a masterclass in counterattacking football then.

What a weird game! Peres tries to be too clever by half on the right, looking for a killer pass in midfield and forgetting he’s a left-back. Chelsea pick off a loose pass and Morata is sent sprinting up the inside-left channel. His right-footed shot deflects up and loops to the back-post where Hazard half-volleys home from 10 yards. Football’s bonkers.

35 min: Courtois shanks the ball into play after another devilish spell of Roma pressing. Roma boss the ball again.

32 min: Chelsea’s lineup looked a little defensive before kick-off but they have played much deeper than I expected. They briefly get forwards and Zappacosta tries to cross from the right but it’s cleared at the near post. Roma break with electric speed though and Perotti fires straight at Courtois again. I doubt Chelsea can hold Roma off like this for another 55 minutes.

30 min: Courtois makes a brilliant save at his nearpost from Nainggolan after Roma’s captain scuttled into the box on the right and drilled a low shot at goal. Nainggolan could have been cooler there. Perhaps that’s why he only has one goal this season.

30 min: Courtois makes a brilliant save at his nearpost from Nainggolan after Roma’s captain scuttled into the box on the right and drilled a low shot at goal. Nainggolan could have been cooler there. Perhaps that’s why he only has one goal this season.

29 min: Despite the early Chelsea goal, the pattern of play has barely changed. Roma are dominating possession and putting Chelseaunder pressure whenever they’re in possession at the back. Perotti tests Courtois’ palms with a shot from 20 yards and then …

28 min: Peres clatters Morata over by the right touchline – a fair but hefty tackle. As the Spaniard falls to the turf his boot catches Peres in the face. It’s a painful one, but there was nothing malicious about it.

27 min: This part of the MBM is sponsored by David Luiz. He’s everywhere. He clatters Nainggolan and gets straight back up before bundling another Roma player over. He should probably be booked but isn’t. He needs to calm down.

26 min: Ah good. David Luiz is OK after a bit of magic spray or whatever it is they have these days.

25 min: The fun-factor in this game could be about to drop a notch. David Luiz is clutching his calf and looking over towards the line.

22 min: Fabregas crumples after Kolarov stretches to nick the ball from him. The referee’s having none of that, though, judging it a fair interception. As quick as you like, the Spaniard is back on his feet.

20 min: Pass, pass, pass, pass, pass go Roma. But then Morata blocks a pass out from the back and Hazard hares on to the loose ball. He’s on the edge of the box in a flash but his low right-footed shot is dragged wide by about a foot. hat was an electric break.

18 min: Roma are shifting the ball around the Stamford Bridge turf with such authority. Most of that passing is around 35 yards from the Chelsea goal, mind. Perotti forces a corner out of Zappacosta. It’s a useless delivery though.

Updated at 8.05pm BST

15 min: Roma have had 65% possession so far. The reason for that is Roma giving Chelsea absolutely no time on the ball when they are trying to play out from the back, meaning they’ve had to go long more often than they’d like. Strootman blasts over from 25 yards. Roma are still pushing forwards despite the setback.

13 min: Chelsea had looked brittle at the back and in midfield before that goal. As bad as Roma’s defending has looked in the few passages of play where they have had to defend, going forwards they have looked supremely sharp. Maybe that goal will settle the home side down.

Goal! Chelsea 1-0 Roma (David Luiz 11)

Wow! David Luiz, all hair and arms and legs, tries to thread a pass through the Roma defence only to see it cleared poorly and straight back into his path. Does he fancy this? You bet. He whips a delicious right-footed shot around Becker’s outstretched left hand and into the bottom corner like a 30-goal-a-season striker. A wonderful finish from a wonderfully entertaining player.

9 min: Roma make a hash of things at the back and Fazio plays a ridiculously short back pass that Becker gets to about 0000000000.1 sec before Hazard.

8 min: Perotti picks the ball up just inside the Chelsea half and slaloms past one, two, three, four players before thumping the ball just over from the edge of the box. What a run! This is shaping up into an entertaining game.

6 min: And then out of nowhere Chelsea pick up possession and work the ball to Hazard. He takes one touch and slips in Morata who, just inside the area, shapes to bend the ball around Becker but drags it into the goalkeeper’s midriff. that was a warning sign to Roma. Chelsea are electric on the break.

Goal! Chelsea 1-0 Roma (David Luiz 11)

Wow! David Luiz, all hair and arms and legs, tries to thread a pass through the Roma defence only to see it cleared poorly and straight back into his path. Does he fancy this? You bet. He whips a delicious right-footed shot around Becker’s outstretched left hand and into the bottom corner like a 30-goal-season striker. A wonderful finish from a wonderfully entertaining player.

6 min: And then out of nowhere Chelsea pick up possession and work the ball to Hazard. He takes one touch and slips in Morata who, just inside the area, shapes to bend the ball around Becker but drags it into the goalkeeper’s midriff. that was a warning sign to Roma. Chelsea are electric on the break

5 min: Courtois gives Azpilicueta a short ball that he wants none of. He’s swarmed all over by Roma players and he knocks it towards Zappacosta, who can do nothing with it. Throw in to Roma. Chelsealook very nervy.

3 min: Roma play it short and Gerson wriggles his way to the byline before stabbing a cross in towards the near post that Chelsea do well to clear. This is a very good start by Roma. They look like the home team. Chelsea have barely seen the ball.

2 min: David Luiz makes his first telling contribution, bundling into the back of Dzeko around 35 yards out and giving away a free-kick.

1 min: We’re off. Roma get on the ball early. And probe down the left. Chelsea snuff out the danger and knock the ball back to Courtois, who hoofs it out of play somewhere near the halfway line.

The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army belts out, which encourages Roma’s fans to roar a chant to that particular tune. I haven’t heard I Harry J Allstars’ The Liquidator, a catchy reggae instrumental which sounds like this in case you didn’t know, that usually makes an appearance before Chelsea games. Maybe it’s on its way after Jack White finishes up.

Almost time for kick-off: The teams trot out. Chelsea, in blue, are led out by Cahill, and Roma in their changed white jerseys, are guided on to the turf by their mean-looking captain Nainggolan. The Champions League anthem blares out to a few jeers somewhere in the ground.

Updated at 7.46pm BST

There were reports and pictures of clashes between police and Roma fans before the match. Hopefully none of that will spill over into Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea fans have just applauded Francesco Totti, who made a brief appearance on the pitch. “Was Totti in full kit,” asks Gary Naylor. I’m afraid the pictorial evidence below suggests not. Unless he’s wearing it below that smart suit.

speaks: “[After the Qarabag result] it’s a big opportunity but you know very well that Roma are a very strong team and it will be a tough game for us. Everyone in this team is well organised and in the team there are very many talented players, Dzeko and Nainggolan are two of these. There are many others. The problem is that we have to play always the same players. To play two games in seven days you risk injuries. We are pleased to have [Alvaro Morata] back. It is his first season playing regularly so he is getting used to playing two games in seven days. I’m playing [David Luiz] because I have two injuries in midfield.”

What might Morata’s return do for Chelsea? Well, the first and most crucial thing, is that his clever movement will give Fabregas and Hazard more chances to pop the ball between the lines to him than Batshuayi, who is still learning his trade. Morata’s eight in 10 record isn’t to be sniffed at either. These days goals aren’t always guaranteed, even when you spend £60m. Chelsea look to have bought well.

How Group C looks before kick-off

It’s not pretty viewing for Atlético but it looks great for Chelsea. A win tonight and they’ll be five points clear of Roma and seven ahead of Atlético. A draw, (say 2-2, as I’ve predicted) will also be just fine.

 Champions League Group C

Updated at 7.05pm BST

Team news … Morata starts!

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill (c), David Luiz, Zappacosta, Bakayoko, Fabregas, Alonso, Hazard, Morata. Subs:Caballero, Rudiger, Scott, Kenedy, Pedro, Willian, Batshuayi.

Roma: Alisson, Peres, Fazio, Jesus, Kolarov, Nainggolan (c), Gonalons, Strootman, Gerson, Dzeko, Perotti. Subs: Skorupski, Pellegrini, Moreno, De Rossi, Under, Florenzi, El Shaarawy.

Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia) 

The Guardian

Updated: 19.10.2017 05:49
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