Chelsea advance to the Champions League knockout stages as Group H runners-up after a dramatic 3-3 draw against Zenit St Petersburg in Russia.
Timo Werner opened the scoring inside 90 seconds. Ross Barkley’s corner was flicked on by Andreas Christensen, finding the German at the back post who reacted quickest to tap Chelsea into the lead.
The hosts levelled the score five minutes before half-time. The ball was picked up by Douglas Santos out wide after Chelsea twice failed to clear their lines, and delivered an inviting ball towards the near post where Claudinho was able to head past Kepa.
Three minutes later Zenit were in the lead. Chelsea found themselves dispossessed on the halfway line which Malcolm was able to capitalise on. He played in Sardar Azmoun who made a great run beyond the Chelsea defence and was able to take the ball past Kepa before slotting it into an empty net.
Chelsea pulled one back after an hour. Lukaku ended his 10-game goal drought after finishing off a clever move by Chelsea to keep the Blues’ first place finish hopes alive.
Five minutes from time, Werner scored his second of the game to put the visitors back in front but a fine late strike from Magomed Ozdoev squared the match and put Chelsea through as runners-up.
TALKING POINT - CHELSEA FINISH GROUP RUNNERS UP
A much-changed Chelsea side needed to match Juventus’ result tonight to win the group, and with less than two minutes to be played, they were heading into the round of 16 as group winners. Zenit had other plans though. Substitute Magomed Ozdoev fired in an equaliser deep into added time to salvage a point for the Russians.
Chelsea's German head coach Thomas Tuchel reacts during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Zenit St. Petersburg and Chelsea at the Gazprom Arena stadium in Saint Petersburg on December 8, 2021. (Photo by Olga MALTSEVA / AFP) (Photo b
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With Juventus beating Malmo, it means that Chelsea will face a group winner in the next stage of the tournament, with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid amongst the sides they could potentially draw.
MAN OF THE MATCH - TIMO WERNER
Five minutes from time, it looked as though Werner had put Chelsea into the next round as group winners with his second goal of the game. Despite Chelsea throwing it away right at the end, Werner can still hold his head up high after delivering one of his better performances so far in his Chelsea career.
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 08: Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea celebrates with teammate Timo Werner (L) after scoring their side's second goal during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Zenit St. Petersburg and Chelsea FC at Gazprom Arena on
CHELSEA: Arrizabalaga 8, Azpilicueta 6, Christensen 5, Sarr 6, James 6, Saul 7 Hudson-Odoi 5, Barkley 6, Mount 6, Werner 8, Lukaku 6
Subs: Ziyech 6, Pulisic 5, Havertz 5, Alonso 5
2’ GOAL! Zenit 0-1 Chelsea (Werner) - What a start! Timo Werner taps in at the back post from a corner!
26’ BIG SAVE KEPA! Kepa makes a great one-on-one save to deny Malcolm pulling the score level.
33’ HUGE SAVE! Lukaku whips in a good ball towards Mount at the back post but Kerzhakov makes a great stop to deny a Chelsea second.
38’GOAL! Zenit 1-1 Chelsea (Claudinho) - Chelsea will be angry with this one, they had two chances to clear their lines but failed to do so. Douglas Santos picks the ball up on the left-hand side and swings in a delightful ball for Claudinho who makes a late run and heads the ball beyond Kepa at the near post. Game on!
41’ GOAL! Zenit 2-1 Chelsea (Azmoun) - What a turnaround! Chelsea are dispossessed in the middle of the park which enables Malcolm to slip in Azmoun who takes the ball around Kepa to tap in to an empty net.
43’ BIG STOP KEPA! It could have easily be three for Zenit! Azmoun makes a great run beyond the Chelsea defence again but his effort is denied by a strong hand from Kepa.
62’ GOAL! Zenit 2-2 Chelsea (Lukaku) - Barkley plays Werner in, who plays the ball across the goalkeeper to Lukaku who finishes in an empty net. It's all level!
71’ KEPA AGAIN! Great reaction from Kepa! Azmoun rises highest from a cross and produces a great header, but Kepa reacts quickly to deny him.
85’ GOAL! Zenit 2-3 Chelsea (Wener) - What a huge goal that could be! Werner finishes off a great Chelsea move to surely win the group for the Blues!
90’+4 GOAL! Zenit 3-3 Chelsea (Ozdoev) - What a finish from Ozdoev! He fires his effort into the roof of the net! Questions will be asked of Kepa there.