Stunning three-goal comeback helps Chelsea earn point against nine-man Ajax in epic night at Stamford Bridge

A stunning three-goal comeback saw Chelsea and nine-man Ajax share the points in a 4-4 thriller at Stamford Bridge.

Tammy Abraham and Kepa Arrizabalaga both scored first half own goals, alongside Quincy Promes’ header, as a Jorginho penalty briefly levelled the tie.

Donny Van de Beek thought he had sealed the win for the visitors but a rousing fightback saw Jorginho, Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James all register on the scoresheet as Danny Blind and Joel Veltman were sent off.

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The result means that Ajax remain top of Group H after a breathtaking night full of fireworks in west London.

READ MORE: Frank Lampard left stunned by 'madness' of football as Chelsea and Ajax draw epic 

Chelsea found themselves behind early with a peculiar Abraham own goal. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Chelsea found themselves behind early with a peculiar Abraham own goal. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
They were almost immediately level though, through Jorginho's penalty. (AP Photo/Ian Walton)
They were almost immediately level though, through Jorginho's penalty. (AP Photo/Ian Walton)

A truly frenetic night at Stamford Bridge started in style early, with the swashbuckling visitors setting the scene with an early strike.

Abraham, looking to clear an inswinging cross, mishit his effort and deflected it beyond Kepa behind him.

The hosts weren’t facing a deficit for long though - with in-form USA star Christian Pulisic winning a penalty from Veltman almost immediately at the other end. Jorginho, as ever, coolly slotted home.

Abraham thought he might have given Frank Lampard’s men the lead when he emphatically converted, only for the flag to deny him - a call confirmed by VAR.

With some enticing football on display, the first half proved merely a taster of what was to come. Former Southampton playmaker Dusan Tadic threatened to hand Ajax the lead again when he controlled gloriously, only to fire over from the edge of the box.

And on 20 minutes, with what proved to be the visitors’ only shot on target in the half, they regained the lead. Promes ran onto the most enticing of crosses by Hakim Ziyech, who pulled the strings for the Dutch side all night, and flicked home from close range.

Quincy Promes then headed Ajax in front with their only shot on target in the first half. (AP Photo/Ian Walton)
Quincy Promes then headed Ajax in front with their only shot on target in the first half. (AP Photo/Ian Walton)


Hakim Ziyech's stunning set piece then curled off the far post and into the net, via Kepa's face. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Hakim Ziyech's stunning set piece then curled off the far post and into the net, via Kepa's face. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

It was already proving a peculiar night in west London, and that feeling increased when Ziyech swung in a devilish free kick from near the corner flag, which ricocheted off the far post and into the net, via Kepa’s face.

It left the hosts with a two-goal deficit at the break, but Chelsea were in no mood to lie down. Kurt Zouma signalled their early intent, the French defender running a full 70 yards, beating four men and then blazing over from the edge of the box.

The hosts were electric in their reply, with Pulisic also leading the charge in the opening minutes after the break - but ten minutes after the restart, they found themselves a third goal behind.

Van de Beek was picked out by Ziyech in the box, and his delightful first touch set him up for a sumptuous finish into the far corner to flatten the crowd and, seemingly, the home players.

Donny van de Beek put the icing on the cake for the visitors as Chelsea gathered momentum. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Donny van de Beek put the icing on the cake for the visitors as Chelsea gathered momentum. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Azpilicueta gave Lampard's men a lifeline when he touched in from close range. (Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images)
Azpilicueta gave Lampard's men a lifeline when he touched in from close range. (Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images)

But not under Lampard. Not this Chelsea.

In the 64th minute, Pulisic’s cross was directed towards goal by Abraham and Azpilicueta tapped in from just inches off the goal line. The hosts sensed blood, and Jorginho tried his luck but could only drive wide just minutes later.

It was the 68th minute which truly set the game alight, though. Former Manchester United man Daley Blind brought down Abraham, and Chelsea played on with an eventual effort striking the hand of Veltman in the box.

Referee Gianluca Rocchi duly handed Blind his second yellow card, before awarding a penalty for the visitors and a second yellow card for Veltman.

In the blink of an eye, both visiting defenders had been sent off and, when Jorginho bagged his second of the night in clinical fashion, the overriding sense was that this was Chelsea’s match to win.

Jorginho converted his second penalty of the night after Ajax saw two players sent off. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Jorginho converted his second penalty of the night after Ajax saw two players sent off. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
And Reece James, on as a substitute at half time, volleyed home the equaliser. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
And Reece James, on as a substitute at half time, volleyed home the equaliser. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

James then volleyed home to seal the comeback after Zouma’s effort bounced back off the crossbar to send the home fans into a frenzy on the sort of night only the Champions League can produce.

With 12 minutes remaining, the west Londoners thought they had taken all three points when captain Azpilicueta slammed into the net from 10 yards - only to be denied by VAR, which found an earlier handball by Abraham.

It was an epic to savour, and even Ajax valiantly tried to seal a dramatic win through Promes’ late free-kick and Alvarez’s effort.

But it was the Blues who should have taken home the points when Michy Batshuayi turned his man and struck towards the corner - only for Andre Onana to deny him in the dying embers of a thriller at the Bridge.

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