Hazard’s brace saves Chelsea from the jaws of defeat against AS Roma
Tonight the defending champions of England, Chelsea met with Italian giant AS Roma in a fiery encounter at Stamford Bridge. These two sides last faced each other nine years ago where AS Roma came out victorious. Chelsea boss Antonio Conte started with his traditional 3-5-2 formation. AS Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco started with 4-3-3. Chelsea were missing their engine N’golo Kante due to thigh injury.
AS Roma started playing pressing game. Dzeko, Perotti and Nainggolan were continuously pressing Chelsea defence with short passes and through passes. The absence of a destructive midfielder like Kante gave Roma advantage in pressing. Although Chelsea got the first chance to score. Hazard recieved a misspass from Strootman and gave pass to Morata. But the Spanish frontman shoot straight towards Alisson. Roma countered quickly and got very close to get their first goal. Perotti got past the Chelsea defence with a great sloaming run but his shot just went over the bar.
However Chelsea got the lead in the 11th minute against the flow of attack. David Luiz gave Chelsea the lead with a bullet shot. At first he tried to pass the ball to Morata but his pass was intercepted by Kolarov. Luiz reacted quickly with a powerful shot giving Alisson no chance to prevent the ball from going into the net.
AS Roma continued their pressing football in the hope of getting an equalizer. Chelsea on the other hand were trying to increase the lead through counter-attack. In the 20th minute Hazard’s shot just went wide.
AS Roma almost got their equalizer in the 31st minute. Strootman’s reverse pass found Nainggolan at the edge of the box with plenty of space in front of him. Courtois stretched his leg to deny Roma from getting their equalizer. In the 34th minute Courtois again denied Perotti with an awesome save.
In the 37th minute Chelsea got their second goal. Hazard stole the ball and passed it to Morata. Morata’s shot was deflected in the path of Belgian maestro. He steered the ball into the back of the net.
AS Roma pulled one goal back through Kolarov. Kolarov dashed into the Chelsea box by overcoming Zappacosta and Azpilicueta with great speed. Then his shot was deflected by Christensen into the back of the net.
Roma again came close to scoring a second goal in the 41th minute. Perotti set up Kolarov with a tricky back-heel but there was nobody to meet Kolarov’s cross.
In the second half AS Roma continued their pressing football. Nainggolan’s shot was blocked by Chelsea defence.
Then David Luiz again tried his luck with a long ranger but his shot went much over the bar.
AS Roma were effectively using the weak link of Chelsea defence i.e the right side. Courtois deflected Perotti’s cross from the path of Dzeko.In the 60th minute David Luiz was replaced by Pedro.
AS Roma got their equalizer in the 64th minute. Fazio’s long ball found Dzeko and the veteran forward put the ball past Courtois with an exquisite volley in his 100th appearance for Roma.
For the next 5 minutes both the teams were giving tough fight to each other. Hazard’s cross was collected by Alisson. Bakayoko, on the other hand, got booked for fouling Perotti.
In the 70th minute Dzeko put Roma forward from Kolarov’s free-kick. This goal showed Chelsea’s carelessness in man-marking during set-pieces.
In the 72nd minute Cahill got hit on his face. He continued playing with a bandage on his face.
In the 73rd minute Gerson was replaced by Pellegrini.
AS Roma could not maintain their lead for long time. In the 75th minute Chelsea leveled. Hazard got his second after meeting Pedro’s cross from the right flank.
Antonio Conte bought Rudiger in place of Zappacosta in the 76th minute to prevent conceding further goal.
Then he bought Willian in place of the Chelsea hero Eden Hazard in the 80th minute.
Dzeko got a great chance to put Roma forward again but his header just went wide.
In the 83rd minute Eusebio Di Francesco bought Florenzi in place of Strootman to keep the Chelsea defence under pressure.
In the 85th minute Rudiger got a chance to score from Fabregas free-kick but he wasted the chance.
Roma made their final change as Perotti was replaced by El Sharawy in the 88th minute.
In the 90th minute Cahill got a chance to score but his powerful header went just over the bar.
Both the teams gave their best but AS Roma was better team than Chelsea tonight.
Courtois;Azpilicueta,Christensen,Cahill;Zappacosta(Rudiger 76th min),Bakayoko,Fabregas,David Luiz(Pedro 60th min) ,Alonso; Morata,Hazard(Willian 80th min)
AS Roma XI(4-3-3): Alisson;Peres,Jesus,Fazio,Kolarov;Nainggolan,Gonalons,Strootman(Florenzi 83 min);Perotti(El Sharawy 88min),Dzeko,Gerson(Pellegrini 73min)