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Lampard says Chelsea can ‘go places’ after stunning comeback against Ajax

The Blues came from 4-1 down to snatch a 4-4 draw in a spellbinding Champions League encounter.

Cesar Azpilicueta thought he had won it for Chelsea (John Walton/PA)
Cesar Azpilicueta thought he had won it for Chelsea (John Walton/PA)

By Andy Sims, PA

Frank Lampard felt Chelsea’s stunning comeback against Ajax proves his young side can “go places” this season.

The Blues came from 4-1 down to snatch a 4-4 draw from a spellbinding Champions League encounter against last season’s semi-finalists.

They scored two own-goals and two penalties while Ajax had two players sent off on a chaotic night at Stamford Bridge.

Today was just a mad one Frank Lampard

Cesar Azpilicueta even thought he had scored a winner, only for VAR to rule his goal out for handball in the build-up.

Nevertheless, a point from a breathless match keeps Chelsea firmly in the race to qualify from Group H, level on points with Ajax and Valencia.

Blues boss Lampard said: “Today was just a mad one, there are not too many I can compare it to from my day, with the VAR which is a new animal, and the red cards.

“But take all that out of it, and the spirit and the character was something I love. We need to tighten up, for sure, but with that spirit we can go places.

“You need characters, you need personalities. It would be easy to turn it in at 3-1, or 4-1, but we didn’t.

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Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma applauds the fans after the UEFA Champions League Group H match against Ajax (John Walton/PA)

“I think this group was always going to be tight, and we are in it. We’ve got two games left, very tough matches, and we have a lot of work to do.”

Ajax took the lead inside the opening two minutes when Tammy Abraham inadvertently diverted a Quincy Promes free-kick into his own net.

But moments later Jorginho equalised from the penalty spot after a foul on Christian Pulisic.

However, Promes headed the second before Hakim Ziyech’s free-kick beat Kepa Arrizabalaga, came back off the post and hit the keeper full in the face before bouncing in.

It was four 10 minutes after half-time thanks to Donny Van De Beek’s low drive, but the comeback began when Azpilicueta tapped in at the far post.

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Ajax’s Daley Blind (second left) is shown a red card by referee Gianluca Rocchi (John Walton/PA)

Then, in another crazy 60 seconds, Daley Blind was shown a second yellow card for fouling Abraham and Joel Veltman followed him down the tunnel for handling Callum Hudson-Odoi’s shot.

Stamford Bridge was rocking as Jorginho rolled in his second penalty of the night, and it was pandemonium moments later when substitute Reece James lashed home from a corner to equalise.

VAR ruled out Azpilicueta’s strike, spotting an Abraham handball among the pinball in the Ajax box leaving the Dutch champions suddenly grateful for a point.

Ajax manager Erik Ten Hag said: “Some decisions went against us, but we played magnificently. One moment everything changed.

“First Daley Blind, then Veltman, and a penalty, I felt we got punished many times.”

PA

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