A single goal from Valencia’s Rodrigo separated the two teams last night as we lost our first Champions League game of the 2019/20 season. The defeat slightly dents our hopes of qualifying, but with five games left in the group qualifying stage, we can’t get too despondent, just yet.
Confidence had been high after the 2-5 victory at Molineux on Saturday; however our home form remains a mystery as this was the third game in a row where we’ve been unable to record a victory and the first where we’ve failed to break down the oppositions defence.
Two late chances in the first half from Willian could have given us a lead, but one effort ended up over the bar and one was saved by Cillessen. Earlier in the half, a bad tackle on the ankle of Mason Mount by Coquelin, saw Pedro come on to replace him. A scan on Mount’s ankle is due, with the possibility that he could be sidelined.
In the second half, a Marcos Alonso free-kick was deflected and saved again by Cillessen. Then with 74 minutes on the clock, a Valencia free-kick over the top of the Chelsea wall, found Rodrigo in space and he shot past Kepa.
With minutes left, Kondogbia was adjudged to have held Tammy Abraham in the box, virtue of VAR and a penalty was given. With some confusion as to who was going to take the kick, up stepped Ross Barkley who hit the ball high; it scraped the top of the crossbar and went over.
Next up is Liverpool at home in the Premier League on Sunday; a win against them and revenge for the Super Cup defeat would certainly help gloss over this Champions League defeat.
Kepa; Zouma (Giroud 73), Christensen, Tomori, Azpilicueta, Alonso; Kovacic (Barkley 80), Jorginho; Willian, Abraham, Mount (Pedro 16).
Referee: Cüneyt Çakir