Chelsea conceded three first-half goals in a Champions League game for the first time but battled back against nine-man Ajax to draw 4-4.
Chelsea battled back from three goals down to earn a 4-4 draw in Tuesday’s thrilling Champions League clash with Ajax, who were made to pay for two red cards at Stamford Bridge as the hosts were denied a dramatic winner by VAR.
Frank Lampard’s side conceded three first-half goals in the competition for the first time as Tammy Abraham and Kepa Arrizabalaga both put into their own net, either side of Jorginho and Quincy Promes netting.
Ajax opened up a 4-1 lead through Donny van de Beek early in the second half and were still 4-2 in front – Cesar Azpilicueta pulling one back – when Daley Blind and Joel Veltman were dismissed in the space of a minute.
Jorginho scored his second penalty of the match to reduce the arrears and substitute Reece James struck 16 minutes from time to leave Chelsea, who had a late Azpilicueta goal ruled out by VAR, above Ajax at the top of Group H.
Ajax lost 1-0 to a late Michy Batshuayi strike when the sides met in Amsterdam two weeks ago but were ahead early on here, with Abraham swinging at Promes’ cross and sending it past Kepa with a slight touch.
That was the second-earliest goal conceded by Chelsea in the competition but they levelled through Jorginho’s penalty after Joel Veltman fouled Christian Pulisic in the box.
Abraham had a goal ruled out for offside and the visitors were back in front 20 minutes in when Promes reacted quickest to guide Hakim Ziyech’s cross away from Kepa.
Ziyech was again involved for Ajax’s third goal, the midfielder’s whipped free-kick hitting the crossbar and bouncing off Kepa’s face before crossing the line.
Van de Beek appeared to have killed off the game when picking up a loose ball and slotting past Kepa, but Azpilicueta prodded home from close range to restore hope.
Blind fouled Abraham in the box but play continued and Veltman handled Callum Hudson-Odoi’s cross, leading to a penalty being awarded and both Ajax players being shown second yellow cards.
Jorginho calmly dispatched the spot-kick and just under three minutes later full-back James walloped home after Abraham’s header crashed back off the crossbar.
Chelsea skipper Azpilicueta thought he had sealed an incredible comeback with a fine finish inside the box, only for VAR to spot a handball by Abraham in the build-up.