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Dramatic equaliser denies Chelsea top spot

Zenit St Petersburg finished third in the group

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel said his players “changed their behaviours” after taking an early lead against Zenit St Petersburg as they drew their final Champions League group match.

A dramatic equaliser from substitute Magomed Ozdoev four minutes into added time meant holders Chelsea failed to top their group.

Ozdoev scored a stunning half-volley from the edge of the box after Chelsea had come from behind to lead 3-2 with minutes left.

Timo Werner scored in both halves and also set up Romelu Lukaku after Zenit had come from 1-0 down to lead 2-1.

But Ozdoev’s strike meant Chelsea finish behind Juventus, who beat Malmo.

“We had a very good first 15 minutes and then we stopped doing the things we did in the first 15 minutes,” said Tuchel.

“We were forgetting why we were the better team. Our behaviour changed when we had the lead and this is something we never did and we should never do.

“We do the things that we want to do on the highest level and we push ourselves and it hurts and it has to hurt.

“You have to play through pain – physical pain – and you have to raise your level of concentration and you have to overcome adversity.

“If you change your behaviour because of the score, you allow the possibility to get punished. It’s as easy as the basics. The basics need to be pushed onto a higher level while we are in the lead.”

Tuchel’s side – whose only defeat during the group stages came in Turin when they lost 1-0 to Juventus – made the perfect start, Werner reacting to poke in the opener within three minutes.

Two goals in quick succession from Claudinho and Sardar Azmoun saw Zenit go in front at the break, before Werner’s one-two with Ross Barkley helped tee up Lukaku for Chelsea’s second.

Werner, who was a threat for Chelsea throughout, showed composure to make it 3-2 when substitute Christian Pulisic played him in with five minutes remaining.

But Ozdoev’s stunning stoppage-time strike ensured Juventus topped Group H, while Zenit finished in third and will go into the Europa League play-offs in February.

Chelsea troubled by Zenit

Timo Werner scores
Timo Werner scored twice and picked up an assist in Russia

Tuchel made eight changes for the game in Russia, saying fresh legs were needed to manage a heavy fixture schedule in December.

Lukaku, returning to the side for the first time since October after injury, lacked sharpness but was in the right place to tap in Werner’s cut-back in the second half.

Werner thought he had given Chelsea victory when he slotted in his second late on – anxiously awaiting a check from the video assistant referee for a potential offside.

But Zenit, who had threatened Chelsea on numerous occasions in the first half, remained a threat deep into stoppage time.

Earlier misses from Mason Mount, Werner and Saul will add to Chelsea’s disappointment but Zenit also had chances of their own – Azmoun was denied in a one-on-one with Kepa Arrizabalaga in the first half and again from a header in the second.

Chelsea end the group stage with four wins from six games, two points off Juventus.

Player of the match

DzyubaArtem Dzyuba

Zenit St Petersburg

  1. Squad number22Player nameDzyuba

  2. Squad number27Player nameOzdoev

  3. Squad number21Player nameErokhin

  4. Squad number4Player nameKrugovoy

  5. Squad number7Player nameAzmoun

  6. Squad number17Player nameMostovoy

  7. Squad number6Player nameLovren

  8. Squad number11Player nameClaudinho

  9. Squad number10Player nameMalcom

  10. Squad number8Player nameWendel

  11. Squad number14Player nameKuzyaev

  12. Squad number5Player nameBarrios

  13. Squad number3Player nameDouglas Santos

  14. Squad number41Player nameKerzhakov

  15. Squad number44Player nameRakitskiy

  16. Squad number15Player nameKaravaev

Chelsea

  1. Squad number11Player nameWerner

  2. Squad number19Player nameMount

  3. Squad number9Player nameLukaku

  4. Squad number24Player nameJames

  5. Squad number1Player nameArrizabalaga

  6. Squad number28Player nameAzpilicueta

  7. Squad number10Player namePulisic

  8. Squad number29Player nameHavertz

  9. Squad number4Player nameChristensen

  10. Squad number18Player nameBarkley

  11. Squad number22Player nameZiyech

  12. Squad number20Player nameHudson-Odoi

  13. Squad number3Player nameAlonso

  14. Squad number17Player nameSaúl

  15. Squad number31Player nameSarr

Line-ups

Zenit St Petersburg

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 41Kerzhakov
  • 15Karavaev
  • 6LovrenBooked at 60mins
  • 44RakitskiySubstituted forKrugovoyat 66′minutes
  • 3dos Santos Justino de Melo
  • 5Barrios
  • 10MalcomSubstituted forErokhinat 79′minutes
  • 14KuzyaevSubstituted forOzdoevat 79′minutes
  • 8Valle da SilvaSubstituted forMostovoyat 51′minutes
  • 11Rodrigues Parisi Leonel
  • 7AzmounSubstituted forDzyubaat 79′minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Krugovoy
  • 17Mostovoy
  • 19Sutormin
  • 21Erokhin
  • 22Dzyuba
  • 27Ozdoev
  • 64Kravtsov
  • 71Odoevskiy
  • 85Kuznetsov
  • 91Byazrov
  • 94Khotulev

Chelsea

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 1Arrizabalaga
  • 28Azpilicueta
  • 4Christensen
  • 31Sarr
  • 20Hudson-OdoiBooked at 37minsSubstituted forPulisicat 65′minutes
  • 24James
  • 18BarkleySubstituted forZiyechat 65′minutes
  • 17SaúlSubstituted forAlonsoat 75′minutes
  • 19Mount
  • 9LukakuSubstituted forHavertzat 75′minutes
  • 11Werner

Substitutes

  • 2Rüdiger
  • 3Alonso
  • 6Thiago Silva
  • 10Pulisic
  • 12Loftus-Cheek
  • 13Bettinelli
  • 16Mendy
  • 22Ziyech
  • 29Havertz

Referee:
Serdar Gözübüyük

Attendance:
29,349

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