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Chelsea snatch draw as Man Utd edge Benfica

Paris, Thursday @PeopleSports11

Chelsea were grateful to Eden Hazard for grabbing a 3-3 draw in a Champions League thriller against Roma on Wednesday, while Manchester United, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Juventus all won.

Hazard headed in his second goal of the night from a Pedro Rodriguez cross with quarter of an hour left at Stamford Bridge to rescue Chelsea after they had earlier blown a two-goal lead against the Italians.

With Carlo Ancelotti, former Chelsea coach and Roma player, watching from the stands, David Luiz curled the English champions into an early lead and Hazard increased their advantage.

But Aleksandar Kolarov pulled one back for Roma before the interval and Edin Dzeko equalised with a stunning volley on 64 minutes before his header put the visitors ahead to the disbelief of the home fans in west London.

Hazard’s leveller allowed Chelsea to hold onto top spot in Group C with seven points, two points clear of Roma and five better off than Atletico Madrid. “It was a difficult game against a good team. We suffered in possession and it wasn’t easy in the first half, despite scoring two goals,” said Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.

Beaten finalists in 2014 and 2016, Atletico could only draw 0-0 in Azerbaijan against Qarabag, who claimed their first ever Champions League point despite having South African striker Dino Ndlovu sent off late on. Chelsea’s draw also ensured that the five English clubs in the competition all picked up points this midweek, with United grinding out a 1-0 victory at Benfica to maintain their perfect record in Group A.

Jose Mourinho was returning to Lisbon to face the club he coached briefly in 2000 but it was Benfica’s teenage goalkeeper Mile Svilar who stole the headlines. The 18-year-old Belgian was handed a start to become the youngest ever goalkeeper in the Champions League and was at fault for the only goal of a flat game.

Svilar was caught out when Marcus Rashford delivered a free-kick from wide on the left on 64 minutes and he could only carry the ball over the line. Benfica’s misery was completed when captain Luisao was sent off in stoppage time. “I never felt that we could concede a goal. Sometimes I feel to be good defensively is a crime but it is not a crime,” said Mourinho.-AFP

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