Chelsea 3 Roma 3:
Hazard brace rescues Conte’s men after Dzeko double
Hazard scored in each half, heading in to level from Pedro’s cross with 15 minutes to go to keep the Blues top of Group C. Hazard had given Chelsea a two-goal lead in the first half after David Luiz’s wonderful opener.
But Roma were never out of the contest and Aleksandar Kolarov’s goal five minutes prior to the break gave them hope of a second-half reprisal that came true when Dzeko scored a stunning volley and a header to give them the lead.
The contest swung from end to end throughout and even at 3-3 there were numerous chances for both sides to find a winner, but a stalemate seemed fitting after Hazard and Dzeko matched each other goal for goal and inspired their sides in equal measure.
Hazard saves stuttering Chelsea
Chelsea were nearly staring at a third loss in a row in all competitions for the first time since 2006, as Roma outclassed the hosts with a high-pressing game that saw the Italians dominate possession and make nearly 200 more passes than their English counterparts despite spending nearly £180m in the summer,.
It was the first time a Conte side has conceded three goals in a Champions League game, and it could have been more as Dzeko headed wide late on following his superb double.
Chelsea remain top of the group after match day 3, they again dug out a result – having scored a 94th-minute winner against Atletico Madrid last time out in Europe.
Conte has Hazard to thank for that, with the Belgian first putting the Blues into a two-goal lead with a smart finish from a deflected Alvaro Morata shot and then guiding a header beyond goalkeeper Alisson after Roma’s fantastic response.
Bosnia-Herzegovina forward Dzeko never scored against Chelsea during his five seasons at Manchester City in the Premier League.
The 31-year-old responded to that on Wednesday with what may be one of the goals of the Champions League, watching former Tottenham defender Federico Fazio’s long pass drop over his shoulder before lashing a left-footed volley past Thibaut Courtois.
Dzeko has been in superb form for Roma this season, and the striker added his 10th goal of the campaign when he met Kolarov’s free-kick inside the area to head in unmarked and briefly give Roma the lead.
Poor defending characterised the game on both sides, and will worry Conte heading into Saturday’s game against fourth-placed Watford who is in fine form after a sensational win over Arsenal..
Luiz operated from the midfield and the Brazil international scored a goal with all the finesse of a 30-goal-a-season striker. Both him and Tiemoue Bakayoko struggled to deal with Roma’s runs from deep and, despite also claiming Luiz had a calf problem, Conte said it was a tactical decision to bring the Brazilian off for Pedro in the second half.
Man of the match – Aleksandar Kolarov (Roma)
– Roma have never won an away game against English opposition in the Champions League (D3 L6).
– Eden Hazard scored his first Champions League goals since March 11th 2015 versus PSG – 952 days ago.
– Hazard’s two goals were more than he had managed in his previous 14 games in all competitions for Chelsea (1).
– This is the first time that a team managed by Antonio Conte has conceded three goals in a Champions League game.
– Chelsea have scored four goals from outside the box in the Champions League this season, more than any other team.
– Roma have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 23 away games in the Champions League.
– Bosnia-Herzegovina forward Dzeko never scored against Chelsea during his five seasons at Manchester City in the Premier League.