Maribor 1-1 Chelsea Match Report – 5th November 2014

A missed penalty from Eden Hazard allowed Chelsea to drop two crucial points away to Maribor. The Blues fell behind to a goal from Agim Ibrahimi, but Nemanja Matic grabbed an equaliser for the Blues. The visitors pushed hard after drawing level, and they got a penalty when Hazard was brought down in the box, but the Belgian saw his limp spot-kick saved.

The Blues started with a much-changed side, with Petr Cech once again starting in goal, Kurt Zouma came in for Gary Cahill and Didier Drogba replaced Diego Costa up front. Oscar was also rested, as he dropped to the bench. They barely got going in the first half, which was a fairly drab affair and finished goalless.

The second half was much more entertaining, and it was kicked off by Jose Mourinho bringing on two players at half time. Diego Costa and Oscar came on for Willian and Andre Schurrle, as the boss looked for a reaction from his side. That didn’t do much for the Blues, and they continued to struggle in the second half. Just five minutes in Ibrahimi opened the scoring with a fantastic effort, and there was little that Petr Cech could do about it.

Ramires was then sent on for Filipe Luis shortly after the goal, switching to a back three. That seemed to help the Blues as they pushed forward, but they struggled to find a goal. Oscar appealed for a penalty after being brought down in the box, and replays showed that he was harshly done by as he was clipped before he could get his shot off.

The Blues finally got an equaliser just after the 70 minute mark, with Nemanja Matic scoring from a corner. Cesc Fabregas swung the ball in, Terry flicked it towards goal and Matic was there to tap the ball in from close range. It’s the Serbian’s second goal this season, both coming in the two Champions League away trips so far this campaign.

The Blues continued to push as they went looking for the winner. Diego Costa had the ball in the net, but the referee disallowed it for offside, but replays showed that the Spaniard was actually onside. The Blues were given the chance to win the game when Mitja Viler fouled Hazard in the box, but the Belgian missed from the spot for just the third time in his career.

It was a disappointing result and performance from the Blues, which showed shades of the November loss of form that has plagued them in past seasons. A defeat for Schalke in Lisbon has put extra pressure on the Blues for the game between those two sides at the end of the month, and it’s also opened up the group. Chelsea lead on eight points, with Schalke on five and Sporting Lisbon just a point behind them. Maribor currently sit bottom on three points. Things are tight for the Blues at the minute, but two more points should be enough to make it through as group winners.

LCN man of the match: Nemanja Matic