Chelsea Concede 94th-Min Equalizer To Surrender Top Spot  (Sky Sports)

Zenit St Petersburg 3 Chelsea 3

Timo WernerMagomed Ozdoev's 94th-minute screamer consigned a much-changed Chelsea to a damaging 3-3 draw against Zenit St Petersburg as they surrendered top spot in Champions League Group H in Russia on Wednesday.

Timo Werner scored twice as Thomas Tuchel's side thought they had survived a scare in a thrilling contest in Russia, but Ozdoev pulled a rabbit out of the hat deep into stoppage time to ensure Juventus finished as group winners by virtue of their 1-0 win over Malmo in Turin.

Werner gave the visitors the lead inside 90 seconds when he converted from close range but quickfire goals from Claudinho (39) and Sardar Azmoun (41) in sub-zero temperatures gave Zenit a half-time lead.

Chelsea had been the architects of their own downfall with their lapse defending which will have infuriated Thomas Tuchel, but the Premier League title contenders turned the game on its head as Romelu Lukaku levelled (62) before Werner completed the comeback after a sweeping move with five minutes remaining.

But substitute Ozdoev pounced on Malang Sarr's headed clearance to rifle an unerring strike into the top corner in the fourth minute of stoppage time as Chelsea were made to settle for second place.

Player ratings

Zenit St Petersburg: Kerzhakov (6), Karavaev (6), Lovren (6), Rakitskiy (6), Douglas Santos (7), Barrios (6), Malcom (7), Kuzyaev (7), Wendel (7), Claudinho (8), Azmoun (8).

Subs: Krugovoy (6), Mostovoy (7), Erokhin (6), Dzyuba (6), Ozdoev (7)

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga (7), Azpilicueta (6), Christensen (5), Sarr (5), James (6), Barkley (6), Saul (6), Hudson-Odoi (6), Mount (6), Werner (8), Lukaku (6).

Subs: Alonso (6), Pulisic (7), Ziyech (6), Havertz (6).

Man of the match: Claudinho.

Chelsea crestfallen after bolt from blue

The result means Chelsea will face a seeded team in the last 16, with the likes of Bayern Munich or Real Madrid potentially awaiting them in next week's draw for the first knockout stage. Chelsea had the better head-to-head record against group winners Juventus, but finished two points behind them as a result of the two dropped points at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.

Chelsea headed to Russia knowing they needed to match Juventus' result against Malmo in order to seal top spot in Group H and a seeded spot in the last 16, but Tuchel opted to make eight changes to the side which lost 3-2 at West Ham last Saturday. Werner, one of those alterations, made a blistering start.

Saul Niguez created an opening for himself inside the first minute as Mikhail Kerzhakov smothered his shot, but from the resulting corner it was Werner who was in the right place to touch home after Ross Barkley's delivery brushed off the top of Azmoun's head at the near post.

The hosts were struggling to settle and might have fallen further behind moments later when Andreas Christensen stepped into midfield to combine with Mason Mount before Lukaku's cross towards the lively Werner was crucially intercepted by Vyacheslav Karavaev.

With Juventus leading through Moise Kean's opener against Malmo in Turin, it was imperative that Chelsea tightened their stranglehold on proceedings, but Zenit grew into the contest from the midway point of the first half.

Tuchel's men were given a warning sign when Claudinho slipped through Malcom after 26 minutes but Kepa Arrizabalaga came rushing out to make a fine stop.

After Azmoun headed wide from another Claudinho pass, Zenit were by now knocking at the door but Mount had the chance to double Chelsea's lead when he met Lukaku's cross at the far post but his volley from close range was brilliantly kept out by Kerzhakov.

Chelsea were eventually punished for their slack defending, however, as Cesar Azpilicueta's poor clearance led to Douglas Santos crossing for Claudinho to glance his header beyond Kepa.

Tuchel looked on bemused at how his side had let a position of control slip away from them, and things got even worse when Azmoun fired Zenit in front just four minutes later.

Christensen attempted to play the Iranian striker offside but he having timed his run to perfection in receiving Malcom's pass, the Russian Premier League player of the year rounded Kepa to steer his shot into the unguarded net.

Tuchel will have been alarmed at what he saw, but it was Zenit who lay the first glove upon the restart as Malcom cut inside Sarr too easily to draw a routine save from Kepa.

This was a chance for Tuchel's understudies to stake a claim for regular inclusion, and on the hour-mark he finally got the response he was searching for as Werner and Barkley played sharp one-two on the edge of the box for Lukaku to touch home from close range.

Zenit responded well and there was nothing routine about Kepa's next stop as Claudinho's deflected cross was headed towards the bottom corner by Azmoun only for Kepa to superbly claw the ball to safety.

Tuchel turned to Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic during a pulsating finale and Chelsea looked to have found the crucial third when Werner completed a fine team move involving the substitutes.

A give-and-go involving Ziyech and Pulisic resulted in Werner cutting inside to bury his finish underneath Kerzhakov. After a brief VAR check for offside, the goal stood.

Six additional minutes were signalled as Chelsea looked to kill the game with Cesar Azpilicueta going to ground citing a foot injury but the Blues captain was crestfallen moments later.

Chelsea were unable to hold on as a long ball was won by Artem Dzyuba, and after Andrey Mostovoy's cross was headed out by Sarr, Ozdoev speered a first time shot high beyond Kepa into the roof of the net to spark wild scenes of celebration heard as far as Turin.

Opta stats

Chelsea have finished second in their UEFA Champions League group in three of their last four campaigns in the competition (1st in the other), having won their group in six of their previous seven participations.

Zenit Saint Petersburg remain unbeaten at home to English sides in European competition, winning their two previous such encounters before today's draw.

Chelsea conceded as many goals against Zenit Saint Petersburg tonight (3) as they have in their previous 12 UEFA Champions League matches under Thomas Tuchel combined.

Romelu Lukaku has scored in all four of his UEFA Champions League appearances against Russian sides (5 goals), home and away against CSKA Moscow in 2017-18 and home and away against Zenit this season - Only Raúl (6) has netted more against Russian sides in the competition.

Timo Werner is the first Chelsea player to both score and assist in a UEFA Champions League match since Werner himself away to FK Krasnodar in October 2020. The German has scored four goals in the competition under Thomas Tuchel, double that of any other Chelsea player.

Zenit Saint Petersburg's Sardar Azmoun scored his sixth UEFA Champions League goal (his fourth for Zenit), netting in consecutive appearances in the competition for the first time since October 2019 - his first two such games for Zenit.

Timo Werner scored Chelsea's fastest ever goal in the UEFA Champions League after just one minute and 23 seconds, overtaking the previous quickest in November 2014 - John Terry against FC Schalke (1:26).

When is the draw for the last 16?

The Champions League last-16 draw takes place in Nyon, Switzerland on Monday, December 13.

The last-16 ties will be split across different weeks, with the first legs taking place on February 15-16 and February 22-23.

The second legs are then on March 8-9 and March 15-16.

What's next?

Chelsea host Leeds at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League (kick-off 3pm); Zenit visit Dynamo Moscow at 11am on Sunday.

UEFA Press Kit


Zenit Kerzhakov, Barrios, Lovren (c), Rakitskiy (Krugovoi 65), Malcom (Erokhin 79), Karavaev, Kuzyaev (Ozdoev 79),Wendel (Mostovoy 51), Santos, Claudinho, Azmoun (Dzyuba 79)
Subs Not Used Odoevski, Byazrov, Sutormin, Kravtsov, Kuznetsov, Khotulev
Booked Lovren
Goals Claudinho 38, Azmoun 41, Ozdoev 90+4

Chelsea Kepa, Azpilicueta (c), Chrstensen, Sarr, Hudson-Odoi (Pulisic 65), James, Barkley (Ziyech 65), Saul (Alonso 75), Mount, Lukaku (Havertz 75), Werner
Subs Not Used Bettinelli, Mendy, Rudiger, Silva, Loftus-Cheek
Booked Hudson-Odoi
Goals Werner 2, 85, Lukaku 62

Attendance 29,349

Referee Serdar Gozubuyuk (Netherlands)

VAR Jochem Kamphuis (Netherlands)