Hazard misses penalty as Chelsea draw

Maribor 1 Chelsea 1

Eden Hazard missed a late penalty for Chelsea in Slovenia, where Nemanja Matic’s 73rd-minute equaliser rescued them from a shock Champions League defeat.

The Blues were trailing to Agim Ibraimi’s fine strike when Matic poked home John Terry’s goal-bound header from Cesc Fabregas’ corner.

A win would have clinched Chelsea’s place in the knockout stage with two matches to spare.

But, having been fouled in the box by Mitja Viler with five minutes remaining, Hazard made a complete hash of the resulting spot-kick.

The Belgian attempted to outsmart Jasmin Handanovic but the keeper stood his ground and embarrassed him by easily saving his woeful attempt.

Handanovic had earlier produced saves to deny Didier Drogba and Hazard, while Andre Schurrle’s blushes were spared by an offside flag after the German contrived to miss from three yards out after being set up by Willian.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho made a double substitution at the break, sending on Diego Costa and Oscar in place of Schurrle and Willian.

But five minutes later his team were behind.

Filipe Luis was slow to close down Ibraimi and he took full advantage, brilliantly curling the ball into the top corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area.

And it would have been 2-0 had Luka Zahovic then not inexplicably missed the target with the goal at his mercy after being found by Viler’s left-wing cross.

Chelsea responded strongly, with Drogba going close and the visitors being denied a penalty after Oscar went down under a challenge from Arghus, before Matic eventually hauled them level.

Had Handanovic not then brilliantly saved from Costa, Hazard not fluffed his lines or Zahovic not missed that earlier sitter, the outcome could have been very different.

The result, along with Sporting Lisbon’s 4-2 victory over Schalke, leaves Chelsea – now unbeaten in 16 matches – three points clear of the German side and needing to win one of their remaining two Group G games to guarantee their progress.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Filipe Luis (Ramires 57); Matic, Fabregas; Schurrle (Costa 45), Willian (Oscar 45), Hazard; Drogba.
Subs not used: Courtois, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Salah.

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