By Paul Lagan
Chelsea 1 v Krasnodar 1
When a game has little riding on the result, you can either get a goal-fest or an encounter that can be a boon for an insomniac – this 1-1 draw against Russian outfit in a dead rubber of a Champions League group match was in the second category.
But for the likes of Billy Gilmour and Tino Anjorin, it was a chance to showcase their undoubted talents – both did that, but both will sit out Saturday’s evening Premier League match against Everton.
Anjorin most likely returning to the U-23 side.
Chelsea were behind for a couple of minutes – Jorginho securing a penalty after Tammy Abraham was bundled over.
The only positive was that there were no obvious injuries to any of the west Londoners.
Head coach Frank Lampard made 10 changes from the 3-1 win over Leeds United at the weekend, and it showed in the opening 20 minutes where, despite dominating the ball, it was the Russians who had the better goal chances – both shots that went just wide of Kepa’s goal.
Chelsea’s first effort was a wayward effort by Croatian Mateo Kovacic on 19 minutes.
So it was no surprise to see the away side take the lead on 25 minutes when Cabello was left free in the Chelsea penalty area, and the ball was slotted home past Kepa.
Two minutes later and the chance to level saw Jorginho take a penalty kick after Abraham was bundled over in the penalty area. The Brazil-born Italian cooly stroked the ball into the corner of the Krasnodar net to level the match.
Abraham had a great chance to score when Ki Havertz set up the striker. He took the ball around Gorodov, but smacked a tight-angled effort wide.
There were no changes by either side at half-time.
But the match became a pedestrian stroll for both sides with little to cheer the fans.
An Emerson long range effort on 66 minutes was the first goal-bound effort of the half.
Gorodov did well three minutes later to thwart Abraham who took advantage of a defensive slip. Abraham pinged the ball to the near post, but the stopper shot out his left leg and blocked the effort.
Lampard has seen enough and attempting to alter the game in his favour made a double substitution, replacing Kovacic and Havertz with N’Golo Kante and Timo Werner on 75 minutes.
Tino Anjorin came off for Olivier Giroud with 10 minutes left on the clock.
The replacements injected an element of pace in the home side, without a real sense of goal threat.
The Russians responded by becoming increasingly defensive to try and eek out a point.
And they did just that.
Kepa, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Emerson, Gilmour, Jorginho, Kovacic, Havertz, Abraham, Anjorin
Subs: Alonso, Kante, Pulisic, Werner, Caballero, Tomori, Zouma, Giroud, Mount, Chilwell, James, Ziger
Gorodov, Smolnikov, Martynovich, Da Silva Pantaleao, Ramirez, Olsson, Vilhena, Sousa Campos, Capella, Claesson, Berg
Subs, Sorokin, Chernov, Markov, Utkin, Chernigov, Kambolov, Sinitsyn, Suleymanov, Petrov
Referee, Pavel Kralovec
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