Chelsea were denied three points thanks to some controversial refereeing and hitting the woodwork in what was an enthralling goalless draw away to Dynamo Kiev.
It would not be unfair to say that Chelsea were the better side in Ukraine, and if not for referee Damir Skomina’s inability to give what looked a clear penalty,we would have had the three points to show for it.
Asmir Begovic started in goal and was not really troubled, though when called upon he delivered a competent display. John Terry and Gary Cahill were the centre back pairing, with Cesar Azpilicueta at left back. Kurt Zouma was the right back, replacing Baba Rahman in the line up from our last league game against Aston Villa.
Like Begovic, the back four were largely untroubled but were solid throughout, as were the midfield anchors of Ramires and Nemanja Matic. Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard and Willian were all pivotal in attack behind Diego Costa, and all four troubled the Kiev defense all night.
Early signs, including some nice interplay from Matic and good efforts from Hazard and Fabregas, would have had Chelsea fans encouraged. Hazard not long after curled against the upright past the home stopper Oleksandr Shovkovskiy, who managed to get fingers to what was a goalbound effort from the Belgian, who tonight finally showed signs of his mercurial self after an indifferent start to the season.
Hazard, Costa and Fabregas all combined in what was the biggest talking point of the game. Some nice play between the trio saw Fabregas through only to be upended by two Dynamo defenders and did not seem to make contact with the ball. The Spaniard was furious to not be awarded a penalty and judging on the replays afterwards, rightly so.
Chelsea perservered and had more fine efforts stopped, including a Willian free-kick and more attacking play from Nemanja Matic, who was a definite candidate for man of the match.
Two minutes after the start of the second half we had another fantastic chance to open the scoring. Willian was brought down by Yehven Khacheridi and the Brazilian’s free kick bounced off the bar and no blue shirt could follow the rebound in.
Eden Hazard played in a pass to Fabregas, who – with acres of space to his name – contrived to fire his effort straight at the goalkeeper. Despite our dominance, Begovic still needed to be alert to keep out Derlis Gonzalez and Andriy Yarmolenko, both of whom were key to Dynamo’s counter-attacking approach during the second period.
There was a late scare for the Blues as a corner was haphazardly dealt with; with Zouma, Terry and Cahill all having attempts to clear before the ball finally went out of touch. Willian put his shot inches wide in what would prove to be the final chance of the game.
We sit third in the group on four points, one point behind the side we travelled to tonight. We play them again in our next European game, a win in said game would confirm that tonight’s goalless draw was indeed a good result. Anything other than that would leave us with a mountain to climb to make the knockout stages.