Chelsea draws 1-1 with Maribor in Champions League
MARIBOR, Slovenia (AP) — Eden Hazard had a late penalty saved as Chelsea missed a chance to advance from Group G in the Champions League on Wednesday, drawing 1-1 with Maribor.
Unrecognizable from the side that was crushed 6-0 by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge two weeks ago, Maribor took a deserved lead in the 50th minute when Agim Ibraimi’s superb curling shot beat Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal.
Chelsea, which leads the group with eight points, equalized in the 73rd minute through Nemanja Matic who latched onto a John Terry header to score from close range.
Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho felt his side had become complacent in what many expected would be another straightforward victory over the Slovenians.
“Many times surprises happen when people are not fully focused, when they believe the game can’t be a difficult one,” Mourinho said. “Only when Maribor scored did the players realize the game was in danger. After that, a fantastic reaction. We deserved to win, clearly.”
Mourinho reacted to a poor first-half showing by his side at the Stadion Ljudski vrt by making a double substitution at halftime, introducing striker Diego Costa and Oscar.
Luka Zahovic missed a fine chance to double the advantage and enhance Maribor’s claims of inflicting Chelsea’s first defeat of the season, before Matic’s effort 17 minutes from time saved the Blues’ blushes.
Maribor goalkeeper Jasmin Handanovic saved well from Hazard and Costa, who had the ball in the net after 79 minutes, only for the strike to be ruled out for offside.
The decision by Italian referee Daniele Orsato was criticized by the Chelsea coach.
“We scored two goals, two very good goals. The second goal, the referee decided to disallow but it’s a clear goal,” Mourinho said.
“We didn’t reach the number of goals that we should have in the second half, but the team played well... And the referee’s team did not have a good night.”
Hazard was fouled for the 85th-minute spot-kick, but the Belgian’s effort was too central and Handanovic saved.
Maribor remains rooted to the bottom of the group with three points. Schalke is second on five points, one more than Sporting in third.