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Chelsea and Roma serve up a thriller

BATLLE OF THE BRIDGE: Roma's Radja Nainggolan and Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko (right) tussle for possession

THEY WERE deemed surplus to requirements at the Etihad stadium, but former Manchester City players Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Kolarov came back to England to stun Chelsea. Both players scored to help AS Roma recover from a two goal deficit to then take the lead before Chelsea recovered to rescue a point at Stamford Bridge.

Dzeko's first goal drew Roma level after David Luiz and Eden Hazard struck to give the Blues a two goal lead. Kolarov halved that deficit broke the break, and then Dzeko's stunning volley, followed by a precision header saw the visitors take the. Incredibly, Hazard headed in to make it 3-3 in a pulsating affair, which both sides had to then settle for in a thriller of a tie in west London.

It was the first time in four years that Conte had to deal with back to back league defeats. None of his team's had ever lost three in a row and Chelsea didn't want to be the first to have that unwelcome statistic. Given his preferences to maraud forward David Luiz was starting in midfield, and three weeks after injuring his hamstring, Alvaro Morata made a welcome return for the Blues.

When Radja Nainggolan lost possession close to the touchline, Tiemoue Bakayoko recycled the ball for Luiz who saw his first effort come right back to him from Juan Jesus's poor clear out. Luiz buried the ball beyond Alisson Becker at the second time of asking to give Chelsea the lead after 11 minutes. Fluid and composed in their play, Roma didn't panic and their huge travelling supporters almost saw Nainggolan level as he latched onto Kevin Strootman's pass, only to be denied by a near post save from Thibaut Courtois.

Defending in depth, Chelsea were content to see Roma have the ball, and when they lost it, hit them on the break. Under pressure from Eden Hazard, Bruno Peres lost possession and the Chelsea's number 10 fed Morata to his left. Hazard hared into the Roma area and coolly volleyed in Morata's cross for his first goal of the season to double Chelsea's lead. It was cruel on Roma, but it was also the Blues at their lethal best.

The noise inside Stamford Bridge was deafening, and despite their side being two goals in arrears, the Roma fans seemed to up their volume. Just before the break, they had the goal their side had deserved. Kolarov got the better of Cesar Azpilicueta and clipped the ball over a startled Courtois to halve the deficit. Roma almost levelled before half time when Gerson narrowly failed to convert from Diego Perotti's cross.

Kolarov was getting plenty from the left as the Blues' three man back line struggled to cope. Dzeko just missed out on a teasing cross as Conte replaced Luiz with Pedro. Federico Fazio, a giant of a central defender then made the pass of the game to find Dzeko from fully forty yards. The Bosnian never took his eyes off arc of the ball as it lowered over him and onto his left boot for a superb volley past Courtois. Think Marco van Basten and, yes this goal was just as good as that of the legendary Dutchman. Roma were level and deservedly so.

Chelsea were struggling to cope and when Bakayoko fouled Perotti, Roma had a free kick in a very dangerous position. Kolarov took the free kick to pinpoint the ball onto the head of Dzeko to head in giving Roma the lead for the first time. The away section were delirious, as Dzeko celebrated in front of them again.

Conte brought of Antonio Rudiger for a more robust four at the back, although Azpilicueta still had licence to roam. It was from the right where Chelsea fought back to level. Pedro swung in a cross which the unmarked Hazard guided in past Becker.

Neither team deserved to lose this one, so 3-3 was perhaps a fair result on a night when west London witnessed one of the best Champions League games.

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