There was a lot of fun, excitement and adventure in 98 minutes at Mestalla……

 

In football if two teams attack from both ends, automatically the match becomes exciting. When a sense of adventure prevails among both sides, the match transforms into an insane show Since Frank Lampard took over as the manager of his former club, his young guns come out with such an attacking intent that it leaves the defence unsecured, but what they offer is adventurous football, which becomes a part of football’s folklore.

Nothing can beat the 4-4 draw against Ajax this season so far, but the dogfight on last night at Mestalla, comes close to that. Yeah, just closer as somehow, RB Leipzig’s stunning late-strikes against Benfica in the 90th and 90+6-minute gave the dramatic show at Mestalla a tough contest.

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If the match against Ajax had been nothing but an insane display then the encounter against Valencia could be termed as madness – the madness to win everyhing at the cost of defensive solidity. At Mestalla, when Chelsea were taking the match to that level of madness, Valencia joined the party and in the end, spectators all around the globe witnessed a basketball match, where teams were attacking at both ends.

In the age of pragmatism, such level of attacks are a rarity.

Chelsea have offered such twice so far.

Carlos Soler gave Valencia the lead. Then they attacked against which Reece James and full-back Cesar Azpilicueta were caught out of position more often. Valencia missed opportunities -Maxi Gomez had missed two gilt-edged chances. Then they missed a penalty – captain Parejo was denied from the spot by Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, spurning a second penalty in the competition after also missing in the defeat to Ajax.

Chelsea were surviving. But they did not just wish to spend the night surviving this way – they wished to advance and search for goals. The Blues equalised 108 seconds after Valnecia’s first goal via Mateo Kovacic, who scored his first goal for either club or country since January 2017 – a rather unlikely source indeed.

They lost Tammy Abraham, who was stretched off, but their spirit was not down. Chelsea’s Captain America, Christian Pulisic essayed an instinctive finish from Kart Zouma’s knockdown triggered an endless video analysis by VAR. Initially the goal was ruled out, but VAR overturned the decision and from nowhere Lampard’s boys were leading.

Chelsea shifted to fourth gear. Their defence was left lonely, which offered a lot of pressure on Andreas Christensen and Zouma, who conceded 9 goals in their last four games. What Chelsea needed was get behind the ball and earn points when Valencia were catching them in the counter. Valencia wasted chances and at one point it seemed, it might not be their night.

But in the 82nd  minute, a mishit cross from Daniel Wass flew into the net of Chelsea. Valencia survived. Chelsea were left heart broken. It was a 2-2 draw, which could have been a win for Lampard if his defence concentrated a bit more on solidity. Again, Arrizabalaga’s misjudgement of flight that decisive moment could also be pointed out.

But in the end, all those little ifs and buts, juts become irrelevant, when the value of entertainment is measured.

“We nearly won it, nearly lost it. It was end to end, not that we wanted it to be”, Frank Lampard said.

Valencia coach Albert Celades said, “The sensation in our dressing room is that we have missed a very good chance to qualify for the next round. But to get to the last game with our fate in our hands is not bad”.

The draw means that both sides are on 8 points after 5 games but Valencia have a better head-to-head record. Valencia would visit Ajax in their final group game and a victory would ensure a qualification to next round, while Chelsea will book their place in the round-of-16 if they beat Lille at home.

Lampard’s men are vibrant, full of fighting spirit and everyone possess the intent to advance forward – go to hell with defence! For the lovers of faiytale stories, it sounds romantic and exciting, but to take the sting out of the big boys in Europe, a defensive solidity is a must.

But a bit of flaw can trigger a wave of thrill and chill among the football fans.

98 minutes fun at Mestalla kept the fans at the edge of their seats.

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