Frank Lampard’s Chelsea hauled themselves back from the dead to earn a draw with Ajax in a bonkers match at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues were heading for a thumping when Donny van de Beek made it 4-1 on 55 minutes.
Cesar Azpilicueta reduced the deficit after 63 minutes to give Chelsea a glimmer of hope.
And when Ajax had both Daley Blind and Joel Veltman sent off for second bookable offences, both conceded within the same passage of play, the Blues smelled blood.
Veltman’s handball gave Jorginho the chance to score his second penalty, which he duly took, and Reece James fired home his first Champions League goal to pull his side level.
Azpilicueta’s sweet strike looked to have won it for Chelsea but the VAR ruled it out for handball.
Tammy Abraham’s own-goal gave Ajax a 107-second lead, Jorginho levelled from the spot soon after, and Ajax regained the lead when Quincey Promes nodded home.
Kepa Arrizabalaga then scored an own-goal as Hakim Ziyech’s cross hit his far post and rebounded home after hitting the diving keeper.
Van de Beek then looked to have put the game to bed, but the madness was about to begin.
1. Chelsea need to look at their defence
Chelsea have conceded more Premier League goals this season than any other side in the top 10.
In fact, you have to go down to 13th to find another team —West Ham — who have conceded as many as the 17 the Blues have let in.
It is a statistic that will bother manager Frank Lampard and, defensively, both the back four and team as a whole, looked shaky all night against Ajax.
They struggled to deal with several in-swinging crosses which were whipped in at pace in th first half and the jitters continued after the break when Donny Van de Beek was given far too much space in the box to score his goal.
Fikayo Tomori and half-time substitute Reece James are still young and still learning.
But Kurt Zouma, Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso, replaced by James, are all experienced enough and talented enough to not be conceding four goals at home.
2. Azpilicueta proves rare goalscoring hero
Cesar Azpilicueta finishing was sublime and twice he put the ball in the back of the net with strikes his manager would have been proud of in his pomp.
Sadly for the Chelsea skipper and his side, the second was ruled out by the VAR, Paolo Valeri of Italy, who spotted a handball in the build-up.
The Spaniard had only managed six goals for Chelsea in more than 200 appearances — his manager will be demanding a few more after this showing.
3. Van de Beek gives Mount a lesson
Mason Mount has looked totally at ease as a first-team regular at a top-six club this season after making the breakthrough at Stamford Bridge.
But he will arguably have learned as much about himself as a player in the hour or so he played against Ajax before limping off than any other game in the past three or four months.
Donny van de Beek is a special defensive midfielder and he barely gave the Chelsea youngster a look in all evening.
Mount is only 19 and has plenty of time on his side but this was a reminder that he needs to keep working very hard if he is going to be unpicking midfields like Ajax in the years ahead.
Worryingly, Mount’s evening ended prematurely as he hobbled off injured, making him a doubt for England duty.
4. Jorginho and Kovacic worthy of their praise
Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic drew special praise from manager Frank Lampard in his pre-match programme notes and understandably so given their recent performances.
“Our support was fantastic at Vicarage Road [on Saturday],” he wrote. “I heard a lot of singing for Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho, and I’m delighted with that — our fans appreciate effort and good play, and you can see both of those attributes in the way they are playing at the moment.”
Both have been excellent in midfield this season but have maybe found their performances overshadowed by the emergence of Mason Mount.
Mount, for the most part, has been brilliant, of course, but those two deserve a lot of credit for the work they do that gives him the freedom to play.
5. Blind’s unhappy return
Daley Blind return to England came to an abrupt and unhappy end as he was sent off for two bookable offences.
Both were poor challenges, especially the second on Tammy Abraham, although it looked more mistimed than malicious.
You might say he looked like he’d lost a yard of pace but Manchester United fans will probably tell you he didn’t have that much in the first place.