Dynamo Kyiv 0-0 Chelsea: Improved Blues fail to break through

willian-chelsea

Eden Hazard and Willian hit the woodwork as Chelsea were held to a goalless draw at Dynamo Kiev. It was a vastly improved display, even on the win over Aston Villa, but Jose Mourinho’s men stayed third in Champions League Group G behind Porto and Dynamo, who remained unbeaten.

Mourinho had targeted four points from the double header with Dynamo — the Stamford Bridge return is on Nov. 4 — and would have been content with a point after losing at Porto last time out. Yet Chelsea came close to returning from NSK Olimpiyskyi with more.

SEE MORE: Arsenal downs Bayern | Bayer, Roma shootout | Mourinho’s “weak and naive” jab at FA, Wenger

Hazard, restored to the starting XI, hit the post with an early shot, Cesc Fabregas felt he was sandwiched in the box but penalty appeals were dismissed, and Nemanja Matic beat three men before prodding wide.

There was a sense Chelsea had to take one of those first-half chances, but another followed when Willian — excellent against opponents he knows well following his spell at Shakhtar Donetsk — hit the bar with a curling free-kick.

Andriy Yarmolenko showed why he is coveted with some surging runs as Dynamo pressed forwards in the second half, but it finished in a stalemate.

Chelsea will go to West Ham on Saturday with confidence restored but with work still to do domestically and in Europe.

Hazard was omitted from Chelsea’s starting XI for last Saturday’s defeat of Villa, with Mourinho afterwards demanding the Belgium playmaker improve his workrate. With Pedro injured, Hazard returned against a Dynamo side bidding to respond from a first loss in 38 Ukrainian Premier League games, 3-0 to Shakhtar last Friday. He apparently heeded Mourinho’s message against a Dynamo side whose head coach is Sergei Rebrov, once of Tottenham and West Ham.

The hosts had lost just one of their last 10 European home games, recording seven wins, and Chelsea’s initial priority was to keep it tight. But the Blues were on the attack for much of the opening 30 minutes. Willian struck a tame shot straight at Olexandr Shovkovskiy and a Fabregas effort next was blocked into the path of Hazard, whose strike across goal was tipped on to the foot of the far post by the 40-year-old goalkeeper.

Fabregas, who won his 100th Spain cap in Kiev last week, wanted a penalty for a challenge by Serhiy Rybalka. So did Mourinho, who is appealing a £50,000 fine and suspended one-match stadium ban imposed after being denied a penalty against Southampton earlier this month. The pleas were dismissed. Matic then drove at the Dynamo defense and might have scored.

Dynamo looked dangerous too and Domagoj Vida beat Kurt Zouma, playing out of position at right back, before finding Vitaliy Buyalskiy, whose shot deflected wide.

Willian, who had scored free kicks in four successive games prior to the Villa win, went close again with a 25-yard set piece which struck the bar. Matic could not quite reach the rebound.

Fabregas shot weakly and Hazard had a shot blocked before Dynamo pressed.

Yarmolenko teed up Derlis Gonzalez, but Asmir Begovic was equal to the shot and then parried clear a curling effort from the Paraguayan.

Vida scooped an opportunity over, Gonzalez shot at Begovic and Junior Moraes was unable to get on the end of a cross after a poor John Terry clearance.

Willian curled just wide as it finished level.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

PLAYER RATINGS

Chelsea
Asmir Begovic: 7 (out of 10)
Kurt Zouma: 7
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7
Gary Cahill: 7
John Terry: 7
Nemanja Matic: 7
Ramires: 7
Eden Hazard: 7
Diego Costa: 6
Cesc Fabregas: 7
Willian: 8

Subs
Oscar: 6

STAR PLAYER

Willian, playing against opponents he had met 20 times previously while playing in Ukraine for Shakhtar Donetsk, was all-action and hit the bar with a free-kick. Matic was a close second.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

Matic picked up a loose ball and beat three defenders with a bullocking run before prodding wide. The run itself would have done wonders for the Serbian’s low confidence. But he should have scored.

VIEW FROM THE BENCH

Hazard, Matic and Cahill returned to the starting lineup, with Pedro among those dropping out due to injury. The Spaniard and Loic Remy did not travel. Ruben Loftus-Cheek did make the journey, but was not even selected among the substitutes. Kurt Zouma was selected at right back, with Baba Rahman back on the bench. Oscar replaced Fabregas for fresh legs.

MOAN OF THE MATCH

Another Chelsea penalty claim denied, but this one looked more certain than others as Fabregas was tripped by Serhiy Rybalka. Rugby union would have turned to the television match official. In soccer, the additional UEFA officials are less than effective.

WHO’S UP NEXT

West Ham vs. Chelsea (Premier League, Saturday, Oct. 24)

Following the game Mourinho was quick to point to what he felt was a crucial moment in the game, telling BT Sport: “The referee was weak and naive – a big penalty.”

Mourinho’s comment appeared to be a pointed reference to what Arsene Wenger called Mike Dean after his Arsenal side lost to Chelsea in a combustible affair last month.

Wenger escaped FA punishment before Mourinho was then fined by the governing body for comments made about Bobby Madeley.

“I keep not understanding, what the goal referee does. Because (he) doesn’t make a clear decision. When the result is zero-zero and such a penalty is not given it’s a crucial moment of the game,” he added.

“We hit the post twice, we had a great occasion by Matic, (we had a) solid defensive performance against a dangerous team. To lose this game would have been really bad for us.

“(It was) a good solid performance, second clean sheet, everybody fighting for each other.

“Once more a game without luck, because with a bit of luck you win this game. It’s okay. We have the destiny in our hands. We play two matches at home and one in Israel. So the qualification depends on us.”

John Terry was in agreement, believing the club can secure qualification in front of their home fans in subsequent games.

He told BT Sport: “It’s on us. We maybe could have come away with three points tonight but we haven’t and we move on.

“In front of our home support, a big night under floodlights, it’s where want to be. It’s in our hands.

“We haven’t got the result we wanted but the desire’s still there, the hunger’s still there for trophies year after year. There’s been a lot of disappointment, but we’re collectively together.”

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