London (AFP) – Jorginho spared Chelsea’s blushes as his penalty rescued a 1-1 draw against Krasnodar in the last Champions League Group E round on Tuesday.
Frank Lampard’s side had already qualified for the last 16 as group winners after beating Sevilla 4-0 last week.
Even so, they would not have wanted to lose to the Russian minnows and that was the prospect they faced after Remy Cabella put Krasnodar ahead in the first half at Stamford Bridge.
Lampard had made 10 changes from the win over Leeds in the Premier League last weekend.
Jorginho ensured the under-strength Chelsea line-up were saved from embarrassment when he stroked in a penalty moments after Krasnodar’s shock opener.
Chelsea are unbeaten in 14 games in all competitions as they look to mount a Premier League title challenge and win the Champions League for a second time.
Krasnodar finish third in the group and will move on to the Europa League.
Billy Gilmour made his first start for Chelsea since recovering from knee surgery and the Scottish midfielder let fly with an early effort that deflected wide.
But Chelsea’s rhythm had clearly been disrupted by all the changes and Krasnodar threatened when Tonny Vilhena’s powerful strike whistled just over.
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga had been given his first appearance since October after losing his place to Edouard Mendy.
Spain international Kepa has endured a torrid time with a series of costly mistakes since signing from Athletic Bilbao in 2018 for £71 million, a world record for a keeper.
Although he wasn’t at fault this time, Kepa was unable to prevent his side falling behind in the 24th minute.
A neat exchange of passes opened up the flat-footed Blues defence and Viktor Claesson teed up the unmarked Cabella for a low shot that flashed past Kepa from 12 yards.
That was a wake-up call for Chelsea as they hit back to equalise four minutes later.
Tammy Abraham’s nimble turn drew a clear tug from Krasnodar defender Kaio, earning a penalty that Jorginho stepped up to take.
Jorginho had missed two spot-kicks earlier this season, including one in the 4-0 win at Krasnodar, but the Italy midfielder made amends as he slotted home.
Abraham was at the heart of Chelsea’s best moments. The striker almost put his team in front when his first-time shot from Kai Havertz’s pass went just wide.
Chelsea’s 19-year-old English forward Tino Anjorin made his maiden start after two substitute appearances last season.
He offered a few glimpses of his potential and his audacious effort curled narrowly wide in the second half.
Abraham couldn’t get a strong enough connection with his header from Jorginho’s cross, but should have won the game in the closing stages.
Surging through on goal, Abraham’s shot was too close to Evgeni Gorodov, who made a good save with his outstretched leg.
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