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Missed Eden Hazard penalty costs Chelsea in Maribor

It was rather a dull affair in Slovenia, as Chelsea, 6/1 to win the Champions League, were held to a 1-1 draw by Maribor. A match on the 5th November, which lacked fireworks, and barely sparkled into life.

In the last 10 minutes, however, Eden Hazard, the Blues’ best player according to manager Jose Mourinho, failed to convert a penalty, with the keeper barely worked.

Mourinho said after the game: “When a player plays as well as Eden Hazard did – for me he was absolutely fantastic, by far the best player in my team – he can miss a penalty and still be the best player in my team.

“In the last 30 minutes, we played really intensely and creatively with big desire to win, we had lots of chances to do it, but the goalkeeper was magnificent.

“We created lots of chances and the goalkeeper was really, really good.”

Both goals came in the second half, with the hosts taking a shot lead. A cross in from the left wing fell to Agim Ibraimi, who coolly curled around goalkeeper Petr Cech from the edge of the area into the top corner. Soon after they could have doubled their advantage, after Luka Zahovic put the ball over the bar from close range. However, it was Chelsea who took the opportunity, with Nemanja Matic ghosting to the back post to slot in, following a corner.

“I was not happy with the team and not happy with the performances,” Mourinho continued. “I changed it at half-time with the conviction that the team is going to improve. I was proven right.

“In the first half we didn’t play well. In the second half, after their goal, we played very well and normally we would win the game. But when you don’t play well for 90 minutes you risk it.

“We paid the price of not having a good first half. And in the second half their goalkeeper was fantastic.”

On Bonfire Night, the only thing bright about this match, were the two colourful kits on show. Chelsea need to be more clinical, though are 5/2 to reach the quarter finals.