Nov 5, 2019 - Chelsea 4, Ajax 4
The latest installment from lifetime CFC supporter, and honorary Chelsea in America member, Chris Axon. Always a great read. Almost as good as being there. Almost.
Ajax were down to nine men, we had a penalty to make it 4-3 and there were still twenty-minutes on the clock.
“Jorginho. Jorginho. Jorginho, Jorginho, Jorginho.”
A hop on his approach, and a fine penalty.
Chelsea 3 Ajax 4.
“Fasten your seat belts, lads.”
More MHumour : “you’re not singing anymore.”
Just three minutes later, a corner from our right was met with a high leap under pressure from Zouma (pictured) and his powerful header rebounded back off the bar. With our hearts in our mouths – and other cliches – we watched, mesmirised, as substitute James slotted the ball in with consummate ease.
Chelsea 4 Ajax 4.
My head was boiling over but I managed – heaven knows how – to capture Reece’ run and slide on film, although only a few photographs are of sufficient quality to share.
Stamford Bridge had rarely seen a night like it.
I leaned forward and spoke to Albert.
“Remember the 4-4 with Liverpool in the Champions League? That was a mad one. But not many people talk about that. I guess because it followed that 3-1 win at Anfield. There was always a cushion.”
I spoke to the bloke beside me.
“My 5-5 might still might happen.”
It seemed that, unbelievably, we were now favourites to win. Fifteen minutes, plus stoppage time, were still to be played. Understandably, the noise was the best all season.
It was just beautiful.
Heaven knows what was going through Dennis’ mind.
In the pub, he had spoken about future travel plans for the next year and probable trips to Mexico City and back to Japan where he met his wife while serving for the US Marines. I replied “nah, after one game at Chelsea, you’ll scrub those plans and be back at Stamford Bridge within six months.”
Just four minutes after the equaliser, an attack developed down the Chelsea left. I shouted “spare man.” Callum received the ball and ran. He played in Dave, the spare man, overlapping and not spotted, with a deft flick. A near-post cross. The ball was pushed towards goal. There was a scramble and the ball was booted away. Jorginho let fly outside the box. A headed clearance. The ball flew back out. Dave pounced. A shot. Pictured.
FUCKING PANDEMONUM IN SOUTH-WEST LONDON.
The next few moments were mad, mental, mesmerising, magnificent.
The photographs tell the story
But they are greyed-out because, alas, VAR stopped our celebrations and after a horrible wait…tick tock, tick tock…the referee ruled that there had been a handball somewhere.
I have thought long and hard about including these photographs. My rule is usually to not bother if a photographed goal is disallowed. But I have to include these. They are a huge part of the night’s story.
The minutes, sadly, raced past.
Ajax, to their credit, kept attacking and Kepa repeated his heroics at Vicarage Road with another fine save to his left to deny the Dutch masters a horrible fifth.
I lost count of the chances that we had in the final minutes. Michy Batshuayi replaced the excellent Kovacic on eight-seven minutes as Frank went for a top-heavy formation. And it was Michy who, undoubtedly, had the best chance, turning to shoot low, but Onana dropped to his left and saved magnificently. I remember a lame header from Tammy that went well wide, but it was all a blur.
Scandalously, the referee decided that only four extra minutes were to be added to the night’s play.
How? Why? What? Who? When?
This was plainly wrong.
If we have to endure VAR…sigh…OK.
But don’t fucking short-change us.
I hate modern football.
At the final whistle, I was light-headed. It was no surprise. It had indeed been mad, mental, mesmerising, magnificent and more.
This game had it all.
You can/SHOULD read Chris' entire account of an incredible evening at Stamford Bridge HERE