Roma take top spot in Group C after the Italian side took advantage of a defensive mess sealing a 3-0 win at the expense of Chelsea on Tuesday night.
A Stephan El Shaarawy brace and a Diego Perotti stunner sealed all three points for Roma as the Blues slipped to second in the group.
Chelsea travelled to Rome with confidence following their 1-0 victory away to Bournemouth on Saturday evening. Eden Hazard scored the winner early on in the second half but the Blues should have killed the game after missing an array of chances.
Antonio Conte made one change to the side, bringing in club captain Gary Cahill in for, surprisingly, Davide Zappacosta. It meant Cesar Azpilicueta shifted across the back line to cover in the right wing-back position.
It was a frantic start with Chelsea having the first sighting of goal. Tiemoue Bakayoko burst through the midfield to play a through ball into Pedro but the Spaniard scuffed his shot goal-wards and it was easy for Alisson to collect.
The Blues were made to pay for that early chance straight away. Former Manchester City left-back Aleksander Kolarov delivered a cross to Edin Dzeko who nodded it down, the ball fell to El Shaarawy on the edge of the box and the winger, outside of the foot, fired it straight past Courtois who had no chance to give Roma the lead inside the opening minute.
Eden Hazard had the perfect chance to level it up for the visitors just a few minutes later after he played a one-two with Cesc Fabregas who lofted a ball over the top but the Belgian was put under pressure and the ball got stuck under his feet making it rather easy for Alisson to save.
Conte’s side continued to dominate possession and Morata had a glorious opportunity half way through the first half. The ball richoted off Pedro and fell to the Spaniard on the edge of the six yard box but Morata squandered the chance and blazed over the bar.
Chelsea were made to pay by a clinical Roma. They were warned when David Luiz failed to control the ball and allowed Dzeko to play a ball to El Shaarawy on the right hand side but the Italian failed to capitalise on the defensive error, drilling it straight at Courtois.
But then a minute later, former Roma defender Antonio Rudiger made a fatal error allowing the ball to bounce straight past him, and El Shaarawy made no mistake this time to double the home side’s lead. The visitors had all the ball and chances but another defensive error proved to be costly.
No changes were made at half-time as Chelsea looked to get back into the game.
Edin Dzeko nearly made it three for the home side. Diego Perotti powerful run led to the Bosnian receiving the ball but fired over Courtois’ goal.
Willian on & Cahill, surprisingly, the man off. Pedro to RWB, Azpilicueta CB #cfc
— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) October 31, 2017
Conte made an attacking change ten minutes into the second half taking off Gary Cahill for Willian in an attempt to chase the game.
The Brazilian almost made an impact immediately latching onto a ball and giving it straight to Morata. The forward held it up well, turned and fired a shot just wide of the goal. The chances had been there for the Blues but still couldn’t take one of them.
It got even worse for Chelsea. Roma hit three. A poor pass from Fabregas was taken on by Kolarov who played a ball to Perotti. The Argentinian struck a low powerful shot past Courtois who had absolutely no chance at his near post.
The defending and shape of the Chelsea back line was made to look a mess soon after the third went in. All three defenders went with Dzeko, left Perotti open but he fired well over. The Blues got away with another.
Conte tried to tighten the midfield as Drinkwater replaced Fabregas who single handedly cost the Blues with a poor pass for Roma’s third. A night to forget for him and the rest of the squad.
Radja Nainggolan forced Thibaut Courtois to make a fine save after the Belgian’s effort sailed goal-wards. Then Greek defender Kostas Manolas had a free, bullet header moments later but it was saved from the Chelsea keeper again to deny the hosts a fourth.
A game quite similar to the tie at Stamford Bridge, very open and full of chances. The Blues never looked like getting back into it unlike when the Italian side came from 2-0 down.
From start to finish, chances went begging for Chelsea who were ultimately punished for their lack of finishing in front of goal. Roma took advantage and were clinical but the mistakes defensively for the Blues is something that will concern the Chelsea boss. A good night’s work for the home side but one to forget for Conte on his return to Italy.