Valencia salvages 2-2 draw with Chelsea in Champions League

Sports

VALENCIA, Spain (AP) — Christian Pulisic’s third Champions League goal and Kepa Arrizabalaga’s penalty save weren’t enough to secure Chelsea a spot in the knockout stage of the European competition on Wednesday.

Daniel Wass’ fortuitous goal in the 82nd minute gave Valencia a 2-2 draw and kept the English club from making it to the round of 16 with a game to spare.

Wass’ angled cross from the right flank curled over Arrizabalaga and hit the far post before going in for the equalizer.

Kepa had saved Dani Parejo’s penalty kick in the 65th, after Pulisic put Chelsea ahead with the American midfielder’s sixth goal in seven matches in all competitions.

Valencia opened the scoring through Carlos Soler in the 40th and Mateo Kovacic equalized for the visitors less than a minute later with a goal awarded after video review.

The result left Valencia and Chelsea tied at the top of Group H with eight points, one more than Ajax, which can move into first place when it visits last-place Lille later Wednesday.

In the last round on Dec. 10, Chelsea hosts Lille and Valencia plays at Ajax.

A win would have been enough for Chelsea to advance to the knockout round in advance.

It was an open match at Mestalla Stadium, with Valencia and Chelsea squandering good scoring opportunities throughout the game. The final minutes were especially hectic, with both teams failing to capitalize on chances to win the game.

Valencia forward Maxi Gómez and Rodrigo had some of the best opportunities, including a close-range shot by Rodrigo that went wide deep into second-half stoppage time. Gómez whiffed a shot with only the goalkeeper to beat in the first half. Valencia goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen made a few key saves to keep Chelsea from adding more goals.

Kepa made a superb save on Parejo’s penalty kick, stretching out his left arm to swat the ball away. It was Parejo’s second penalty miss at Mestalla in the group stage this season, with the other coming in the match against Ajax.

Soler put Valencia on the board with a close-range strike, with the ball touching both of his legs before going in.

Chelsea answered right away with Kovacic’s low shot from outside the area, and Pulisic put the visitors ahead by poking the ball across the line following a loose ball inside the area. The goal was initially disallowed for offside but the call was reversed after video review.

Pulisic’s other goals in the European tournament came against Benfica in 2016-17 and vs. Club Brugge last season on his 20th birthday. He was coming off a run of five goals in his last four Premier League matches.

Valencia’s 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge earlier this season was the team’s only win against Chelsea in eight Champions League matches.

Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham had to be replaced before halftime with a hip injury.

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