Ross Barkley misses costly penalty in Champions League opener

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Ross Barkley missed a late VAR-awarded penalty as Frank Lampard lost 1-0 to Valencia on his Champions League debut as Chelsea manager.

Chelsea had the chance to cancel out Rodrigo’s 74th-minute opener and salvage a point when the Video Assistant Referee alerted the on-field official to Daniel Wass’ handball in the area with three minutes remaining.

Barkley insisted he should take the spot-kick, snatching the ball off regular penalty taker Jorginho, but his effort cannoned off the top of the crossbar.

The late penalty controversy compounded a harsh introduction to Champions League football for Lampard, who lost Mason Mount to injury just 16 minutes and still awaits the first home victory of his tenure at Chelsea.
Valencia players and fans supposedly arrived in London in disarray following the sacking of manager Marcelino last week, but they were united as they produced a classy display against Lampard’s youthful side which featured four competition debutants.

Tammy Abraham, fresh from his hat-trick at Wolves, was denied a maiden Champions League goal when his near-post flick was blocked by Valencia goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.

READ ALSO: How Napoli Sunk European Champions, Liverpool in UEFA CL Opener

Mason Mount then received a painful introduction to European football when former Arsenal midfielder Frances Coquelin left his studs on the inside of his shin with a challenge that yielded only a yellow card, despite forcing the youngster off inside 16 minutes.

Willian was Chelsea’s biggest threat in the first half and nearly scored a sensational opener when he brought a cross down on his chest and flashed a first-time effort inches over.

Marcos Alonso took the game to Valencia early in the second half, drilling in a free-kick under the visitors’ poor excuse for a wall which Cillessen tipped behind for a corner, from which the left-back headed over at the near post.

But with 16 minutes remaining, Valencia struck with their first effort on target when Rodrigo gave the Chelsea defence the slip, raced into acres of space in the Chelsea area and drilled a shot into the group that flew past Kepa Arrizabalaga into the top corner.

Chelsea’s players appealed for a handball with five minutes remaining in a dramatic finale, as replays showed Fikayo Tomori’s header was blocked by the hand of Valencia defender Wass.

After a lengthy VAR review, a penalty was awarded but Barkley, on as a substitute just seven minutes prior, took responsibility into his own hands only to crash his effort against the bar and over.

Samson Oyedeyi

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