Maribor 1 Chelsea 1

Chelsea missed any opportunity of qualifying for the knock- out stages of the Champions League with two games to spare on Wednesday night, after only managing a 1-1 draw against NK Maribor. They would have qualified if they had won and Sporting had not, but the result from Portugal ensured that the Londoners now need to get a positive result in one of their remaining two group matches. After putting the same opposition to the sword with a dominant 6-0 victory last time out, they were probably expecting more of the same when they travelled to Serbia for the return match, but found their opposition a totally different proposition on home turf.

Maribor even had the temerity to take the lead through Agim Ibraimi five minutes into the second half, to place the Blues unbeaten start to the season in jeopardy. It was a thing of beauty as his left foot shot from the right side of the pitch curled into the top corner. Chelsea rallied, as they equalised through Nemanja Matic with seventeen minutes still to play and should have taken all three points when awarded a penalty late on. The usually reliable Eden Hazard (who had been fouled to earn the penalty) was for once found wanting though as he missed from the spot, to provide Maribor with one of the most famous nights in their 53 year history so far.

Jose Mourinho was as ever quite blunt in his assessment of his team's display when interviewed after the match, believing that they too had perhaps slightly underestimated their opponents and only realised the potential danger after they went behind.

In the run up to the game he had been keen to play down the potential for further backlash from his side's supporters, after questioning the lack of atmosphere in the game against QPR at Stamford Bridge last weekend. It was not really an apology, more an explanation of what the motivation behind the suggestion was and one feels that so long as the results continue as they have been for the club then all will soon be forgiven.

Group G's other match saw Sporting Lisbon climb off the foot of the table with a resounding 4-2 win over the previously unbeaten Schalke. It was sweet revenge for the Portuguese side after the controversial 4-3 defeat against the same opposition in Germany two weeks' before. Schalke went ahead last night on 17 minutes when Sporting striker Islam Slimani headed into his own net, but the match was soon back level when the Portuguese side's Mouhamadou-Naby Sarr headed in from a free-kick at the other end. Sporting then took control of the game with goals from Brazilian Jefferson Nascimento and the on-loan Nani to go 3-1 ahead, only to concede again with two minutes left through Dennis Aogo. Their nerves and the tie were finally settled in added on time at the end of the match when Slimani scored at the right end this time.