Chelsea’s return to the Champions League ended in disappointment as Ross Barkley missed a late penalty that ensured Valencia claimed victory at Stamford Bridge.
Frank Lampard’s first game as a manager in the tournament he won as a player with Chelsea in 2012 turned into a night of frustration as Valencia took advantage of slack marking at a free-kick for Rodrigo to score the winner on 74 minutes.
Chelsea, who lost in-form youngster Mason Mount to injury early on, had the chance to rescue a point when referee Cuneyt Cakir awarded a penalty for handball after consulting VAR when Daniel Wass blocked Fikayo Tomori’s header.
Barkley wanted to take the spot-kick instead of the Blues’ regular taker Jorginho, who give the substitute his blessing by shaking his hand, but Willian continued to argue his own case before allowing Barkley to take it.
It was a tight and tense encounter with chances at a premium and a tricky Group H, which also includes last year’s semi-finalists Ajax and Lille, has got even tougher for Chelsea after starting their campaign with a damaging home loss.
More to follow.