Chelsea boss Antonio Conte took responsibility for his side’s failure to hold on to a two-goal lead against Roma in their thrilling Champions League showdown at Stamford Bridge.
The Italian saw his side squander a healthy advantage as early goals from David Luiz and Eden Hazard were overturned by an Aleksandar Kolarov strike and Edin Dzeko brace, before Hazard netted a late equaliser.
Chelsea remain in control of Group C, although Conte said he had no excuses after he withdrew Luiz only for his side to then relinquish their grip on proceedings.
“I didn’t like the football we played tonight,” said Conte. “We might have been 2-0 up but we weren’t in control. It’s right [for me] to take the responsibility. You have to try and protect your team, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad.
“This situation always gives us problems, but I’m not looking for excuses.”
It took just 10 minutes for the goal-fest to get underway and Luiz — playing in midfield — opening the scoring in style. After an attempted through ball bounced straight back to him, the Brazilian bent a shot beyond Roma goalkeeper Alisson Becker.
Hazard doubled the Blues’ lead 10 minutes before half-time when the returning Alvaro Morata’s deflected shot looped perfectly onto the Belgian’s left boot and he dutifully tucked home.
Roma halved the deficit before the break thanks to former Manchester City left-back Kolarov, who smashed a trademark rocket past Thibaut Courtois.
The visitors then flipped the game on its head in the second period thanks to the brilliance of another ex-City man, Edin Dzeko. On 63 minutes the Bosnian leapt through the air to rifle a volley over Courtois’ head.
The visitors took the lead moments later when Dzeko rose highest to divert a Kolarov free-kick goalbound.
With 15 minutes remaining, Chelsea were facing a third successive, but Hazard flicked a header past Becker to rescue a point.
Stamford Bridge collectively held its breath when Dzeko looked set for a hat-trick by latching onto a late cross, before breathing a sigh of relief when he nodded wide.