Edin Dzeko's delightful double for Roma highlighted by spectacular volley
A simply monstrous Edin Dzeko stole the show for Roma as they came close to a historic result at Stamford Bridge. The on-fire Bosnian led the charge in the fight back from two goals down against the reigning Premier League champions. Roma took a 3-2 lead, only to see Eden Hazard snatch an undeserved point for Antonio Conte's side with 15 minutes left as the match finished 3-3. Despite only coming away with a draw and failing to take top spot in Group C, this was Roma's best display in Europe since beating Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in 2008.
Dzeko brought the dominant Giallorossi level in the 64th minute with what must be a goal of the season contender, connecting with Federico Fazio's long-range ball and lashing a left-footed volley past Thibaut Courtois. Only six minutes later, Aleksandar Kolarov whipped an excellent free kick into the box that Dzeko headed into the corner of the net, sparking absolute chaos among the Roma fans amassed in the Shed End.
Dzeko's former Manchester City teammate Kolarov got Roma's first goal with a deflected strike in the 40th minute just minutes after Chelsea looked to have wrapped things up with David Luiz's powerful opener and Hazard's first, a close-range half-volley eight minutes before the break. The Serb's goal gave Roma encouragement that their high press game plan was working, and they continued to harass Chelsea at every turn after the break, coming away from the Bridge with 60 percent possession and a 7-4 advantage in terms of shots on target. In the end it was individual errors, like Bruno Peres' sloppy pass in the build up to Chelsea's second, that cost Eusebio Di Francesco's team, and that's a real shame as this was a performance that deserved a win. Thankfully for Roma, Atletico Madrid could only draw at Qarabag.
What else is there to say about Dzeko? All the talk was of Alvaro Morata in the build up but Dzeko eclipsed the Spaniard with a world-class display, possibly his best in a Roma shirt, taking his total tally to 10 goals in as many games. He even had time to nutmeg his opposite number. Kevin Strootman was also back to his formidable best in midfield and Kolarov showed why he is one of the signings of the summer, opening Roma's account and providing Dzeko with his second. The Serb was unlucky to see Courtois toe another one of his crosses away from the lurking Bosnian a few minutes before.
Roma conceded four shots on target all night, and let in three goals. Having the likes of Peres and Juan Jesus means that you're always liable to have a costly slip-up that ruins the good work done by the rest of the team.
7 -- Roma learned their lesson from their timid start against Napoli at the weekend and came at Chelsea from the off, pressing the Blues' midfield and most importantly, their back three. Di Francesco had his team moving as a unit in both attack and defence, and that allowed his best players to express their full potential. Given the players at his disposal -- Gerson at right wing raised a few eyebrows pre-match -- he got as much as he possibly could from his charges.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 6 -- Couldn't do much with Luiz's belting opener or either of Hazard's goals, and had hardly anything else to do.
DF Bruno Peres, 4 -- His loose pass led to Chelsea's decisive second. Really stood out as a weak link in a strong team performance.
DF Federico Fazio, 6 -- It was the Argentine's fine pass that Dzeko turned into one of the goals of the season. Improved after a wobbly opening half an hour.
DF Juan Jesus, 5 -- Nervy, edgy, and all sorts of other words that describe a player not at ease on this stage.
DF Aleksandar Kolarov, 8 -- Got Roma back into the game just when it looked lost and unlucky not to have two assists for Dzeko. Absolutely delighted when getting forward.
DF Radja Nainggolan, 6 -- Missed a great chance to equalise just minutes before Hazard doubled Chelsea's lead. Not at his best but still effective in charging Chelsea down.
DF Maxime Gonalons, 7 -- Moved the ball well and kept the midfield ticking over. An improvement on Daniele De Rossi, on current form.
DF Kevin Strootman, 8 -- Led Roma's dominance of possession and aggressive pressing.
FW Gerson, 6 -- Fulfilled his duties with gusto, without leaving much of a mark. Good display given he was played out of position.
FW Edin Dzeko, 9 -- The guy is simply colossal. A brilliant brace to turn the match around, and that volley -- sensational. Could easily have had a hat trick.
FW Diego Perotti, 7 -- Caused havoc with his dribbling, but really needs to work on his shooting.
FW Lorenzo Pellegrini, N/R -- A solid 15-minute cameo from the Italian in place of Gerson.
MF Alessandro Florenzi, NR -- If only he wasn't coming back from two ACL injuries, maybe he would have started and Roma wouldn't have conceded that sloppy Chelsea second.
FW Stephan El Shaarawy, N/R -- Nice little run out on his return from a thigh injury.
Terry is based in Rome and is ESPN FC's AS Roma blogger. Twitter: @T_Daley