Until Eden Hazard struck, Chelsea and Sparta Prague were heading to extra time. Sorry, Sparta.
While Sparta Prague put in a fantastic performance at Stamford Bridge on Thursday, it wasn't quite enough to fire them through to the Round of 16. Thanks to their result in Prague and a stellar strike by Eden Hazard, Chelsea are going through, even though they were disappointing in a 1-1 draw.
Sparta's goal came in the 17th minute on a counter started by Marek Matejovsky. The Sparta midfielder fed Vaclav Kadlec with an impressive through ball, which Kadlec ran onto, then cut back in the penalty area. He found David Lafata unmarked, and he finished into the roof of the net.
From the beginning of the second half until the end of the match, Chelsea were very much on the front foot and looked like scoring on multiple occasions. Ramries hit the post just two minutes into the half, while Fernando Torres had a big chance saved by Tomas Vaclik after a through ball and turn away from his defender. John Terry came close in the 59th minute, nearly scoring off a quick flick following a set piece that was saved.
Hazard started the match on the bench, but made an instant impact when he came on as a substitute. He looked like one of Chelsea's most dangerous players straight away, and eventually netted the winning goal. There was almost nothing Vaclik could do about his stoppage time strike, hit with incredible power to the upper corner from a narrow angle, leveling the match at 1-1 and putting Chelsea 2-1 ahead on aggregate.
The Blues held on in the final minute of stoppage time, and Sparta's players looked understandably heartbroken.
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