Pedro goal gives Chelsea first-leg draw at Eintracht Frankfurt

Pedro scored an away goal as Chelsea recovered from an early setback against Eintracht Frankfurt to set up an exciting Europa League semi-final return leg at Stamford Bridge.

Eintracht took the lead through their top scorer Luka Jovic, who superbly steered in Filip Kostic’s ball.

The Blues, who started with Eden Hazard on the bench, equalised when Pedro thrashed home just before half-time.

David Luiz also went close when his dipping free-kick came off the bar.

The draw means that Chelsea become the first team to go 16 successive Europa League matches without defeat, breaking the record set by Atletico Madrid from 2011 to 2012. They will have the chance to make it 17 in next Thursday’s second leg.

There was a great deal of surprise when the Chelsea teamsheet showed Hazard’s name among the substitutes.

Manager Maurizio Sarri told BT Sport that he rested his 19-goal forward because of fixture congestion, with the Belgian having played 10 matches in a row. So it was a penny for Hazard’s thoughts when he was shown watching his team struggle and a goal down after 23 minutes.

However, Sarri did not rush on his key attacker and instead kept faith with what he had on the pitch, and was repaid with an excellent display thereafter.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, brought back into the XI, led the fightback. After Pedro went close with a strike that drifted past Kevin Trapp’s left-hand post, the England player kept the goalkeeper on his toes with a strike that also flirted with the woodwork.

The pair then combined for the goal. Eintracht’s defenders lost possession after dawdling on the ball in the area, and Loftus-Cheek carved out an opening for Pedro to do the rest.

The Blues midfielder went close twice more, first with an effort that swept over the bar and then with a stinging shot with the outside of his boot that tested Trapp.

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