Chelsea could only manage a 0-0 draw at home to Ajax on Wednesday night, meaning the Blues will have to pick up a win in Amsterdam if they are to progress to the knockout stages of the NextGen Series.
The visitors began the match on the front foot, with Queensy Menig bursting through the Chelsea defence before beating Jamal Blackman in goal, but a heavy touch saw the ball go harmlessly out for a goal kick.
Islam Feruz soon went close for Chelsea, putting a shot narrowly wide, but it was Ajax who continued to look the more dangerous as Djavan Lorenzo Anderson headed over from a great position after an attack down the right.
Ajax right-back Kenny Tete soon went close too, drawing a good save from Blackman before Lewis Baker saw his curling free kick saved easily by the goalkeeper.
The first period ended as it had starter, with the visitors pressing for the opening goal, but despite all his good work down the right wing, Lesley De Sa’s shot from a narrow angle was dealt with by Blackman at his near post.
The hosts showed a little more urgency at the beginning of the second half as first Jeremie Boga went close after finding space in the area, while Feruz’s unrelenting style almost caught the Ajax goalkeeper out.
De Sa soon had the match’s best chance for Ajax, however, getting into the box before slicing his effort wide from near the penalty spot, while just before Lucas Andersen chipped over after good work by Pappoe.
Baker had another effort saved soon after as he surged into the box from the right-hand side before shooting across goal, but again the goalkeeper was equal to it, also managing to palm it out of the reach of the lurking Feruz.
Both sides missed chances in the dying stages, but fatigue seemed to get the better of the two sets of players late on, and the game finished 0-0, with all of Chelsea’s hopes lying on the trip to Amsterdam.