Petr Cech made his surprise return to action in goal for Chelsea’s development squad in an eventful London derby against Tottenham on Monday night – but made an error which led to a goal inside the first three minutes.
The Blues’ technical director, 38, was playing for the first time since featuring for Arsenal in the 2019 Europa League final, after which he hung up his boots.
Cech, who won 13 major honours at Stamford Bridge before joining the Gunners in 2015, was only registered in Chelsea’s Premier League squad as a precaution in case of a coronavirus-related emergency.
The former Czech Republic goalkeeper was selected for Monday’s Premier League 2 clash after Lucas Bergstrom played for Chelsea’s Under-18s on Saturday, with club personnel not keen on the idea of the youngster playing twice in 48 hours.
Cech might have been wishing he never agreed to come out of retirement when Spurs took an early lead though, which came from a corner that he conceded.
After playing a seemingly simple pass straight out behind him, the visitors took full advantage as Brooklyn Lyons-Foster headed the ball into the path of Jubril Okedina who slotted home from close range.
Things went from bad to worse for the hosts, with Harvey White’s glorious ball over the top met with a bullet header by Dane Scarlett giving Cech no chance as Tottenham doubled their lead.
To Chelsea’s credit they came out much improved after the break, and pulled a goal back through Myles Peart-Harris on the hour mark.
The attacking midfielder cooly slotted home from the penalty spot after skipper Okedina brought down George Nunn.
Danny Drinkwater’s spectacular fall from grace has been well documented and he would have done himself no favours with this latest incident.
Drinkwater, a £35million signing from Leicester in 2017, was brought down by Spurs’ Alfie Devine, who was also shown a red for his nasty challenge, before petulantly kicking out at the teenager in retaliation.
The midfielder’s reaction saw a huge melee unfold on the pitch at Kingsmeadow, with Cech ironically acting as the peace maker.
Lawrence’s stunning long-range effort whistled just past the post as Chelsea continued their dominance late on, before Pearl-Harris secured all three points on 88 minutes with a perfectly placed effort into the far corner after great work from Lewis.
It was a mixed night for Cech, but after all the drama that unfolded that will surely only whet his appetite further to get back on the hallowed turf for his beloved Blues at least one more time.