Zouma plays full game for Blues
Chelsea win penalty shootout after game
Kurt Zouma stepped up his recovery from the horrific knee injury that kept him sidelined for seven months as he completed Chelsea’s Checkatrade Trophy match with Oxford United - which was decided by an epic penalty shootout of some 34 kicks.
The 22-year-old French defender remains on course to return to Antonio Conte’s plans after the international break after he came through a third reserve fixture unscathed in the past fortnight. It leaves Chelsea optimistic that Zouma could be available for their Premier League visit to Middlesbrough on November 20, his first outing since damaging his anterior cruciate ligaments in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United on February 7. The severe injury ruled Zouma out of the conclusion to Chelsea’s 2015-16 season and the beginning of this one, as well as the European Championship with France.
Helpfully, Zouma’s comeback games in the reserves have been at the heart of a three-man defence, echoing the highly-effective system he will return into under Conte.
And he looked his usual composed and accomplished self here as Chelsea had to settle for a draw with their League One opponents when Kane Hemmings slotted home in the fourth minute of stoppage time to cancel out Josimar Quintero’s opener.
Oxford knew they were going through, Chelsea knew they were out but this being the Trophy, we then had to have a penalty shoot-out that was incredibly dramatic despite its futility.
Zouma scored both of his kicks and went on and on with neither side able to finish it off until Oxford’s Wes Thomas was the fall guy.
Kurt Zouma cried out in pain after suffering an awful injury against Manchester United on Sunday.