Chelsea 2-2 Juventus - Match Report

Chelsea squandered a 2-0 lead at Stamford Bridge as they began the defence of their Champions League crown with a draw against Italian champ...

Chelsea squandered a 2-0 lead at Stamford Bridge as they began the defence of their Champions League crown with a draw against Italian champions Juventus.

Brazilian Oscar put Roberto Di Matteo's side ahead when his deflected long-range strike deceived Gianluigi Buffon. He then made it 2-0 to the home side inside 35 minutes with a stunning, curling shot which flew into the top corner of the net.

However, Juventus fought back and grabbed a goal before half time through the superb Arturo Vidal. The visitors pressed for more and drew level ten minutes from time as substitute Fabio Quagliarella beat the offside trap to slide the ball underneath Petr Cech.

Juventus could have snatched all three points on 87 minutes when Quagliarella clipped the top of the Chelsea crossbar with a curling strike. The hosts hung on however to ensure that the points were shared.

As soon as this fixture was announced, mouths were left salivating at the prospect of Serie A champions and current leaders facing the defending European champions and current Premier League leaders. The game promised to be a fascinating encounter and it proved to be just that.

The home side started the brighter of the two teams and controlled much of the early possession with Ramires aiming to exploit Juventus's three man defence with his electrifying pace. They could have taken the lead after just four minutes had David Luiz been more alert to a Frank Lampard corner, the Brazilian only able to find the waiting arms of Gigi Buffon who was making his 400th appearance for Juve.

The Blues looked to be stifling Juventus's midfield as the first half progressed, with their midfield maestros Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal unable to make much of an impact on the game due to the middle of the park being marshalled excellently by Lampard and John Obi Mikel.

They were nearly undone however on 21 minutes when Branislav Ivanovic switched off momentarily, allowing Marchisio to beat the offside trap and latch on to a through ball. His touch however was sloppy and Petr Cech was able to come out and charge down the Italian.

Both sides kept searching for the first goal of the game with Fernando Torres and Ramires both wasting good opportunities for Chelsea whilst Mirko Vucinic squandered an effort after being put through by Vidal.

The breakthrough finally came however in the 31st minute when Oscar, making his first start for Chelsea since his £25m move from Internacional, fired a 20 yard shot towards goal which found its way past Buffon via the outstretched leg of Leonardo Bonucci. It sent the home crowd into raptures as they instantly fell in love with their new hero.

If they thought his opener was special however, they had another thing coming. The 21 year old's second goal two minutes later literally redefined the word sublime. Ashley Cole picked the ball up some 25 yards out and played a short pass to the little Brazilian who found himself on the edge of the Juventus penalty area with his back to goal in between two Juve players. Seemingly at this point there was not a lot on for the 2012 Olympic silver medalist however he proceeded to execute the deftest of touches which completely bamboozled Bonucci and sent him gliding round Italian legend Pirlo. The touch gave Oscar the yard of space that he needed to send a swirling effort flying past the helpless Buffon and into the top corner of the net.

Cue pandemonium at the Bridge. Juventus were shell-shocked. In the blink of an eye they had gone from looking likely to break the deadlock, to finding themselves 2-0 down at the hands of the sensational Oscar. The Brazilian had completely changed this game and put Di Matteo's men firmly in the driving seat.

However, the Old Lady of Italian football did not let her head drop and she was rewarded just five minutes later when Vidal was allowed to fashion himself a chance on the edge of the Chelsea penalty area before sending a low left footed shot past Cech to bring the game back to 2-1, ten minutes before half time.

The home side came out in the second half and immediately looked to restore their two goal advantage with Ivanovic and Lampard testing Buffon with long range efforts.

The turnover of possession in midfield was vast as both sides pushed for the next goal, Chelsea knowing that a third might just knock the wind out of Juventus. However, the visitors knew that another goal for them now would level the game up and give them the advantage going into the final stages of the tie.

Eden Hazard was unlucky not to be given a penalty on 58 minutes when he went racing into the penalty area and was seemingly tripped by a trailing leg from Andrea Barzagali. Replays suggested the Belgian may have gone down a little easy however it was extremely clumsy from the Italian defender. It was almost a carbon copy of Shaun Wright-Phillips's tackle on Hazard at Loftus Road against QPR on Saturday. Nevertheless Pedro Proenca, who refereed the Euro 2012 final and of course that special night in Munich, pointed for a goal kick - much to Hazard's disapproval.

This lucky escape seemed to galvanize the Serie A leaders as Pirlo, Vidal and Marchisio began to take control of the game and really break into their stride. Their passing dominated the midfield areas and they held the ball for long periods of the second half.

They kept pressing and probing and ten minutes from time they got their reward as John Obi Mikel carelessly gave the ball away to Giorgio Chiellini. Just two passes later the ball had found itself at the feet of Marchisio who played a defence splitting pass to substitute Fabio Quagliarella. The Italian took one touch before sliding a cool finish underneath the advancing Cech. The Chelsea defence again tried to play the offside trap and again it proved unsuccessful. John Terry was the man this time who failed to step up and play Quagliarella offside.

Juventus now with the wind in their sails went looking for a third goal which would have completed a remarkable turnaround and they almost got it when Quagliarella, who looked sharp after coming on for Sebastian Giovinco, clipped the top of the host's crossbar with a shot that had Cech beaten.

The Blues however managed to hang on and claim a point which was probably fair in the end. Had it not been for defensive errors it may have been the full three but there were a lot of positives to take from tonight. Oscar looks like a real talent and with the right attitude and focus he can become a real star.

Chelsea host Stoke City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday where they'll be looking to extend their lead at the top of the Barclay's Premier League.

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry (c), Cole, Mikel, Lampard, Ramires (Bertrand 68'), Oscar (Mata 74'), Hazard, Torres
Subs: Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Moses, Romeu, Mata, Bertrand
Scorers: Oscar (31, 33)
Booked: Ramires 
Juventus: Buffon (c), Chiellini, Bonucci, Barzagli, Lichtsteiner (Isla 77'), Marchisio, Pirlo, Vidal, Asamoah, Giovinco (Quagliarella 75'), Vucinic (Matri 88')
Subs: Storari, Lucio, Isla, Marrone, Giaccherini, Quagliarella, Matri
Scorers: Vidal (38), Quagliarella (80)
Booked: Vidal

Ref: Pedro Proenca
Venue: Stamford Bridge


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