Oscar's night is spoiled by Juventus

Thu, Sep 20, 2012, 01:00

Chelsea 2 Juventus 2:IN THE end, it all felt very different to those delirious scenes back in May when Didier Drogba rolled in the decisive penalty and Chelsea could call themselves champions of Europe. Here they had led 2-0, both goals coming from Oscar on a night when the Brazilian spectacularly announced his arrival at Stamford Bridge. But their first match in defence of the trophy was to finish in disappointment and the overwhelming sense they had contributed to their own downfall.

Chelsea certainly did not win the European Cup with the kind of carelessness that preceded both Juventus goals. The substitute, Fabio Quagliarella, nudged the second of them through the legs of Petr Cech nine minutes from the end from a move that originated with Mikel John Obi needlessly giving away the ball. John Terry’s mistake then gave Quagliarella another chance and, from a position of strength, Chelsea were suddenly looking vulnerable to an improbable defeat.

Juventus, the Serie A champions and unbeaten in 42 games domestically, were certainly obdurate opponents, settling quickly and playing with the kind of assurance and togetherness that tends to be found in all the top European sides.

They could also reflect on two presentable chances to open the scoring before the quick one-two from Oscar that put Chelsea in command and gave Stamford Bridge its first hard look at their €31m acquisition from Internacional. What they gleaned in those moments was confirmation that Chelsea have brought in a player of uncommon ability.

His first goal was accompanied by a decent slice of fortune given the helpful deflection his 25-yard shot took off Leonardo Bonucci to deceive Gianluigi Buffon in the Juventus goal.

What followed a couple of minutes later, however, was stunning. Ashley Cole played the ball into Oscar’s feet, just outside the penalty area, and his first touch was measured to perfection to turn away from both Bonucci and Andrea Pirlo in one movement. The second touch was even better, hooking his foot round the ball to spear a looping, swerving, dipping shot into the top left corner. It was a goal of rare finesse but also great audacity from a young player making his first start.

Chelsea, in truth, were fortunate to be ahead given that shortly before Mirko Vucinic had lashed his shot into the side-netting when he was clear inside the penalty area. Claudio Marchisio will also reflect that he was wasteful with an earlier chance after Stephan Lichtsteiner’s long ball beat the offside trap, but Juventus, though rocked, did not lose their way.

After 38 minutes Marchisio moved infield from the left wing and played a short pass into Arturo Vidal. The striker took a clever touch to move the ball into a shooting position and then drove a diagonal, left-foot effort beyond Petr Cech.

Roberto Di Matteo will be unhappy that a player with such accuracy was allowed the room to score despite the close proximity of several opponents. It gave Juve a new sense of belief. Chelsea’s assignment was suddenly that bit more complicated and there were spells in the second half when Stamford Bridge was flooded with apprehension.

Yet Chelsea did not allow Pirlo to dictate the game and though their opponents had a lot of the ball, Cech was well protected for the most part.

Di Matteo had set up his team so that when they did not have possession at least one of the more-attacking midfielders would drop back. In possession, Eden Hazard continued the good form which he has shown this season, always wanting the ball and eager to run at his opponents.

Oscar’s showcasing of his talents was not restricted to his goals, with some clever touches and incisive passing. Fernando Torres was a willing runner, and when Juventus started to press forward with greater conviction in the second half there were gaps for Chelsea to exploit on the counterattack.

Chelsea will also look back on the moment, at 2-1, when Hazard teed up the substitute Juan Mata for a chance that he put into the side-netting.

The equaliser came in the next attack, as Marchisio capitalised on Mikel’s mistake to play Quagliarella behind the defence. John Terry had stepped out, trying to catch him offside, and after turning the England defender, the substitute had the time and space to put the ball beneath Cech.

Briefly Chelsea rallied again, but there were no more chances to beat Buffon and Juventus, demonstrating great qualities of perseverance, deserved their draw.

CHELSEA: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Mikel, Lampard, Ramires (Bertrand 68), Hazard, Oscar (Mata 74),Torres. Subs not used: Turnbull, Romeu, Moses, Cahill, Azpilicueta. Booked: Ramires.

JUVENTUS: Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Lichtsteiner (Isla 77), Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah, Giovinco (Quagliarella 75), Vucinic (Matri 88). Subs not used: Storari, Lucio, Giaccherini, Marrone. Booked: Vidal.

Referee: Pedro Proenca (Portugal).

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