CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Juventus deny Chelsea an Oscar-winning performance

Reigning champions Chelsea have been denied maximum points in the opening game of their Champions League title defence with Juventus forcing a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Reigning champions Chelsea have been denied maximum points in the opening game of their Champions League title defence with Juventus forcing a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

It was almost a fairytale beginning for summer signing Oscar, who in his first start for the Blues, scored twice in two minutes in the first half before the Italian title-holders hit back through Arturo Vidal and substitute Fabio Quagliarella.

It was an efficient performance from Massimo Carrera’s Juventus, with manager Antonio Conte serving a 10-month ban for his apparent knowledge of match-fixing, whilst Chelsea played well but were sloppy in defence at times.

Both sides had attacked solidly in the first half with Juventus producing the best chances until Chelsea young gun Oscar found some room outside the area before flashing on goal with his well-struck shot taking a mean deflection off Christian Bonucci and in past Gianluigi Buffon.

Less than two minutes later, the Brazilian midfielder scored a second with a magical touch taking him away from two Juventus players before curling in a stellar effort under the crossbar from about 22 yards.

At 2-0 up, the Blues fell asleep defensively to allow Juve a way back in when Arturo Vidal received the ball from Claudio Marchisio at the top of the ‘D’ before taking a neat touch to then slip a low, pinpoint shot across Petr Cech.

Chelsea were then the architects of their own downfall after having a few chances to put Juventus away but they were made to pay in the 80th minute. John Obi Mikel gave the ball away in midfield whit the dangerous Marchisio playing a deft through ball for substitute Quagliarella who took a controlled touch before slotting between Cech’s legs for the equaliser.

Earlier, Marchisio had a great chance to open the scoring in the 21st minute when he got on the end of a long ball from Giorgio Chiellini but his first touch was a bit heavy allowing Cech to come out and comfortably save his attempt.

Seven minutes later, Mirko Vucinic then had the opportunity to fire home from the right side of the area but he skewed it into the side netting with just Cech to beat.

Buffon did ever so well to get a lunging right hand on Branislav Ivanovic’s dipping effort early in the second half minutes before the Italian great was perfectly positioned to strongarm Frank Lampard’s well-hit free-kick.

Prior to the hour-mark, Chelsea had a massive shout for a penalty when Eden Hazard was taken down by Andrea Barzagli deep in the area but referee Pedro Proenca, who presided over the Blues’ Champions League final win over Bayern Munich last season, waved away the protests.

Chelsea sub Juan Mata could have made it 3-1 with just over ten minutes remaining when he hit the side netting after some brilliant build-up play from the home side and then Quagliarella was almost the hero for the Old Lady of Turin when his left-footed shot on the turn in the 87th minute skimming off the crossbar with Cech simply hoping and praying that it didn’t drop in.

In the end, though, it was a point each for the Blues and the Bianconeri as Roberto Di Matteo’s side now look ahead to their next European tussle with Danish club Nordsjaelland whilst Juve will prepare for their home fixture against Shakhtar Donetsk.

2012/13 Champions League – Group E

Chelsea (ENG): 2 (Oscar 31’/33’)
Juventus (ITA): 2 (Arturo Vidal 38’, Fabio Quagliarella 80’)

Stamford Bridge, London

Yelow cards: CHE - Ramires 60’
JUV - Arturo Vidal 66’

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