NEWS
Wednesday September 19 2012
Juve comeback silences Chelsea

Juventus fought back from 2-0 down to grab a well-earned point at Chelsea with Fabio Quagliarella cancelling out Oscar’s brace. The Neapolitan striker also hit the bar in the closing stages.

The Bianconeri returned to the Champions League for the first time since 2009-10 and did it against the trophy holders at Stamford Bridge. Gianluigi Buffon made his 400th appearance for the club and there were no surprises in the starting XI. Roberto Di Matteo had John Terry back after a two-match ban and opted for Oscar’s first start in attack rather than Juan Mata. As in Serie A, Antonio Conte was in the stands so Massimo Carrera manned the touchline.

Juve had lost their last five consecutive Champions League trips to England against Liverpool, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Arsenal (twice). The last time the Bianconeri conquered English soil in this competition was 1-0 at Manchester United in the group stage on November 11, 1996.

After three minutes David Luiz bundled a corner into Buffon’s arms, but in numerous early set plays Giorgio Chiellini and Terry got up close and personal.

Arturo Vidal’s shot was charged out for a corner, but on the counter Andrea Barzagli intercepted a dangerous Eden Hazard pass to Fernando Torres.

Claudio Marchisio trapped a long ball forward to spring the offside trap and was one-on-one, but Petr Cech came flying out to parry at his feet from nine yards.

In the opening stages in London, Chelsea appeared to be focusing on the counter-attack. Ramires and Torres had efforts charged down from close range as part of the same chaotic move, as did Mirko Vucinic from Stephan Lichtsteiner’s pull-back.

Vucinic should’ve done better when Vidal intercepted a Branislav Ivanovic pass in midfield, but the Montenegro international hit the side-netting from a very promising position. Vidal turned his ankle during that move and was off for treatment when Chelsea got a goal out of nowhere.

Oscar aimed from distance and it took a big deflection off Leonardo Bonucci’s shin to loop over a helpless Buffon. It gave the home side the lead against the run of play.

Juve were still stunned when Chelsea added a second from a similar position, but this time there was no deflection. The Brazilian spun round between two defenders to curl an unstoppable strike into the top corner that dipped mercilessly under the bar.

Vidal tried to curl one too, but it was over the bar and he still seemed to be limping heavily from that ankle sprain.

Despite being in very poor condition, Vidal still managed to get a goal back for Juve. His first touch on the edge of the box gave him enough space to smash a precise angled drive into the near bottom corner. The Chilean could barely celebrate as he was grimacing at the pain of his ankle.

Cech smothered a slightly over-hit Vidal through ball at Giovinco’s feet, then Buffon had his palms stung by a Ramires snapshot from a tight angle. Ashley Cole charged down a Giovinco spin from the D. The first half ended with an Andrea Pirlo free kick that was curled just wide.

After the restart Buffon got down to palm a dangerous long-range Ivanovic strike out of the bottom corner. Frank Lampard’s powerful free kick found a gap in the Juventus wall and Buffon punched it away.

Hazard went down rather too easily under a Barzagli challenge and the referee ushered him back up amid weak penalty appeals.

Giovinco curled a free kick over, then the Atomic Ant cut in from the left for a dangerous shot turned out for a corner from which Bonucci nodded against the back of John Obi Mikel’s head. David Luiz did well to block Marchisio as he was pulling the trigger from the edge of the area.

Bonucci went into the tackle late and landed on Oscar’s ankle. Ryan Bertrand and Juan Mata were introduced, while Fabio Quagliarella and Mauricio Isla made surprise entrances for Giovinco and Lichtsteiner.

Juan Mata combined at pace with Hazard for the Spaniard to eventually hit the side-netting. However, it proved to be an inspired substitution by Massimo Carrera.

Quagliarella sprung the offside trap on a Marchisio through ball to surprise Terry and he kept his cool to nutmeg Cech for a fantastic equaliser. Mikel had given the ball away in midfield to spark the move.

Cech captured an Isla cross and Vucinic went down with cramp in his calf. Quagliarella nearly turned the game around completely with a sudden turn from just inside the box that curled on to the top of the crossbar with Cech beaten.

It still wasn’t over, as a free kick fell to Torres and his attempt was charged down.

Chelsea 2-2 Juventus

Scorers: Oscar 32, 34 (C), Vidal 38 (J), Quagliarella 81 (J)

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry, Cole; Lampard, Mikel; Ramires (Bertrand 69), Hazard, Oscar (Juan Mata 74); Torres
Juventus: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichsteiner (Isla 77), Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Giovinco (Quagliarella 75), Vucinic (Matri 88)
Ref: Proenca (POR)

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