|Reaction: Solidity Needed
The “Clash of the Titans” in Group E turned out to be a thrilling game in the end, but Chelsea will feel they should have taken all 3 points in a clash that pitted the Champions of Europe against the Champions of Italy.
Chelsea started the game well, winning 2 corners in the first 3 minutes. Although nothing came from those corners it was a signal of intent from Chelsea. Juventus managed to create a couple of chances thereafter, but couldn’t find the back of the net. The game went back & forth until Oscar (starting his first match for Chelsea) fired an effort from 25 yards out. The ball took a deflection & went in. 2 minutes later, Oscar beat Buffon from outside the area with a sublime shot that nestled in the top corner. However, Vidal pulled one back for Juve minutes later and the first half ended 2-1 in Chelsea’s advantage.
Chelsea looked to push on in the 2nd half and pretty much picked up where they left off. Lampard nearly restored Chelsea’s 2-goal lead, but his free-kick was saved. Minutes later, Hazard was denied what appeared to be a clear penalty by the referee. However, Juve were now growing in confidence and looked like getting an equalizer. Oscar had to be subbed off after receiving a knock and was replaced by Juan Mata. Mata had a chance to kill off the game when some beautiful inter-play between him & Hazard put him through, but he hit the side-netting. Chelsea were punished for missing this chance as mistakes from Mikel & then Terry allowed Quagliarella to score an equalizer. The game ended 2-2.
Di Matteo seemed disappointed with the result. He said “We feel disappointed. We should have closed the game and we should’ve reacted much quicker to losing the ball near the end.”
He did have words of praise for Oscar, who made his Champions League debut & also got his first start for Chelsea today. “Oscar’s was a great debut, it was the right game to start him and he did a perfect job tactically, and scored great goals.”
When asked about Oscar being subbed, he said, “It was a bad tackle on Oscar before he came off. He had a knock on his ankle and we will assess him tomorrow.”
He felt that a penalty should have been awarded to Chelsea when Hazard was brought down. He said, “The challenge on Hazard was a penalty. He was pushed and it is the 2nd game in a row he didn’t get the decision.”
Once again it feels like 2 points have been dropped. And this time it’s even harder to bear because Chelsea were 2 goals up. but sloppy defending cost us the match. Robbie switched over to a 4-3-3 formation for the match and the move seemed to have worked well enough considering how we dominated the game for large periods in the first half. Oscar did brilliantly during the first half to put Chelsea ahead & also made a nuisance of himself as he worked hard to keep Andrea Pirlo quiet. With Pirlo out of the game, Juve looked less threatening. However, the defending let us down at a crucial moment. With 10 minutes to go, a mistake from Mikel ensured that Quagliarella could break Chelsea’s offside trap and get the equalizer that Juve needed. It isn’t the worst start to our Champions League campaign (a draw against tough opposition is always better than a loss) but Chelsea will surely feel they should have finished the job when they had the chance.