Fri, Sep 21, 2012 - Page 20 News List

Champions League: Juve earn draw after brave fightback

ITALIAN STYLE:Unbeaten in their previous 43 league matches, the visitors from Turin conceded two goals in the first half before mounting a defiant comeback

Reuters, London

Juventus striker Alessandro Matri, left, vies for the ball with Chelsea’s John Terry in their UEFA Champions League Group E soccer match at Stamford Bridge in London on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

Juventus stunned holders Chelsea with a superb fightback to earn a 2-2 draw in their opening Champions League Group E match on Wednesday after Oscar had given the hosts a dream start with two goals on his full debut.

The young Brazilian was a touch fortunate in the 31st minute when his deflected shot beat Gianluigi Buffon, but his second two minutes later was a sensational strike. Turning sharply, he took out two defenders and created space for himself before curling an unstoppable effort with his right foot into the top corner.

Arturo Vidal began the Juventus fightback at Stamford Bridge when he beat Petr Cech with a low drive after 38 minutes and the Italian side pressed hard for an equalizer after the break.

They were eventually rewarded with 10 minutes remaining when Fabio Quagliarella, on as a substitute, was played in by Andrea Pirlo and he slipped a shot under Cech.

Oscar, who impressed at the World Under-20 Cup last year and the Olympics this summer, showed just why Chelsea paid Internacional £25 million (US$40 million) for him with an excellent performance before he limped off in the second half.

Members of the Armed Forces paraded the European Cup around the ground before Chelsea kicked off their bid to become the first club since AC Milan in 1989 and 1990 to win it in successive seasons.

Chelsea were up against a Juve side unbeaten in their last 43 league matches, but are playing without banned coach Antonio Conte.

Conte, whose 10-month Italian ban for not reporting match-fixing now also includes Champions League matches, watched the match from the stands and saw his team, under his assistant Massimo Carrera, play disciplined football to keep Chelsea pegged back.

While Oscar caught the eye for the home side, Juve looked sharp coming forward too. Mirko Vucinic was always a threat in attack, though he should have done better with a clear shot at goal that he powered wide just before Chelsea opened the scoring.

Vidal and Claudio Marchisio also threatened in the second half, but Chelsea defended superbly too with David Luiz, Ashley Cole and John Terry all making important blocks and tackles.

However, the defense was missing in action when Quagliarella beat the offside trap to score the equalizer and ruin what looked like being another glorious Champions League night for Chelsea.

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