Roberto Di Matteo branded this game a must win for Chelsea who, following defeat two weeks ago in Donetsk, found themselves riding their luck in thrilling return fixture at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea went into the game on the back of 8 consecutive games where they have failed to stop the opposition scoring, defensive frailties that would soon be exposed by Shakhtar Donetsk’s brilliant attacking display.
It took just 6 minutes for the game’s first goal, courtesy of a massive error caused by Shakhtar’s back four. They were given several opportunities to clear the ball away from goal following a pass from Shakhtar’s goalkeeper Pyatov out to the back four who suddenly found himself rushing a clearance thanks to some good pressing by Chelsea’s attackers. Pyatov’s clearance rebounded off Fernando Torres and went straight into Shakhtar’s open goal.
We had already seen Shakhtar’s attacking prowess two weeks ago as they pulled off a solid 2-1 win in the first game of this fixture and Chelsea held their lead for three minutes as Fernadinho pounced on a lack of concentration at the back by Chelsea to cross in for Willian, who provided a smart finish to guide the ball past Petr Cech.
Shakhtar had been the far better team by this point but it was another error that found Chelsea going 2-1 ahead, against the run of play. Smart play by Chelsea to counter on Shakhtar’s attack but, as the ball left Juan Mata’s foot to try and play Torres in on goal, Pyatov came storming from his box to attempt a headed clearance. What he didn’t count on was his clearance going straight to Oscar, who had been Chelsea’s best player so far. Oscar provided a stunning half volley from 35 yards out to give Chelsea the lead going into half time.
Two minutes after the restart, Shakhtar came back some stunning approach play again and a goal that was almost identical to the first. The ball came to Fernadinho, who cut open Chelsea’s left side with a sublime pass to Srna, who crossed it in for Willian to finish.
As both sides pressed to try and gain the winning goal, the game stretched into injury time. Chelsea found themselves with a corner, where none-other than Victor Moses snatched a dramatic last gasp goal with a good solid header into the back of Pyatov’s net leaving Shakhtar Donetsk with nothing but the sense of injustice.
In truth, Chelsea rode their luck and despite having quality attacking players they weren’t able engineer many clear-cut chances. Shakhtar can take many positives from the game however, their attacking threat was exquisite and no doubt left Tottenham manager, Andres Villas-Boas wondering why he never managed to land Willian and Fernadinho in the last transfer window.
Di Matteo left John Terry on the bench after his four game suspension and was without the injured Ashley Cole, some would argue that had they been on the pitch the game would have a completely different outlook. Chelsea have missed John Terry but in my opinion, while they are both quality players still able to play at the highest level, Chelsea needs to start to look at changing the old guard that they so heavily relied on last season; Judging by Di Matteo’s decision to leave Terry on the bench, in the wake of such defensive frailties, so does he.