Blues snooze and lose
Shakhtar impress as they claim maximum points on home soil
Last Updated: October 23, 2012 10:54pm
A lacklustre display from UEFA Champions League holders Chelsea saw them lose 2-1 to Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.
Early goals in either half from Alex Teixeira and Fernandinho settled the contest in favour of the Ukrainian hosts, with Roberto Di Matteo's Blues barely getting out of the blocks and only managing a late reply from Oscar.
There were just three minutes on the clock when Chelsea failed to deal with a long throw and Teixeira took full advantage to calmly slot the ball past Petr Cech.
Shakhtar, who have taken maximum points from their opening 12 fixtures in domestic competition this season, looked like a side full of confidence and could have extended their lead before the interval were it not for the smart reflexes of Cech.
Chelsea, who saw Frank Lampard forced off with an injury during the first half, failed to improve after the break and fell two behind on 52 minutes.
Eden Hazard lost possession on halfway, allowing Adriano to surge clear and play in Fernandinho, who drilled across Cech and into the bottom corner.
Oscar pulled one back for the Blues late on, as he converted a Branislav Ivanovic cross, but it was all too little, too late.
Chelsea were spared dropping out of the qualification places by Juventus' shock draw at Nordsjaelland, but they will need to do much better at Stamford Bridge in two weeks to avoid doing so.
John Terry's first appearance since accepting his racism ban got off to the worst possible start as he unwittingly set up Shakhtar's opener inside three minutes.
But he was arguably the least culpable Chelsea player on a night which cost the Premier League leaders dearly and a risible performance from Fernando Torres scuppered their hopes of a comeback.
The defeat was their first since their UEFA Super Cup thrashing by Atletico Madrid and the performance was almost as alarming at times as they were carved open by an outstanding Shakhtar side.
The build-up to the game was predictably dominated by Terry's return, the timing of which was quite extraordinary.
It not only coincided with his four-match domestic ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, but came a year to the day since the offence took place and also saw him take part in an initiative in which he wore a 'Unite Against Racism' armband.
The race row was the lowest point of Terry's already-chequered career, making Tuesday's game arguably the biggest test yet of his legendary ability to thrive under pressure.
It was also against opponents on a quite extraordinary run, Shakhtar having not lost for exactly 11 months while winning their last 21 league games.
And it was a nightmare start for the defender as the home side scored from their first attack after two minutes and 53 seconds, Luiz Adriano's shot hitting Terry's elbow and falling perfectly for Teixeira to slot past a helpless Cech.
In what was a fiercely-contested game in a fizzing atmosphere, Oscar tried to respond with a tame low drive before Willian almost lived up to his manager's promise to make Chelsea pay for not signing him by drilling wide.
That was in the 15th minute and it immediately got worse for the visitors when Lampard went down injured, forcing an early end to his record 100th European appearance for the club and the introduction of Hazard.
Ashley Cole was then needlessly booked for dissent as the relentless action surged from end to end, Torres wasting a great chance either to score or set up a team-mate before Terry twice produced vital blocks to prevent Shakhtar adding to their lead.
His early misfortune aside, Terry was having a stellar game, repeatedly reading attacks.
But he could not stop Willian brilliantly setting up Henrik Mkhitaryan, Cole doing enough to force Shakhtar's goal machine to shoot too close to Cech.
That sparked a flurry of chaotic corners, which Chelsea defended frantically and saw Cech produce a wonder-save to deny Tomas Hubschman from point-blank range after Oscar inadvertently set up the midfielder.
Torres' weak hooked volley from Ivanovic's cross summed up a half in which he proved a real liability, a theme that continued after the restart.
Chelsea were otherwise looking capable of equalising, Juan Mata firing over after good work from Hazard, who immediately produced a horrendous gaffe to gift Shakhtar their second goal in the 52nd minute.
He was pickpocketed in the centre-circle by Fernandinho, who fed Adriano and both raced goalwards for the former to slot past Cech.
Hazard tried to make amends with a low drive tipped wide by Andriy Pyatov, who then palmed a Ramires blockbuster behind for a corner.
Shakhtar weathered the storm, although Olexandr Kucher was booked for cynically bringing down Hazard and John Obi Mikel hooked over a chance for his first ever Chelsea goal.
Torres was finally withdrawn for Daniel Sturridge with 20 minutes remaining and Mkhitaryan twice went close to making it 3-0.
Hazard scuffed a great chance to make him rue the miss, Hubschman almost bundled home a third for Shakhtar and Hazard was thwarted one-on-one with Pyatov.David Luiz and Hubschman were both booked in the closing stages, which saw Oscar set up a tense finish two minutes from time when he swept home Ivanovic's cross.
|Shakhtar Donetsk||Team Statistics||Chelsea|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|11||Shots on Target||9|
|7||Shots off Target||4|
|51.2||1st Half Poss.||48.8|
|46.3||2nd Half Poss.||53.7|
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UEFA Champions League
Tue 23rd Oct - Group G
Spartak Mos2 - 1Benfica
Barcelona2 - 1Celtic
Tue 23rd Oct - Group F
BATE Borisov0 - 3Valencia
Lille0 - 1Bay Munich
Tue 23rd Oct - Group H
Galatasaray1 - 1Cluj
Man Utd3 - 2Braga
Tue 23rd Oct - Group E
Nordsjaelland1 - 1Juventus
Shak Donetsk2 - 1Chelsea
UEFA Champions League Group A
|1||Paris St Germain||6||15|
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|3||Zenit St. Petersburg||6||7|
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Shakhtar Donetsk v Chelsea
Petr Cech wants Chelsea to learn the lessons from their defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk when they play Manchester United.
Frank Lampard is expected to learn on Thursday whether injury will rule him out of Chelsea's clash with Man Utd
Roberto Di Matteo is refusing to read too much into Chelsea's below-par performance against Shakhtar Donetsk.