MATCH REPORT: JUVENTUS 3 CHELSEA 0
The Blues will now need to keep one eye firmly on the result in Donetsk when we take on Nordsjaelland in the final group game, having been well beaten in Italy.
The manner of the first two Juventus goals may have been a little unfortunate, Petr Cech twice beaten by a deflection, once in each half, but after Eden Hazard had not taken an early chance when the game was scoreless, Chelsea never truly came close to scoring again.
The Italian champions had been denied by a very good Cech save early on and although they worked our keeper less as the game wore on, they were able to exploit space as we chased the game and finished it off with a third goal just before the final whistle.
Roberto Di Matteo sprung another surprise by naming Cesar Azpilicueta on the right of midfield, playing in front of the returning Branislav Ivanovic. Ashley Cole was also back, to play the 100th European game of his career, 99 of them in the Champions League. Juan Mata and Oscar, who started on the bench for the West Brom game were both back in the starting line-up and rotated position with Hazard during the match.
Juventus were able field Mirko Vucinic up front after an illness scare and paired him with Fabio Quagliarella who came off the bench to score at the Bridge.
On what was always likely to be a night when the Blues' defensive resolve would be tested, there was concern as early as the second minute when an Ivanovic slip allowed Asamoah to put a cross in which Cole initially kicked skywards but Cech eventually caught. Then a couple of minutes later came a genuine scare when a ball was chipped over to the left of our six-yard box and Lichtensteiner met it, only for Cech to push it onto the post. A fine piece of goalkeeping at such an early stage in the game.
Chelsea were under pressure but on eight minutes it was our turn to go very close to scoring. It was Oscar who broke shackles, embarking on a fine run through the middle and finding his way past two Juventus men before drawing the last defender and playing the perfect pass out to Hazard. The Belgian's shot was on target but Buffon, as he has done on so many occasions, came to the Italians rescue. He diverted the ball into the sidenetting with his knee. Chelsea wouldn't come as close to scoring again in the opening period.
Juventus came back strongly and forced three corners in quick succession, the third leading to a Marchisio shot that was heading just inside the post until Cech saved one-handed.
The Serie A side kept peppering the Chelsea goal with shots but nothing to test Cech on this form. Midway through the half, Ivanovic was judged to have fouled Vidal just outside the penalty area, a touch harshly, but Pirlo's free-kick disappointed the Juventus tifosi in the Curva Sud behind the goal. Cech again saved.
Chelsea did mount an attack just before the half-hour, aided by good hold-up play from Hazard and then a mistake from PIrlo but Ramires's shot was always bending high and wide.
There was a tremendous tackle from Cole soon after to dispossess the rapid Quagiarella who looked to be escaping David Luiz and heading for goal, before Hazard twisted onto his right foot inside the Juve area but had a shot charged down.
The deadlock was finally broken on 37 minutes and when it came it was unlucky for Chelsea, Quagliarella's speculative shot taking deflection before beating Cech. It needed something like that to get the better of our keeper in this form.
Suddenly there was much happening at both ends. Cole cleared off the Chelsea line after Juventus had bundled the ball goalwards inside a crowded six-yard box, and then we countered, only for Mata to make a poor connection as he stretched to meet Azpilicueta's cross.
Five minutes before the break Bonucci became the game's first booked player for sticking out a leg to impede Hazard just inside the Juve half.
Further Chelsea efforts to score were more in hope than expectation and the home side took a lead into the dressing room they deserved on balance of play, even if their own chances had been infrequent.
Juventus were convinced they should have had a penalty four minutes into the half when an incisive move ended with Vucinic turning inside Cahill but the ref decided an arm briefly across the centre-forward's stomach was not enough for a foul.
The Blues went straight up the other end and Mata was chopped down inside the 'D' in front of the penalty area. Unfortunately when he picked himself up and took the free-kick, he could do no more than plant it into the wall.
Cech was again extended on 57 minutes to push a 20-yard shot wide and then he did well to keep Quagliarella out wide after Juve had beaten the offside flag.
Azpilicueta had done a good job of harassing the Juventus left flank but with Chelsea in desperate need of some scoring chances, Di Matteo decided on 59 minutes it was time to replace him with Victor Moses.
Before the Nigerian could have any impact on the game however, Juventus made it 2-0. Having worked space on our right, Asamoah, away from Ivanovic, was able to pick out Vidal on the edge of the area. Cech may well have dealt with the shot but this time Ramires was the unlucky player deflecting it in.
It was hard to see how we were going to come back from this, a point emphasised when Buffon claimed a corner in commanding fashion.
Torres was introduced for the final 20 minutes, Mikel the man taken off and Oscar asked to play deeper.
Vucinic had the chance to totally kill the game but missed a sitter.
Moses was then found inside the Juve penalty area by Hazard and managed to get a shot in but Barzaghi was in position to block. David Luiz then tried from distance but cleared the bar. Ramires also picked up a booking.
There were just 10 minutes left to somehow find two goals. Torres showed vision to find Oscar in space but the chance to shoot disappeared as the Brazilian got his feet tangled, but the final punch was landed by Juve substitute Giovinco. He ran through onside after an counter-attack cut us open and with Cech doing all he could do in charging out of his goal, the ball was slipped past him to make it 3-0.
We now need to win our final game and hope Shakhtar Donetsk, who have now qualified, beat Juventus when the Italians travel to Ukraine.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech (c); Ivanovic, Cahill, David Luiz, Cole; Mikel (Torres 70), Ramires; Azpilicueta (Moses 59), Oscar, Mata; Hazard.
Unused subs Turnbull, Bertrand, Romeu, Marin, Piazon.
Booked Ramires 75.
Juventus (3-5-2): Buffon (c); Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner (Caceres 67), Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Quagliarella (Pogba 89), Vucinic (Giovinco 82).
Unused subs Storari, Pepe, Giaccherini, Matri.
Scorers Quagliarella 37. Vidal 61, Giovinco 90.
Booked Bonucci 41, Marchisio 84, Giovinco 90+1
Referee Cüneyt Çakır from Turkey.