A goal conceded within seconds of the beginning of the second half consigned Chelsea to defeat in Wednesday night’s Champions League group game in Turin.
Federico Chiesa’s strike settled a matchday two contest of limited clear chances but one in which the visitors will feel we should have achieved more, especially late on. Instead it is back-to-back 1-0 defeats following our first loss of the season last weekend against Manchester City.Against Juventus, a first half in which we enjoyed the bulk of the ball while Juventus looked, and at times succeeded, to launch counter-attacks resulted in only one effort on target – that by Romelu Lukaku early on.Federico Chiesa had shot narrowly wide for the Serie A side in the first period and just 10 seconds into the second half, the Italian international found the net with devasting efficiency.
Juventus wasted a very good chance to add to their lead later in the half but it was the Blues who finished the stronger. However Lukaku and Kai Havertz could not keep efforts on target and so it was defeat in Italy for our fifth Champions League game running in that country.
It is also brings to an end our run of 12 Champions League group matches undefeated.
Thomas Tuchel reverted to the more familiar 3-4-3 from the 3-5-2 seen in recent games and in doing so, made three changes from the defeat against Man City, two of those enforced by illness or injury to N’Golo Kante and Reece James.Thiago Silva, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz were the players added to the starting line-up with Timo Werner the other one making way.
Few first-half chances
With both of tonight’s teams having won their opening group-stage game, this match provided an opportunity to steal a march on the other favourite to finish top of the pile.The Blues gave as good as we got at the beginning with Hakim Ziyech, operating on the left on this occasion, supplying some early crosses. One led to a corner which in turn led to the first shot on target – Lukaku striking low but straight at Wojciech Szczesny.There was good and bad from Mateo Kovacic in the first 15 minutes, the Croatian first of all executing a superb tackle on the edge of our penalty area with the goal under threat, but later misplacing a square pass which allowed Adrien Rabiot to race clear. Fortunately, the winger was also wayward with his attempted pass to our relief.
The impressive Chiesa did better with a strong run when he flashed a shot across the face of Mendy’s goal and the Euro 2020 winner had a shot on the turn as the half-hour mark neared, but this time sent it far further wide.It had been a while since Chelsea last had the Juve goal within our sights. Balls forward were reaching Lukaku at times, but he was engaged in a compelling contest with the Juventus central defence.As the interval neared, Rabiot tried his luck from distance and with power but cleared Mendy’s bar. The Frenchman’s pace proved troublesome on more than one occasion as the home side’s best work was done on the break.
On the stroke of half-time, Lukaku won a corner which led to a Thiago Silva shot being blocked. It was clear this was going to continue to be a tight game, likely decided by small margins
Behind in the blink of an eye
Ben Chilwell was brought on for Marcos Alonso at half-time but before the ball even made it over to his side of the pitch, Juventus took the lead when their two strikers, in the side for injured pair Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala, combined with lethal effect.Federico Bernardeschi slipped the ball into the run of Chiesa who with Toni Rudiger closing fast, smashed it high into the near top corner of the Chelsea net.
After that short-sharp shock, the Blues steadied the ship somewhat and Manuel Locatelli was not too far away from diverting a Havertz pass into his own net.We continued to attack but Tuchel wanted more and made a triple substitution on the hour with Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Trevoh Chalobah introduced.Again, Juve had a great chance to score almost as soon as a Chelsea change had been made but Bernardeschi blazed wide wastefully.The remainder of the half was largely played out in the Juventus half but in front of their defence. A Lukaku header from a Hudson-Odoi cross was a moment of hope as the game drew to a close but unlike his winner against Zenit, it went comfortably wide.
From a pass by late substitute Ross Barkley, the Belgian had another opportunity but after he spun, he agonisingly missed.Havertz then followed him in sending the ball over the bar, repeating it with a second header over from a corner with just seconds left on the clock. Frustration all round!
Chelsea (3-4-3): Mendy; Christensen (Barkley 75), Thiago Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta (c) (Loftus-Cheek 62), Jorginho (Chalobah 62), Kovacic, Alonso (Chilwell h-t); Havertz, Lukaku, Ziyech (Hudson-Odoi 62).Unused subs Kepa, Bettinelli, Sarr, Saul, Werner.Booked Alonso 18, Ziyech 71, Rudiger 65
Juventus (4-4-2): Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci (c), De Ligt, Sandro; Cuadrado, Bentancur (Chiellini 83), Locatelli, Rabiot (McKennie 76); Bernardeschi (Kulusevski 65), Chiesa (Kean 76). Unused subs Pinsoglio, Perin, De Sciglio, Rugani.Scorer Chiesa 46Booked Cuadrado 89
Referee Jesus Gil Manzano from SpainCrowd 19,934