UEFA Champions League: Defending champions Chelsea suffer 0-3 loss to Juventus
Turin: Chelsea`s defence of their Champions League crown was left hanging from a cliff in Turin on Tuesday night as Juventus put the Blues to the sword in a convincing 3-0 win.
A first-half goal from Fabio Quagliarella was doubled by Arturo Vidal`s second-half strike before Sebastian Giovinco rounded off the win to ensure that, combined with a victory for Shakhtar Donetsk, Juve leapfrogged Roberto Di Matteo`s team. A draw or Shakhtar win when the Italians travel to Ukraine on the final matchday would now confirm Chelsea`s elimination.
The Blues were under pressure after just four minutes as Mirko Vucinic`s clever back-post cross required Petr Cech to pull off a stunning point-blank save from Stephan Lichtsteiner to turn it onto the post.
The giant Chelsea goalkeeper was at the heart of the action, parrying well from Claudio Marchisio`s first-time effort on 15 minutes.
At the other end, Oscar carried Chelsea`s threat as he burst from the left flank to the middle, taking two Juventus defenders out of the game as he glided across the box. He released Eden Hazard, who seemed certain to score until Gianluigi Buffon`s trailing leg diverted his low shot just wide. It was to prove their best chance of the match.
As the game settled, it was not until the 35th minute that Chelsea mustered another clear-cut chance. Ramires burst through midfield challenges and released Oscar into the box. The Brazilian was only stopped by Leandro Bonucci`s well-timed tackle.
But, soon after, the deadlock was broken and there was a touch of fortune about it as Quagliarella diverted Pirlo`s tame 25-yard effort past a sprawling Cech to give Juventus the lead. It was the Italian striker`s sixth goal in six games.
The hosts nearly made it 2-0 immediately afterwards but for Ashley Cole`s alert goal-line clearance as Lichtsteiner headed past Cech.
As if prompted by the threat on their own goal, Chelsea responded. Hazard outpaced the Juve defence and squared to an unmarked Juan Mata but, by the time that he had controlled the ball, Buffon had smothered him.
Di Matteo declined to make half-time changes, with the benched Fernando Torres continuing to look on, but it was his defensive line who came under question as Gary Cahill appeared to tug the tricky Vucinic to the ground. Fortunately for the visitors, referee Cuneyt Cakir chose to wave play on rather than signal for a penalty.
The Juventus attack continued to trouble Chelsea and Quagliarella had two fine chances to double his haul but he was left rueing Cech`s determined keeping.
But, as Di Matteo chased the game, introducing Victor Moses for Cesar Azpilicueta, Juventus struck again. Vucinic`s pass allowed Kwadwo Asamoah to drive into the box and his cutback fell for Vidal, who saw his 20-yard shot deflect off of Ramires` heel and through Cech`s legs. It was the 20th goal that the Stamford Bridge outfit had conceded in 10 games.
Chelsea continued to chase, finally introducing Torres for John Obi Mikel, but it was the hosts who looked more dangerous, Vucinic criminally knocking a shot from 10 yards out over the crossbar. But, as the clock rolled into injury time, substitute Giovinco prodded past Cech to cap a fine night in the Juventus Stadium.