Chelsea vs. Juventus  2 - 2


Vidal, Quagliarella thrilled with comeback

20 September 2012 07:43

Arturo Vidal and Fabio Quagliarella praised Juventus' resolve after they fought back from two goals down to earn a point against Chelsea.

After Oscar had put Chelsea two goals ahead inside the opening 33 minutes of the Champions League clash at Stamford Bridge, the Serie A champions dug deep to claim a respectable point and striker Quagliarella spoke of his delight at their strength of character.

"Considering the way the game was going, this is a very important result for us against the reigning champions," he said.

"It was a tough game. I was called upon and hoped to have a few chances to score. I took one and went close with another by hitting the bar. I gave my all."

Since the return of Sebastian Giovinco from Parma, the 29-year-old striker has failed to hold down a starting role, but remains optimistic of forcing his way into contention.

"It's certainly not easy to sit on the bench and watch the matches from the sidelines, but in a big team there is always going to be competition," he said.

"I always sit there hoping to start or to come off the bench. Maybe earlier than the last 10 minutes.

"I was running towards Marco Storari to celebrate with him and was very pleased to hug (caretaker coach) Massimo (Carrera), as he is someone who suffers along with us. It was his Champions League debut too, so we were all a bit tense and emotional."

Vidal suffered a knock to his ankle during the first half, but moved to reassure fans his injury is not serious.

"I had this ankle injury, but I am fine now and I'm happy the team proved the work we did last season led us to this. We're happy to be in the Champions League," the Chilean midfielder said.

"We showed the same heart as last year in Serie A. We want to play in three competitions and this is the Juventus we need to see every game.

"I am fine and will work with the doctors, so I should be fit for the weekend if the coach wants to pick me."

Juve's veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon said his excitement at returning to Champions League football was tempered by his belief the team belong among the elite.

"Chelsea had their chances but all in all it was a very good game," he said.

"We are satisfied with the draw.

"It's not such a great feeling, because Juve's history is massive.

"Of course, after two disappointing years it's nice to be back in Champions League, thanks to the extraordinary season we had last year. We deserve to be here tonight."


Mikel: ´We switched off´

20 September 2012 04:55

Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel lamented his part in a collective switching-off as his side let Juventus back in for a 2-2 draw.

Last season's winners started their defence well, going 2-0 up with quick-fire goals from Brazilian attacker Oscar.

Arturo Vidal's swift reply was followed up by a Fabio Quagliarella strike late on as Juventus drew the Champions League clash at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Mikel gave the ball away in the build-up to the equaliser and he told Sky Sports after the game: "I think we switched off. It was a pass to Eden (Hazard) that didn't quite get there and then we just switched off.

"We should have dealt with it properly."

The Nigerian had been encouraged, however, by their energetic beginning to the match.

"I think we started the game well, we scored two goals and we had more possession of the game. We had the game under control but they scored one goal," Mikel said.

"We came out in the second half trying to do something in the way that we started the first half but their second goal was a cheap goal to give away."


Di Matteo disappointed with Juve draw

20 September 2012 03:52

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo said his side were 'deflated' after being held to a 2-2 Champions League draw by Juventus on Wednesday.

Despite a first-half double from Brazilian midfielder Oscar, the reigning champions were unable to hold onto their advantage.

Arturo Vidal's quick reply before the break was followed by substitute Fabio Quagliarella, who netted the equaliser with 10 minutes to play.

It could have been even worse for Chelsea after Quagliarella hit the woodwork in the dying stages, with Di Matteo a little disappointed not to have won all three points at Stamford Bridge.

"We feel a little bit deflated at the moment," Di Matteo said afterwards.

"It was a very good game and towards the end either side could have won it. We had chances to get the third goal and close the game out, but they equalised and in the end it was a fair draw.

"We found ourselves in a great position to win the game and only got a draw, but we knew we were playing against a quality side with a lot of good players.

"We made a couple of mistake for the goals, but they showed good movement and quality finishes."

The Italian – who was at Chelsea as a player from 1996 to 2002 – sang the praises of Oscar, who made his first start for the club in stunning fashion.

"Oscar was perfect tonight," he said.

"We were waiting for the right game to put him in and he did a great job tactically and scored two goals; his second was fantastic. He played a big role for us today.

"He's a big talent. We shouldn't forget he's still a young man, but he's already established with the Brazil national team, which is very difficult. We are very lucky to have him on our team."

Juventus assistant coach Massimo Carrera was delighted with his side after they fought back to claim a point.

"We did very well tonight, we were in good physical condition and that's how we helped turn the match around," Carrera said.

"Vidal reflects the soul of this team. He was injured and we were going to take him off, but he said he was OK and he came back to score a goal – it just shows our strength. We were losing by two goals but came back fighting.

"We also know we have weaknesses that we have to work on. We could have won it; we could have lost it as well. But that's football. I'm just happy that tonight we proved we can play European football at this level."


Cech anticipates hungry Juve

19 September 2012 15:15

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech said the Champions League holders will expect a fired up Juventus as they open their title defence.

The meeting with the Italian champions will be the west Londoners' first game in the competition since they defeated Bayern Munich to lift the European Cup for the first time in May.

Juventus will line-up at Stamford Bridge without boss Antonio Conte, who is serving a ban for failing to report an approach for match-fixing at previous club Siena.

Despite being without their manager, Juve have made a perfect start to the new Serie A season, and Cech is well aware that they will put up a good fight in their Group E opener.

"We're playing Juventus, who have been missing from the Champions League for a few seasons, so they will definitely want to show they are back," Cech told Chelsea's official website.

"Last time we played them we beat them in the knockout stages (in 2009), so this is a chance for them to get revenge for that defeat.

"Anybody who plays against us will want to raise their game, we are the defending champions so its extra motivation for everybody."

Last season, under the stewardship of Andre Villas-Boas, Chelsea only sealed their progression to the knock-out stages in the final group game, and Cech does not want a repeat of that this time around.

"The sooner you can qualify from the group, the better it is," the 30-year-old added.

"But whether you qualify on the last day or the first day it's not important, the main thing is just to get through.

"If we win every home game and lose every away game but win the Champions League, it doesn't really matter.

"We want to improve, though, because in all of our away games last season we were in a good position but failed to kill the match off, so that's definitely an area we want to build on to make our life easier."

Chelsea were recently humbled by Atletico Madrid in the Super Cup, but Cech hopes to see his side's domestic form - which has seen them start unbeaten - transferred to Europe.

"It's always better if you can keep a clean sheet in the Champions League as it relieves the pressure," the Czech Republic international said.

"It's been a positive start in that sense and we want to keep it going. Against Juventus it will be important as I don't see a game with many goals.

"They've been doing well and they will want to keep progressing. They have quite a few younger players who came through a couple of years ago who are still there, they have a very good defence and of course (Gianluigi) Buffon in goal, so it's going to be a very difficult game."


Buffon: Juventus must step up

19 September 2012 12:47

Gianluigi Buffon has stressed that the time has come for Juventus to prove they have what it takes to shine in the Champions League.

The Serie A champions are seen by many as one of the dark horses to win the competition, and the goalkeeper wants his team to step up to the plate in their first-up Group E clash against Chelsea.

"Last season's Scudetto win was epic and qualifying for Europe as Italian champions gives us both pride and belief in our ability," Buffon told reporters at a press conference.

"I believe there are three or four teams that are above us, then there's a group in which I'd include ourselves.

"It's now down to us to show we're competitive at Champions League level.

"Our style of play is suited to European football," Buffon added.

"Chelsea's players may have more appearances in the Champions League than ours, but we're an emerging side."


Di Matteo: Focus on the now

19 September 2012 11:11

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo says his side must focus on the current Champions League campaign rather than dwelling on last season.

The Italian is determined to repeat the feat this term, but when quizzed on what the European win meant to him, he insisted it was not on his mind.

"When you are at a big club like Chelsea, there is always pressure to win trophies and bring more success," he told reporters.

"Everybody was pleased we finally brought the Champions League trophy to Stamford Bridge but now we have to look forward now, that's in the past."

Wednesday night's opposition, Juventus, represent a tough opening task for Di Matteo's side as the Serie A champions are currently on an unbeaten domestic run of 42 games.

And, Di Matteo admits the match will prove a stern test of his side's credentials.

"Playing Juventus is one of the most difficult fixtures we could have drawn in the Champions League.

"They are a very strong team, everybody recognises that and they are on a long unbeaten run. They have a lot of quality, experienced and younger players."

Di Matteo is determined to become the first manager to retain the Champions League title and dismissed claims the Blues were lucky on their way to the European crown last season, especially after being second best to Bayern Munich for much of the final last May.

"You need to deserve everything you get. We worked very hard and prepared well for the different opponents we faced," Di Matteo said.

"It can't just be luck, of course you need a portion, but that's a minor part of it.

"It's difficult because of the fierce competition. Every season there are new strong teams who qualify, such as Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus, which makes it difficult, but we will try because it's not impossible."


Mikel underlines Chelsea belief

18 September 2012 20:31

Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel believes his team have what it takes to defend their Champions League crown.

The Blues claimed an unlikely victory in Europe's premier club competition last season, defeating favourites Barcelona before edging out Bayern Munich in the final.

"It was good to win the trophy as some players were leaving, but we want to build on it, we don't want to stop," Mikel told reporters.

"We train every day trying to improve, we're still hungry and still want to win more, we want to add to what we've won.

"Nothing changes, hopefully we can build on it, tomorrow is the start and we want to make sure we go far.

"I've watched the final once, we've won it but we don't want to keep looking back at it, now we have to move on."

Ahead of his side's opening group stage clash with Juventus on Wednesday, the 25-year-old also conceded that the pressure is on Chelsea this year given their status as defending champions.

"Being champions adds pressure, but we have a lot of good, senior players to deal with that, we live with pressure every day," Mikel said.

"In everything you do, you need luck, but it wasn't luck which saw us through, we worked very hard, we beat Barca with 10 men."

The Nigeria international went on to reveal his admiration for Juventus playmaker Andrea Pirlo.

"Pirlo is a great player, everyone saw what he did in the Euros. He's a legend, playing against him will be great and a battle," Mikel said.


Vucinic ready for Chelsea test

18 September 2012 17:06

Juventus forward Mirko Vucinic says the Serie A champions hold no fears over their Champions League clash with Chelsea on Wednesday.

Chelsea won the Champions League in May and currently lead the Premier League, but Vucinic feels the west London side are a weaker proposition than they were last term.

Vucinic told reporters: "This is not the same Chelsea as last season because in the last few weeks they have failed in several matches and that increases our chances for Wednesday.

"Will we play for a draw? Never. Our challenge is to win three points. We are the best team in Italy and it’s a matter of pride for the players."

The Montenegro international stressed the Turin giants will arrive in London high on confidence.

"Stamford Bridge is not the best place for us to open the group but there exists no fear," Vucinic said.

"We are the champions of Italy and that gives us a prestige we need to exploit. This is our return to the Champions League and very special.

"Chelsea are European champions and deserve our respect, but we go to London without fear and with a lot of confidence."


UEFA Champions League Group E preview: Holders visit returning Juve

18 September 2012 10:58

Chelsea begin the defence of their UEFA Champions League title with a tough Group E fixture against Italian outfit Juventus on Wednesday.

Chelsea - who were not at their best in the English Premier League throughout last season - surprised the football world with a series of terrific aggregate wins in the competition before defeating Bayern Munich on penalties in the final.

It was the first time the West London club had been crowned champions of Europe, something which will make their task of defending their title almost 'impossible' according to manager Roberto Di Matteo.

"Every opposition is going to play with extra motivation against the holders," Di Matteo said.

"So it makes our lives more difficult. Even in the Premier League, I'm sure (QPR manager) Mark Hughes would have tried to motivate his team on Saturday by telling them they're playing the European champions.

"I'm aware no team has defended the trophy and I'm not surprised because it's such a difficult competition to win. To win it twice in a row has proven impossible so far, because it's so competitive."

Chelsea have been in good domestic form and top the Premier League table with three wins and one draw from their four matches so far.

Particularly crucial in the club's success has been the form of Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard, who has already contributed a string of assists for Spanish striker Fernando Torres.

Hazard - who moved from Lille for a reported fee of 32 million pounds - was not the only piece of big business Chelsea did in the off-season.

Brazilian midfielder Oscar (25 million pounds), Nigerian attacker Victor Moses (nine million), German midfielder Marko Marin and Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta (both seven million) also joined the club, with Di Matteo's signings looking astute to date.

Juventus won Serie A last term and are also top of their league, with the Turin-based club having won all three of their matches so far.

Goals from Emanuele Giaccherini, Mirko Vucinic and Kwadwo Asamoah in the second half saw them come from behind to beat Genoa 3-1 on Sunday.

Juve have also made a host of off-season signings, with the likes of Sebastian Giovinco, Mauricio Isla, Asamoah, Martin Caceres, Lucio and Nicklas Bendtner arriving at the club.

Qualification into the knockout stages is not assured for either side though, with the presence of Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine sure to cause problems during the group stages.

Shakhtar proved their worth in the 2010/11 season when they embarked on a run to the quarter-finals, only to be knocked out by eventual champions Barcelona while they won the last ever UEFA Cup (now the Europa League) in 2009.

The presence of Brazilians Willian, Douglas Costa and Luiz Adriano in addition to Darijo Srna, Dmytro Chygrynskiy, Razvan Rat and Eduardo mean the Shakhtar squad cannot be taken lightly.

They open their campaign with a home clash against FC Nordsjaelland of Denmark.

Nordsjaelland sit third in the Superliga with forward Joshua John having scored six goals in five league appearances for the club this season.

They will be up against it though, particularly at the Donbass Arena, a stadium where Shakhtar have rarely lost in recent years.


Oscar relishing Champions League dream

16 September 2012 18:00

Brazilian Oscar says playing in the Champions League will be 'a dream come true' should he play in Chelsea's clash with Juventus on Wednesday.

The 21-year-old, who is yet to make a competitive start for the west Londoners, admitted the chance to play in Europe was a big pull in his decision to join Roberto Di Matteo's side.

"I have always wanted to play in the Champions League and who wouldn't want to play for the European champions?” he told the Daily Star Sunday.

"It will be a dream come true to hear that famous anthem when I am out on the pitch, rather than on television.

"I am hoping it will not take me long to adapt. There is a multi-national team here with other Brazilians and Latin players, so they will help me through with their past experience."

The former Internacional midfielder also spoke of his admiration for new team-mate and Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, but said his idol when growing up was fellow countryman Kaka.

On Lampard, Oscar said: "I loved to watch him when I was growing up. I always thought he was an outstanding player.

"I know I can't wait to play alongside Frank Lampard but my boyhood idol would have to be Kaka. He plays in the same position as me and he is an exceptional player."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
2 28 +33 57
3 27 +32 56
4 27 +26 53
5 27 +28 52
6 27 +15 45

Serie A table

# Team MP D P
1 25 +40 66
2 25 +47 65
3 26 +21 51
4 25 +21 50
5 25 +28 49
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