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The champions, Chelsea, kicked off their UEFA Champions League title defence against the reigning Italian Champions Juventus at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. The Blues took an early 2-0 lead couresy young Brazilian wonderkid Oscar, only for Arturo Vidal and Fabio Quagliarella to draw Juventus level with goals in either half. Chelsea were easily the better team on the night, but were made to rue not taking their chances, and the absence of a quality center forward who could influence proceedings more meaningfully in the opposition box. Juventus meanwhile were thrilled to leave West London with a point to show for their evening's labour.
Roberto Di Matteo handed new signing Oscar a rare start as the Brazilian slotted into a new-look three-pronged attack operating behind Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres. Ramires provided the width on the right, with Frank Lampard and Jon Obi Mikel sitting slightly deeper. John Terry and David Luiz were the central defensive pair, with Branislav Ivanovic and Ashley Cole the starting full-backs as expected.
The Italian Champions lined-up with three at the back with Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini forming the defensive triumvirate. Kwadwo Asamoah and Stephen Lichststeiner provided the width from the wing-back positions, allowing the midfield trio of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio to dictate the play. Finally, Mirko Vucinic and Sebastian Giovinco formed the deadly duo up front.
A youthful Chelsea line-up was all over Juventus in the first 20 minutes, dominating possession completely and parking themselves in the Old Lady's half for the better part of the early exchanges. Despite having much of the ball, Chelsea found it hard to break down a resolute Juventus backline.
The first real chance of the match came completely against the run of play with a long ball played out managed to find its way to Claudio Marchisio, who beat the offside trap and raced through on goal, only to be denied by Petr Cech, who made himself big.
Back up the other end there was a bit of pinball being played in the Juve box, but the absence of someone willing to put his foot through the ball meant that Juve got back in numbers and cleared the danger. Juve continued to be threatening on the counter though and Vucinic should have done better from the edge of the area from yet another break, but skewed his effort on the half-hour mark harmlessly wide.
Out of nothing though, Chelsea's European paradise looked set to continue with Oscar marking his introduction to the big stage with a goal, albeit with a massive deflection off Bonucci. Hazard squared the ball to the young Brazilian, who instinctively pulled the trigger, and the Italian defender made a hash of his clearance, taking the ball away from Buffon, who appeared to have it covered.
If there was a bit of good fortune about his first goal, then Oscar stepped up to showcase he was very much the real deal, curling in a sublime effort just two minutes later giving the veteran Italian keeper no chance whatsoever.
If Chelsea had started to relax for just a moment, they were given a bid of a rude awakening by Arturo Vidal, who kept the game alive as a contest by pulling one bag for Juventus with a quality strike from just inside the box on 38 minutes, shooting across the keeper with his left foot.
Juve finished the half strongly, but were unable to find an equalizer, the game though was very much afoot.
Chelsea made a bright start to the second half with Buffon forced into making a couple of quality saves to deny Ivanovic from the edge of the box and then Frank Lampard from a freekick very much in shooting range of the England international.
After having been outplayed for the first 15 minutes at the start of the second half, Juventus had a brief spell during which they laid siege to the Chelsea goal, but failed to test Petr Cech.
A foul on Oscar which resulted in a rather lengthy delay cost Juventus the momentum they had built up, and it was Chelsea who were once again looking the more likely to score. Juan Mata, who had come on in place of Oscar, had half the ground celebrating when he hit the side netting with Buffon rooted to the spot.
However, it was the Juventus substitute Fabio Quagliarella who had the away fans celebrating when he brought the Old Lady level in the 81st minute, beating the offside trap once again, and calmly bringing the ball under control before slotting it between the on-rushing Cech's legs.
And the super sub almost added a second with the width of the crossbar denying him from giving Juventus a shock lead a few minutes later.
Chelsea came out swinging for the last 5 minutes, but were unable to conjure up a winner, and had to be content to take a share of the spoils against the Italian champions.
Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk have gone top of Group E courtesy of a 2-0 win against new boys FC Nordsjaelland. Chelsea will be away to Nordsjaelland on the next matchday on Tuesday, 2nd October, while Juventus will host Shakhtar.
Chelsea: ÄŒech, IvanoviÄ‡, Cole, Luiz, Terry, Ramires (Bertrand 69'), Lampard, Oscar (Mata 74'), Mikel, Hazard, Torres
Subs: Turnbull, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Bertrand, Romeu, Mata, Moses.
Juventus: Buffon, Chiellini, Barzagli, Bonucci, Lichtsteiner (Isla 77'), Marchisio, Pirlo, Asamoah, Vidal, VuÄiniÄ‡, Giovinco (Quagliarella 74')
Subs: Storari, LÃºcio, Giaccherini, Isla, Marrone, Quagliarella, Matri.
Final Score: Chelsea 2-2 Juventus (Oscar 31', 33', Vidal 38', Quagliarella 81')
File Photograph Copyright: Ryu Voelkel
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