Still Need For Improvement…Its Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Chelsea 1

John Terry’s Chelsea return went awry as the European champions crashed to their first major defeat of the season at Shakhtar Donetsk. The Blues were ruthlessly punished by Alex Teixeira and Fernandinho goals despite 
Oscar’s late consolation, as 
Shakhtar deservedly took charge of Champions League Group E in the first of what could be a crucial double-header.

The defeat was their first since their UEFA Super Cup thrashing by Atletico Madrid. Meanwhile, Shakhtar have not lost for exactly 11 months while winning their last 21 league games. 

It was a nightmare start for the Terry as the home side scored from their first attack after two minutes and 53 seconds, Luiz Adriano’s shot hitting Terry’s elbow and falling perfectly for Teixeira to slot past a helpless Petr Cech. In what was a fiercely-contested game in a fizzing atmosphere, Oscar tried to respond with a tame low drive before Willian almost lived up to his manager’s promise to make Chelsea pay for not signing him by drilling wide.

That was in the 15th minute and it immediately got worse for the visitors when Frank Lampard went down injured, forcing an early end to his record 100th European appearance for the club and the introduction of Eden Hazard. Ashley Cole was then needlessly booked for dissent as the relentless action surged from end to end, Torres wasting a great chance either to score or set up a team-mate before Terry twice produced vital blocks to prevent Shakhtar adding to their lead.

His early misfortune aside, Terry was having a stellar game, repeatedly reading attacks. But he could not stop Willian brilliantly setting up Henrik Mkhitaryan, Cole doing enough to force Shakhtar’s goal machine to shoot too close to Cech. That sparked a flurry of chaotic corners, which Chelsea defended frantically and saw Cech produce a wonder-save to deny Tomas Hubschman from point-blank range after Oscar inadvertently set up the midfielder.

Torres’ weak hooked volley from Ivanovic’s cross summed up a half in which he proved a real liability, a theme that continued after the restart.

Chelsea were otherwise looking capable of equalising, Juan Mata firing over after good work from Hazard, who immediately produced a horrendous gaffe to gift Shakhtar their second goal in the 52nd minute. He was pickpocketed in the centre-circle by Fernandinho, who fed Adriano and both raced goalwards for the former to slot past Cech to make it 2-0.

Hazard tried to make amends with a low drive tipped wide by Andriy Pyatov, who then palmed a Ramires blockbuster behind for a corner. Shakhtar weathered the storm, although Olexandr Kucher was booked for cynically bringing down Hazard and John Obi Mikel hooked over a chance for his first ever Chelsea goal.

Torres was finally withdrawn for Daniel Sturridge with 20 minutes remaining and Mkhitaryan twice went close to making it 3-0. Hazard scuffed a great chance to make him rue the miss, Hubschman almost bundled home a third for Shakhtar and Hazard was thwarted one-on-one with Pyatov.

David Luiz and Hubschman were both booked in the closing stages, which saw Oscar set up a tense finish two minutes from time when he swept home Ivanovic’s cross.

Chelsea were spared dropping out of the qualification places by Juventus’ shock draw at Nordsjaelland, but they will need to do much better at Stamford Bridge in two weeks to avoid doing so.

“‘It was a difficult game and we didn’t play well. When you play for a big club you need to be a big player when you lose and we saw the truth of the game, we should have played better and didn’t give ourselves the opportunity to win the game. It was a hard game, everybody who saw it knows that. We have to say congratulations to Shakhtar because they played well.”   -David Luiz

Highlights:       [CLICK HERE]

 

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