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OSCAR: HOPE AND PRIDE

As full home debuts go, there was plenty to enjoy for Oscar and the Stamford Bridge fans on Wednesday night, although injury and the final result stopped it short of being a dream start.

Speaking after the match, the young Brazilian midfielder was naturally satisfied that his Champions League bow had caught the eye.

‘In Brazil, the people, the young boys, they dream about playing in the Champions League,’ he said.

‘For me to realise the dream, I am very proud of that.’

His first goal was a good shot, albeit one that took a deflection on its way in. His second is already guaranteed to be right up there when the Chelsea goal of the season is selected in May.

‘As soon as I made the first touch and I shot, I knew that the ball was going in,’ he revealed.

‘I am very happy with the two goals but I would be much happier if the team had won the game. I hope that I can keep going and keep scoring goals like that.

‘I have a lot of friends here and the Brazilian players are always together,’ he added. ‘I am very happy with my life and with the club.’

Oscar spoke to Chelsea TV after the game. A clip can be viewed here with the full interview plus Roberto Di Matteo’s thoughts available now via Chelsea TV’s online access.

MIKEL: CHEAP GOAL

John Mikel Obi admitted that the players had temporarily switched off for the goal which allowed Juventus to rescue a point at Stamford Bridge last night.

On our return to Champions League action, the Blues had raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to an Oscar brace in the space of a couple of  first-half minutes, but after hitting back through Arturo Vidal shortly before the break, the Italians equalised nine minutes from time through substitute Fabio Quagliarella after a misplaced pass from Mikel.

‘It was a game we should have won,’ said a clearly frustrated Mikel. ‘We played very well, had more control of the game and looked more dangerous.

‘I’m disappointed, it was my pass and I over-hit it. After that we should have reacted properly but we didn’t.

‘The second goal was a cheap one to give away, we switched off, it was a pass to Eden [Hazard] that didn’t quite get there and then we switched off, we should have dealt with it properly.’

As opening fixtures go, facing a resurgent Juventus, who came into the game having not lost in Serie A for 42 matches and unbeaten on the road for 16 months, was always going to be a difficult test.

It was only the third time we’d failed to get our Champions League campaign off to a winning start, but while there was inevitably disappointment after allowing the lead to slip, Mikel stressed the need to remain positive moving forward.

‘We started the game well and scored the two goals,’ he explained. ‘We had possession and had the game under control. They scored their goal, and then we came out for the second half in the same way we started the first.

‘2-2 is not bad, we need to keep our heads up. We wanted to win the game but Juventus are a good team, tactically they are very sound, so we knew we had to dig deep to get our goals which is what we did, I’m just disappointed with the way we gave away the second goal.’

The biggest positive was undoubtedly the performance of Oscar, making his first start for the club, who lit up west London with two long-range strikes worthy of the biggest stage.

Mikel paid tribute to the tricky Brazilian, before underlying the importance of not looking too far ahead.

‘He’s a great player, he’s done brilliantly scoring the two goals, but his general play was good as well. Hopefully he’s going to be a great player for the club,’ said the Nigerian.

‘It’s going to be difficult, obviously we want to win it again, we want to go as far as we can but there’s no kidding about how tough it’s going to be.

‘Our first thought is to come out of the group stage and then look forward. Right now we want to take each game as it comes, and the next game is going to be an important one.’

FINAL WHISTLE VERDICT: TALENT ON SHOW

Had Chelsea not conceded an equaliser inside the final 10 minutes against Juventus then the post-match talk would undoubtedly have been exclusively about Oscar.

Instead it was just the majority of Roberto Di Matteo’s analysis that was devoted to the 21-year-old, who looked every centimetre a Brazilian international with two goals on his full debut and an all-round impressive display, albeit one cut short by injury.


On the player handed his first start and asked to play the No. 10 position…
‘It was a great debut for Oscar,’ said Di Matteo. ‘It was the right moment for him to start the game, we needed a bit of time to work with him and he was perfect tonight with the tactical information we gave him. The second goal was a wonderful goal and it is great to see we have a player like that in our ranks.

‘He is a big talent and he has a bit of everything. We shouldn’t forget he is still a young man but he is quite established and he broke through to the Brazil team and that is quite difficult.’

On the Oscar substitution and the absence of Daniel Sturridge from the players named for the game…
‘It was a bad tackle and Oscar had to come off. He got a knock on his ankle and we will have to assess him tomorrow.

‘In the last training session yesterday Sturridge felt his hamstring tightening up so he wasn’t available for today. He won’t be out for long.’

Letting a two-goal lead slip…
‘Of course we feel disappointed and a little bit deflated that we found ourselves in a fantastic position to win this game and we came away only with a draw,’ said the Chelsea manager.

‘It was a good game of football and we played against a good team and they are always dangerous. They have a lot of quality but we feel disappointed because we should have closed the game.

‘For their second goal we should have dealt with it a little better. There was no pressure on the ball and it was probably difficult to play offside, and we lost possession just beforehand and we should have reacted much quicker to losing the ball.

‘In football unfortunately you give the ball away. That is how it is, and it is something you try to improve all the time, to be composed and keep possession better. During the game we did give the ball away a little bit too cheaply at times but we also played some good stuff.’

On nothing given for a second-half challenge on Eden Hazard inside the area…
‘It was a penalty. He got pushed and there was contact as well and it was the second game in a row that the referee seemed to not see it.’

MATCH REPORT: CHELSEA 2 JUVENTUS 2

Summary
Our defence of the Champions League trophy began in disappointing style as we threw away a two-goal lead, drawing 2-2 with Juventus on what was only the third occasion in which we’d failed to win our opening group game.

Everything was going according to plan when Oscar drove us in front, via the aid of a deflection, in the 30th minute, and two minutes later were looked to be heading for a comfortable victory when the youngster doubled our advantage with a sublime strike which gave Gianluigi Buffon no chance.

Juventus reduced the deficit five minutes later when Arturo Vidal fired home, and while the Blues had a legitimate penalty claim waved away after the break when Eden Hazard was tripped inside the penalty area, the visitors always looked dangerous.

The equaliser came nine minutes from time when the substitute Fabio Quagliarella raced on to Claudio Marchisio’s pass to secure a point.

Attention now turns towards a Premier League clash at home to Stoke City on Saturday where we will be looking to get back to winning ways and maintain our place at the top of the league.

Team news
Roberto Di Matteo made only one change to the Chelsea team which drew 0-0 at Loftus Road on Saturday, with Oscar being handed his first start for the club since joining in the summer, Ryan Bertrand the player making way. David Luiz partnered captain John Terry in central defence, while Fernando Torres, withdrawn against Queens Park Rangers, retained his place in the side as the lone striker, making his 50th appearance for the club. Juan Mata, who missed the weekend’s game after being given some time off, returned to the squad, although the Spaniard had to be content with a place on the bench. Daniel Sturridge, meanwhile, missed out after picking up a hamstring strain.

First half
It was a bright start from the Blues, with two corners forced inside the opening couple of minutes, and while the first was easily cleared, David Luiz went close from the second, although the defender couldn’t get enough power behind his header to seriously trouble Buffon.

Juventus, though, unlike many Italian sides playing away from home, were happy to push men forward early on, and it required a smart David Luiz block to prevent Mirko Vucinic from slipping his strike partner Sebastian Giovinco through on goal.

The play flowed back and forth as both sides attempted to gain an early advantage, but it was the visitors who had the first real sight of goal, Marchisio racing on to a Leonardo Bonucci clearance in the 21st minute, only to be denied by the lightning quick reflexes of Petr Cech, who raced off his line to parry the midfielder’s effort.

The Chelsea defence was breached again moments later as Stephan Lichtsteiner played in Vucinic, but with the goal at his mercy the Montenegro international somehow scuffed his effort into the side netting.

It was an opportunity the Italians were made to pay for on the half-hour mark as Chelsea took the lead. Oscar pounced on a loose ball 25 yards from goal, and as the youngster struck from distance, his effort took a wicked deflection off Bonucci and flew past the stranded Buffon.

Two minutes later, with the supporters still on their feet celebrating his first strike, Oscar doubled his tally for the night with one of the goals of the season so far, spinning on the edge of the box and bending an absolute peach of a strike into the top corner.

Di Matteo had opted to ease the 20-year-old into the side gradually over the course of the opening few weeks of the campaign, but in the space of a couple of minutes he had given the Stamford Bridge faithful a glimpse of his unquestionable abilities.

Five minutes later, however, the away side were back in the game courtesy of a powerful, low strike into the bottom corner by Vidal, a goal which, in truth, they will have felt their first half performance merited.

Buoyed by their sudden reprieve, Juventus sensed the panic in the Blues defence as the half drew to a close, and they were almost level with the last kick of the half, Andrea Pirlo’s free-kick sailing inches past Cech’s right-hand post.

Second half

Chelsea, unchanged from the first half, came out after the break eager to restore our two-goal advantage, and shortly after Ramires narrowly failed to connect with a Hazard cross, Buffon saved low down to his right from an impressive Branislav Ivanovic effort.

The veteran Italian goalkeeper was called into action again moments later when he did well to save a thumping Frank Lampard free-kick as we stepped up the pressure.

The referee, who had incensed the home supporters with a string of poor decisions in the opening 45 minutes, did little to enhance his standing with them when he denied the Blues what appeared to be a certain penalty as Hazard was brought down inside the box by Chiellini.

Juventus were growing into the game as the half wore on, and after Lampard lost possession just outside our own penalty area, David Luiz made a stunning last-gasp block to deny Marchisio as the defender looked to pull the trigger.

Sensing the visitors were beginning to take control of proceedings, Di Matteo made his first substitution of the night, replacing Ramires with Ryan Bertrand, a switch which saw Hazard move out to the right-hand side and Bertrand play ahead of Ashley Cole on the left.

Soon after it was Oscar making way, the Brazilian suffering after being caught by a late tackle minutes earlier, with Mata coming on to play in behind Torres.

The Spaniard’s impact was almost instant, but after linking up well with Hazard his left-footed strike flew wide of Buffon’s post, and from the subsequent attack Juventus were level.

Marchisio picked up possession midway inside the Chelsea half and was afforded far too much time to slide his pass into the path of the substitute Fabio Qualiarella, who took one touch before calmly rolling the ball through the legs of the advancing Cech, sending the travelling hordes behind the goal delirious.

As the clock ticked down it was Juventus firmly in the ascendancy, and Quagliarella almost turned the game completely on its head when he turned on the edge of the box and crashed a strike against the bar with what was the last attempt on goal.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry (c), Cole; Mikel Obi, Lampard; Ramires (Bertrand 69), Oscar (Mata 73), Hazard; Torres.
Unused substitutes: Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Romeu, Moses.
Scorers Oscar 30, 32
Booked
Ramires 58

Juventus (3-5-2): Buffon (c); Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Vidal, Marcilio, Pirlo, Asamoah, Lichtsteiner (Isla 76); Vucinic (Matri 86), Giovinco (Quagliarella 74).
Unused substitutes: Storari, Lucio, Giacherrini, Marrone
Scorers Vidal 37, Quagliarella 81
Booked
Vidal 65

Referee Pedro Proenca (Portugal)
Crowd
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