Chelsea on brink of exit after Juventus defeat

© Reuters Titleholders Chelsea were on the brink of an unprecedented group stage exit in the Champions League after being overpowered 3-0 at Serie A leaders Juventus in a rousing atmosphere on Tuesday.

Fabio Quagliarella broke the deadlock with a fortuitous goal seven minutes before halftime and Arturo Vidal capped another dynamic performance by side-footing the second just after the hour thanks to another deflection.

Sebastian Giovinco struck in stoppage time.

With Shakhtar Donetsk qualifying with a 5-2 win at Nordsjaelland in the other Group E match, Juventus need only a point to go through when they visit the Ukrainian champions in their final game next month.

Chelsea's only hope is to beat Nordsjaelland and hope Shakhtar defeat the Serie A champions, otherwise they will become the first defending champions to go out in the group stage since the Champions League began.

The defeat and looming elimination heaped the pressure on Chelsea's Italian coach Roberto Di Matteo, who left Fernando Torres out of the starting lineup and began without a recognised striker.

It could have been very difficult if Chelsea had taken an early chance set up by Oscar who ran 50 metres through the Juventus midfield and slipped the ball to Eden Hazard, who dallied and saw his effort deflected wide by Gianluigi Buffon's legs.

Juventus had already sounded a warning when Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech made a superb save to knock Stephan Lichtsteiners's close-range effort onto the post.

Juve hassled Chelsea incessantly in midfield, refusing to allow them to settle, and their approach work was often superb, but they lacked the final pass.

However, a stroke of luck allowed them to take the lead when Andrea Pirlo beat Oscar to the ball near the centre circle. He hit a weak effort from long range but it deflected off Quagliarella into the net past a wrong-footed Cech.

Chelsea defender David Luiz nearly turned Kwadwo Asamoah's cross into his own goal immediately afterwards but was saved when Ashley Cole made a last-ditch clearance off the line.

Chelsea made a promising start to the second half but Juventus wasted another chance when Quagliarella broke through but tried to round Cech, leaving himself with too narrow an angle.

They killed the game off when Asamoah burst into the area and laid the ball off for Vidal to sidefoot home via a deflection and Giovinco added the gloss late on.
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on Nov 20, 2012

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