UEFA Champions League: Chelsea walk tight rope

The European champions may not qualify for the knock-out stage.Reigning European Champions, chelsea, face the risk of not making it beyond the group stage of the UEFA Champions League as they were battered 3-0 in Turin by Juventus.

Tuesday’s defeat means Chelsea’s Champions League future is out of their hands.

Deflected goals from Fabio Quagliarella and Arturo Vidal and an injury-time finish from Sebastian Giovinco saw the hosts, Juve, leave the defending champions needing to beat FC Nordsjaelland, and for Shakhtar Donetsk to beat the Italians in their final match.

It was Chelsea’s heaviest Champions League defeat in recent times, and it was not one of their better performances as they looked blunt both in attack and defence.

They paid the price for a negative outlook, starting with no recognised striker, as Fernando Torres was dropped to the bench, while Juve were deserved winners despite the fortunate nature of their goals.

Coach Roberto Di Matteo’s tactics of sitting back and launching counter attacks failed to yield the desired result.
And once group-topping Shakhtar Donetsk had gone ahead in Denmark, Chelsea knew they really needed to avoid defeat in order to have some level of control over their fate.

The introduction of Victor Moses made sense, but Azpilicueta had given the Blues a sense of solidity on their right – within seconds, it was 2-0, as Asamoah exploited the space to set up Vidal, who rifled a low finish through Cech via another deflection, off Ramires this time.

As Chelsea committed men forward – bringing on Torres to no avail – Juve were able to pick them off on the counter, nearly adding a third through Vucinic before sub Giovinco struck, ramming the ball into an empty net in injury time after Cech went walkabout.

A draw in Ukraine will be enough for Juve, while only a win against the Danes will do for Chelsea. The latter seems more than likely, but with Shakhtar already through after winning in Copenhagen, Roberto Di Matteo’s chances of survival in Europe, and indeed his job, is quite slim.

Meanwhile in other matches, Barcelona showed class in Russia as they spanked Emmanuel Emenike’s CSKA Moscow 3-0. Also Manchester United’s 100 per cent record in the Champions League this season was halted by Galatasary who won 1-0. Valencia and Bayern settled for a 1-1 draw in their duel while Efe Ambrose and teamates at Celtic will have to win their last match to be sure of qualifying for the knock-out stage after going down 2-1 to Benfica in Portugal.
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