Chelsea dominate but surrender initiative in Group H after Juventus defeat

Date published: Wednesday 29th September 2021 9:53 - Matthew Briggs

Federico Chiesa celebrates Juventus goal v Chelsea September 2021

Chelsea dominated possession in Turin but slumped to a 1-0 defeat in Champions League Group H after the brilliant Federico Chiesa scored just after half-time for Juventus in a 1-0 win.

Italy star Chiesa latched on to a smart ball inside the left channel of the box, after a long ball forward, to smash home at the near post. And despite over 70% possession Chelsea could not force an equaliser, as the hosts climbed to the top of the group.

Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech both started for Chelsea in Turin.

The Blues reverted to a 3-4-3 formation after using 3-5-2 in Saturday’s 1-0 home Premier League loss to Manchester City.

Matthijs De Ligt got the nod ahead of veteran Italy star Giorgio Chiellini in defence for Juve, with the hosts lining up with a flat back four.

Chelsea threatened first on seven minutes. Marcus Alonso whipped in a low corner low for Romelu Lukaku to strike at goal, but Wojciech Szczesny made the reaction stop before gathering at the second attempt.

Chiesa then seized on a mistake from Mateo Kovacic and surged forward. The Azzurri star powered past Andreas Christensen but fired his effort just wide of the left post.

Chelsea v Juventus Wojciech Szczesny save

On the half-hour mark Adrien Rabiot came close with a shot which whistled over the bar. He cut inside from the left and fired in a powerful right-foot shot that, fortunately, gave Edouard Mendy no problem.

Bernardeschi then blasted a free-kick at his own team-mate Rabiot before Chelsea threatened just before half-time.

Lukaku earned a corner off Danilo and from the resulting flag kick Thiago Silva saw his effort blocked by Matthijs De Ligt.

Alonso’s cross found Silva, but his effort was crowded out before De Ligt threw himself at the rebound.

Juve did not waste anytime getting their noses in front after half-time though.


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Smart restart

Ben Chilwell replaced Alonso at left wing back, but Juve were ahead after just 11 seconds of the restart.

Chiesa hammering into the top corner on his left foot from close range after Bernardeschi played him in on the left.

Chelsea’s response was good and after Leonardo Bonucci stepped in to stop Lukaku bursting through the middle, Juve almost scored an own goal.

Kovacic tried to play a one-two with Havertz. But the return pass from the German hit Locatelli and deflected goalwards, but just wide of the right post.

Bernardeschi then wasted a glorious chance to make it 2-0 in the 64th minute. Juan Cuadrado guided a low ball across the six-yard box only for Bernardeschi to fire his effort wide of the right post.

Ten minutes later Sub Callum Hudson-Odoi floated a cross into the middle. Havertz and Lukaku both attempt to go for the ball and and the jump of the German puts off his Lukaku, who plants his header wide.

Lukaku then blasted a shot over the bar after sub Ross Barkley had turned and found him in space.

Havertz was then the guilty party on 88 minutes when he planted a free header from a cross from Hudson-Odoi wide of the target.

READ MORE: New perspective sheds contradictory light on aftermath of £68m Chelsea transfer pursuit

 

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