Juventus 1-0 Chelsea: Federico Chiesa strike hands Champions League holders second successive defeat

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Chelsea slipped to a second successive defeat after losing to Juventus in the Champions League.

The Blues saw their formidable unbeaten start to the 2021/22 campaign ended by Manchester City at the weekend and also fell in Turin on Wednesday night, caught napping at the start of the second half as Federico Chiesa struck what proved to be the winning goal just 10 seconds after the break.

It was Chelsea’s first Champions League group stage defeat in two years and only the second time they have lost consecutive matches in the Thomas Tuchel era.

Chelsea made three changes to the side that lost to City for their second Group H tie at the Allianz Stadium, with Reece James (ankle) and N’Golo Kante (Covid) absent along with Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic.

Thiago Silva deputised in defence, with Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech starting further forward.

And they dominated possession in the first half, with Romelu Lukaku testing ex-Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny early on with a low drive following a well-worked corner routine.

However, that initial chance aside, they struggled to break down a stubborn Juve defence that has struggled badly this season, with Silva’s late drive blocked brilliantly by Matthijs de Ligt.

Instead it was the hosts that posed the biggest threat on the counter-attack, looking dangerous every time they came forward despite the absence of injured top scorers Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata.

Chiesa seized on an error from Mateo Kovacic and flashed a warning shot narrowly wide from a tough angle and the returning Adrien Rabiot fired just over after cutting inside Cesar Azpilicueta.

Federico Bernardeschi’s sweetly-struck free-kick was driven into a wall oddly formed by his own team as the first half ended goalless.

Tuchel sent on Ben Chilwell for Marcos Alonso at half-time, but Chelsea were caught completely cold just 10 seconds into the second period when Chiesa produced a lovely blindside run in behind the defence and thumped beyond the helpless Edouard Mendy from close range.

Chelsea still struggled to create any meaningful chances despite plenty of intent after going behind and Tuchel had seen enough on the hour mark, making a rare triple change as Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Trevoh Chalobah all entered the fray.

But it should have been 2-0 to Juventus, when Bernardeschi somehow missed the target from close range after a fine cross-field Rabiot ball and first-time pass from former Chelsea winger Juan Cuadrado.

Lukaku then headed wide after finally getting some service, with Tuchel also sending on Ross Barkley in an attempt to find an equaliser.

And Barkley did well to feed Lukaku with the game taking on a frantic nature and tempo reminiscent of a knockout tie, but the Belgian striker could only lash well wide.

Chelsea had a glorious opportunity to equalise in the dying seconds, but Havertz could only guide Chilwell’s corner over the crossbar.

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