Classy Juve deny Oscar's winning performance


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The Independent Online

They are the champions of Europe, and before the match last night Chelsea paraded the trophy that it has taken them so long to win but if this was meant to be an advertisement for the brave new era that Roberto Di Matteo has ushered in then there can be no guarantees of another vintage year.

In the two goals scored on his full Chelsea debut by Oscar, the second a brilliant end-of-season montage certainty, there was a glimmer of a hopeful future but that was about it. Problems in defence? You bet. Another woefully anonymous performance from Fernando Torres? Afraid so. Even the old reliables like Frank Lampard and John Terry were not on their game to the standard required.

On another night Chelsea might just have got away with it but the champions of Italy, despite having been out of the competition for two years, found the weak spots in this performance and punished them. Two goals behind after Oscar's second on 33 minutes, Juventus forced their way back into the game with goals from Arturo Vidal and an 80th-minute equaliser from the substitute Fabio Quagliarella.

The first of Oscar's two goals was a little fortuitous, taking, as it did, a hefty deflection off Leonardo Bonucci on its way past the World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. Nevertheless, the shot, on 31 minutes, demonstrated a willingness to be direct and a confidence that had been hitherto difficult to detect.

As for the second goal, two minutes later, it was the kind of strike that heralds a precious talent. The first touch, with his back to goal, took Bonucci and the famous Andrea Pirlo out the game in an instant, and then Oscar swivelled and hit a curling shot with his right foot into the top corner of Buffon's goal. It was a rub-your-eyes-in-disbelief moment. Yes, that really did just happen.

But the best opportunities to score were still falling to the Italian club. It was the enterprising Chilean midfielder Vidal who scored Juventus' goal before the break, hitting a low left shot out of the reach of Cech.

Vidal's goal was a reminder to Chelsea that in spite of Oscar's inspired two minutes they had never been in control. And after the break the introduction of Quagliarella paid off. It was he who slipped the ball between Cech's legs having sprung a weak offside trap on 80 minutes.