Chelsea's greatest ever group stage escape acts
Di Matteo's men can take inspiration from the fact they have never failed to conjure up a result in the group stage when required
Tuesday 20 November 2012
Chelsea go into their Champions League Group E game at Juventus in danger of being the first holders to crash out of the competition before Christmas.
But Roberto Di Matteo's men can take inspiration from the fact they have never failed to conjure up a result in the group stage when required.
Here, Press Association Sport's Ben Rumsby looks at their other escape acts:
AC Milan 1 Chelsea 1 (October 26, 1999)
Di Matteo came to Chelsea's rescue in near-identical circumstances on his Champions League debut, during the club's maiden season in the competition. The Blues went into their penultimate Group H game in second place, two points ahead of AC Milan. Oliver Bierhoff gave the Italian side the lead with only 16 minutes remaining but Gianluca Vialli immediately threw on Di Matteo, who took just two minutes to set up Dennis Wise to equalise. Chelsea ended up winning the group after Milan and Hertha Berlin both suffered shock defeats to Galatasaray.
Chelsea 2 Cluj 1 (December 9, 2008)
For the first time in the Roman Abramovich era, Chelsea went into their final group game in real danger of failing to qualify. They had won only two of their five previous Group A outings under Luiz Felipe Scolari - a man recruited to deliver Champions League glory. The Blues knew a victory against first-time Romanian champions Cluj would be enough but they made hard work of it, Didier Drogba scoring the winner after Yssouf Kone cancelled out Salomon Kalou's opener.
Chelsea 3 Valencia 0 (December 6, 2011)
Chelsea flirted with disaster during their extraordinary Champions League triumph almost from start to finish and they went into their final Group E game with Valencia knowing a defeat or score draw would eliminate them. But Andre Villas-Boas abandoned the cavalier style that had backfired so spectacularly and was rewarded with a Drogba-inspired 3-0 win, Ramires grabbing the other goal to seal top spot after Bayer Leverkusen failed to beat Genk.
Chelsea 3 Shakhtar Donetsk 2 (November 7, 2012)
Chelsea need look no further back than two weeks ago for inspiration. They were within seconds of arguably having to win at Juventus before substitute Victor Moses' 94th-minute winner against a Shakhtar Donetsk side who had dominated them almost from start to finish. The Blues also had Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov to thank for gifting goals to Fernando Torres and Oscar, both of which were cancelled out by Willian.
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