Was Chelsea captain John Terry on his best behaviour?
Martin Hardy judges Terry's return from a domestic suspension for racial abuse, in Europe
Nothing, it would appear, fazes John Terry. There was a confident handshake as the two teams lined up in the tunnel. He strode behind the referee Damir Skomina as Chelsea walked into a caldron of noise (with his 'Unite Against Racism' armband) and he stood firm as the figurehead in this team as the Champions League music played, as if he'd never been missing through a suspension for racially abusing a Premier League colleague.
Terry gave the referee his pen back in the first half, after he'd dropped it, so there was respect for officialdom. That was his tone all evening. Terry was too busy worrying about a possible rout than a ruck with anyone, and his behaviour was that of a captain leading his side in European competition, albeit a team outclassed. Last night was not the night to pick fights, and he didn't.
Much of what Terry did was dictated by the game, rather than his state of mind. The stadium was noisy and Shakhtar were by far the better side. This is what people thought Barcelona would do to Chelsea. In that backdrop of desperate defending, there was little scope for Terry to emerge as a noisy hero. The occasion, rather than the FA's recent suspension, seemed to blame for that.
Terry was not a rock, but nor was he Chelsea's worst defender. Last night was one of those nights for David Luiz and that took Terry out of his comfort zone. Three minutes had passed when Luiz lost Willian, Terry had to move across and deflected the shot with his arm into the path of Alex Teixeira and from there Chelsea were behind.
If there was one spot of relief it was that Terry was not at the centre of another scandal. He cannot afford it and nor can Chelsea. Shakhtar have black players, and Willian led Terry and his defensive partners a merry dance all night, but there was thankfully no suggestion of a new race row.
Latest in Sport
Louis van Gaal denies problem with Wilfried Zaha despite Manchester United forward being given no game time
Calum Chambers: Who is Arsenal's £16m right-back target?
Manchester United latest: Angel Di Maria move no closer as Juan Mata emerges as Louis van Gaal's favoured No 10 as prospect of signing
Arsenal transfer news: Versatile Calum Chambers is a 'gamble', admits Arsene Wenger as Arsenal spending passes £50m
Arturo Vidal to Manchester United: Louis van Gaal resurrects £35m move for midfielder
- 1 Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 5 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star, dies aged 45
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace