Victor Moses struck a winner deep into injury time to give Chelsea a potentially crucial 3-2 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk at Stamford Bridge.
The result takes Chelsea level on points with Shakhtar at the top of E on seven points, crucially a point ahead of third placed Juventus who they meet in Turin in two weeks’ time. For long periods it looked like being a very different story for the Blues as they twice took the lead against the impressive Ukrainian outfit, through first-half strikes by Fernando Torres and Oscar but were pegged back on each occasion courtesy of a brace by Willian.
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo had sad beforehand that his side needed a “perfect game” to get the victory they craved and they looked on their way to achieving that as some less than perfect defending from the visitors gifted them a goal after just six minutes. After Shakhtar tried to play out from the back, Yaroslav Rakitskiy played an under hit back pass allowing Torres to close down and block Andriy Pyatov’s attempted clearance and send the ball into the back of the net.
But Shakhtar took little time to respond as they again showed the sort of quality that put Chelsea to the sword two weeks ago.
Fernandinho picked up the ball and burst past two Chelsea challenges with all too much ease before pulling it back to fellow Brazilian William who side-footed low into the back of the net from 12 yards out.
The first-half continued in an entertaining fashion, with both sides creating chances to grab the lead. It was Chelsea that went in at the break in front, though, with a stunning strike from Oscar in the 40th minute. Pyatov was again heavily involved as he rushed out of his area to head the ball away but could only reach Oscar on the edge of the center circle inside the Shakhtar half. The Brazilian chested the ball neatly into his path before unleashing an instant half volley with exemplary technique to send the ball sailing over the retreating Pyatov and into the net.
Often a goal right before the break can prove demoralizing for the side that concedes, but not so for Shakhtar. Just two minutes into the second half, Willian displayed the ability that has made him so wanted by Premier League clubs, including Chelsea, as, in a virtual replica of his first goal, he side footed first time into the net after a pull back from the right, this time by Darijo Srna.
And Mircea Lucescu’s side could have taken the lead for the first time just a few minutes later. First Razvan Rat struck the foot of the post with a fine strike from outside the box and then just minutes later Rakitskiy and Tomas Hubschman missed chances in quick succession.
Chelsea came close to a winner themselves but saw a header from John Mikel Obi ruled off for offside before having a penalty appeal turned down for a challenge on Ramires from Srna.
With the ticking seeming inexorably toward a draw, former Wigan man Moss popped up in the fourth minute of injury time to head an Eden Hazard into the top corner of the net from six yards out.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.