Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 Chelsea

In-form Shakhtar Donetsk saw out a comfortable win against Chelsea on a mild night inside the Donbass Arena.

Two goals, both early in each half, gave the Ukrainians the full three points, rendering a late Chelsea surge irrelevant.

The Blues, who had been in fine form themselves leading to this match, were humbled, with expertly-controlled play and admirable determination, and Roberto Di Matteo will look to bounce back with a victory against Manchester United on Sunday.

If the visitors thought beating the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich meant Shakhtar Donetsk would be a walk in the park, they were in for a nasty surprise. The champions of Ukraine have been unbeaten for 11 months, and it was not hard to see why.

Right from the word go, they took the game to the European champions. Di Matteo, who has often set his team the challenge of a fast start, were on the receiving end of one, when Alex Teixeira’s daisy-cutter creeped into the back of the net.

It was a soft goal for the visitors to concede, with David Luiz not covering himself in glory from a throw-in, and even though Chelsea welcomed back the solidity of John Terry, neither him nor Petr Cech could make amends, and the tough task became a much harder prospect.

If the front three of Chelsea have been lavished in praise, then Donetsk’s trinity of Willian, Mkhitaryan and Alex Teixeira must also been admired.

The former has long been touted as a Chelsea target, and though interest appears to have faded since the acquisition of Eden Hazard, Willian more than proved a point, and could have deepened Chelsea’s problems had he kept his shot a little lower.

Frank Lampard then added to Chelsea’s woes, having to come off after a knock, to bring about a premature end to his landmark 100th European game for the Blues.

Lamps goes off injured

Ramires dropped back into a more holding role, with Hazard now covering right-wing, but the slow start paid into Donetsk’s hands, as Willian again had the time to test Cech.

Where Chelsea did have a chance, they often were met by a stern wall that was their goalkeeper. Pyatov denied Torres twice as the half drew to a close, with Cech being tested further by Mkhitaryan.

Any sign of a Roberto Di Matteo ear-bashing was indiscernible, as the home side held out, and even doubled their advantage. Eden Hazard was needlessly dispossessed on the half-way line, and Fernandinho was in acres of space to shoot low across Cech’s goal.

It had been coming; a real show of intent from Shakhtar and their front-line. Torres, meanwhile, became more and more withdrew from the match, and though there were the splutterings of intent, with Mikel and Ramires trying from distance, the Blues manager felt a more direct substitute was needed, with Sturridge coming on, taking the place of Torres.

Hope dwindled as time passed, and the odd world-class save from Cech prevented this match turning into a drubbing.

And then came the belated Chelsea surge, albeit too late. Branislav Ivanovic, who had been Chelsea’s best performer alongside Cech, found Oscar, who tapped home.

Pyatov might have been unhappy with his defence not picking up the nimble Brazilian, but it was his team who left the happier as the full-time whistle blew, with the Ukrainian side claiming a big scalp as they look to march on into the knockout stages.

Match Stats


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