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19 Sep 2012

Super Juve snatch point at the Bridge

The Bianconeri battle back from two goals down to earn a share of the spoils against defending European champions Chelsea. Vidal and Quagliarella on target

Juventus staged a remarkable recovery to battle back from two goals down and deny reigning European champions Chelsea a victorious start to their title defence.

The hosts appeared to be home and dry after debutant Oscar struck twice in the space of two minutes just past the half-hour mark. But the Bianconeri failed to crumble and stood tall in the face of adversity, pulling one back through Vidal before Quagliarella netted a memorable equaliser in front of the travelling support.

Antonio Conte made four changes to the side from Sunday’s 3-1 win over Genoa, restoring Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Asamoah and Vucinic to the starting line-up after resting the quartet for the trip to Liguria.

The Blues started the brighter of the two sides and pinned the Bianconeri back with their early pressing. The first significant goalscoring chance, however, fell to the visitors. Barzagli picked out Marchisio’s run with a raking pass forward but the midfielder was unable to get the ball under control, leaving Cech to make a routine save.

Vucinic was next to try his luck and will feel he should have done better after skewing his attempt into the side netting from a promising position.

Chelsea rallied and soon found themselves in front. A neat passing move saw the ball eventually worked to Oscar. The debutant then rifled in a long-range effort that took a significant deflection off Bonucci and looped away from Buffon’s grasp.

The Bianconeri custodian, making his 400th appearance for the club, barely had time to consider the first goal before he was again picking the ball out of the back of his net. This time there was nothing fortuitous about Oscar’s effort, as the Brazilian spun his marker before blasting a venomous attempt into the top corner.

Faced with a mountain to climb, Juventus immediately got to work. And hope was restored shortly before half-time when Vidal skipped into space and found the bottom corner with a perfectly struck shot that left Cech with no chance.

The Bianconeri began the second half with the same spirit and determination displayed towards the end of the first period. The passing was crisp and concise, and the hosts were put on the back foot on regular occasions.

Sensing the chance to snatch a valuable point, Carrera introduced Quagliarella and Isla for their first appearances of the season at the expense of Giovinco and Lichtsteiner.

And the first-team coach did not have to wait long for his changes to pay dividends. With nine minutes remaining, Marchisio’s perfectly weighted slide-rule pass sprung the offside trap, leaving Quagliarella to do the rest by slotting the ball neatly under the advancing Cech.

But the Bianconeri weren’t finished there as Quagliarella almost grabbed a last-gasp winner with a left-footed strike on the turn that clipped off the top of the bar.

The final whistle drew rapturous applause from the magnificent travelling faithful, delighted to see their heroes back gracing Europe’s biggest stage in style. 


GOALS:  Oscar 31, 33, Vidal 38, Quagliarella 81

Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz, Cole; Ramires (Bertrand 69), Mikel, Lampard;  Hazard, Torres, Oscar (Mata 74).
Substitutes not used: Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Moses, Rommel.
Coach: Di Matteo.

Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner (Isla 77), Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Vucinic (Matri 88), Giovinco (Quagliarella 74).
Substitutes not used: Storari, Lucio, Marrone, Giaccherini.
Coach: Carrera.

REFEREE: Proenca (POR)
ASSISTANTS: Miranda, Trigo (POR)

BOOKED: Ramires 60, Vidal 66