Sep 19 2012 By Yann Tear
Chelsea 2-2 Juventus - Champions League
OSCAR – a man made for a headline if ever there was one – announced his arrival in the Champions League stage with two goals and heady display in his first start for the Blues.
But Chelsea were left kicking themselves as they let the Brazilian's good work go to waste, letting slip a two goal advantage as they began the defence of their jug-earned trophy.
A late leveller came when Sub Fabio Quagliarella was allowed to dart onto a deft pass into the area by Claudio Marchisio and had time to compose himself before tucking a shot through the legs of Petr Cech.
The striker then almost stole the points with a left foot shot on the turn that clipped the top of the crossbar.
His goal owed much to a stray pass from John Obi Mikel which surrendered possession, and was a moment that Roberto Di Matteo will curse, feeling his side should have closed the door on the Italian champions.
Chelsea did not have it all their own way at first either. Cech to be alert to scamper out to snuff out a chance for Marchisio and a stray pass from Branislav Ivanovic offered Mirko Vucinic an opening, which the Montenegrin slammed into the side-netting.
But that was just the cue for Oscar to get going.
It is as if the brilliance of Eden Hazard which marked the first few weeks of the season was a mere warm-up act for the main event.
The Brazilian, who only turned 21 10 days ago, took delivery of a square pass from Hazard 25 yards out, and let fly with a left footer that took a crucial deflection off Leonardo Bonucci to beat Gianluigi Buffon.
A touch of fortune there may have been, but there was none in evidence two minutes later when Ashley Cole rolled a pass up to him on the edge of the box.
With one clever touch into space, Oscar wrong-footed Andrea Pirlo, of all people, and curled a sublime right foot shot into the top corner.
The euphoria enveloping the Bridge was kept in check five minutes later, however, when Arturo Vidal buried a lovely low shot beyond Cech – a perfect execution set up with a clever side-step when Marchisio found the Chilean midfielder just outside the box. It proved to be a life-line.
Oscar's evening was cut short by a kick on the ankle from Bonucci, but he was able to play on for a bit before giving way to Juan Mata, earning a warm ovation as he left the field.
Chelsea could not afford to rest on their laurels and kept up a good tempo at the start of the second half. Both Ivanovic – from distance – and Frank Lampard, with a stinging free-kick, drew Buffon into saves.
Hazard almost won a penalty when he received a shove in the back from Andrea Barzagli, which Champions League final ref Pedro Proenca deemed inoffensive.
Mata was quickly into the action after replacing Oscar – linking seamlessly with Hazard and clipping a shot into the side-netting after being supplied by the tireless Belgian.
But slowly, the Italians began to push Chelsea back and it was no real surprise when they eventually rescued a point with a goal 10 minutes from time.
They looked considerably more interested than when they last visited west London and were hammered 4-1 down the road by Fulham in the Europa League.
Theirs was a polished recovery, with Pirlo and Marchisio pulling the strings to create space where it mattered, and they will feel they probably merited their draw.
Line up: Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz, Cole; Ramires (Bertrand 69), Lampard, Mikel; Hazard, Torres, Oscar (Mata 75). Subs not used: Turnbull, Romeu, Moses, Cahill, Azpilicueta. Attendance: 40,918