Juventus vs Chelsea score: Federico Chiesa strike beats Champions League title holders in Turin
Chelsea suffered their first Champions League defeat under Thomas Tuchel as Federico Chiesa’s superb strike early in the first half earned Juventus a 1-0 victory which puts them at the top of Group E.
On a night where visitors huffed and puffed in possession, a Juventus rearguard led by eternal Leonardo Bonucci held the reigning European champions at arm’s length with a goal from Chiesa just seconds away. of the first half was enough to La Vecchia Signora to make six points against six so far in Europe.
It wasn’t until the final few minutes that Chelsea really looked like they were scoring a point in a disappointing attacking display. Romelu Lukaku shot from a tight angle before an unmarked Kai Havertz headed twice in the final seven minutes, as Thomas Tuchel suffered back-to-back defeats for just the second time in his tenure.
Unforgettable Chiesa’s Night
A one-man attack probably shouldn’t work, but when that man is Chiesa, it can be a winning plan. The Italy international was also good in Turin tonight.
Certainly, he was not alone in excelling in a significant victory for the Blues. Federico Bernadeschi ran the chains ad infinitum. Bonucci and Matthijs De Light dominated at the other end of the field. But it really was Chiesa’s night, another moment of escape for one of the stars of Italy’s Euro 2020 victory.
His blocks, so often done by himself, constantly posed questions to veteran defenders. Antonio Rudiger in particular had a terrible night. One minute Chiesa would fall deeply and turn to run towards defense, the next seeking to chase long balls behind.
It shouldn’t have worked. At first, Juventus seemed to need a focal point. Instead, operating without one meant Chelsea’s defense had no benchmarks to organize against.
The opening for Juventus came just because of that. Rudiger had stayed high on the kickoff, only noticing the danger when Chiesa crashed into a seam to claim a deep ball from Bernadeschi and after 11 seconds of the second half, Juventus were leading. A thunderous drive beat Edouard Mendy at his near post to complete the movement.
Juventus have hardly been lethal in their attacks. Their best chances were made easier by Mateo Kovacic’s botched pass early in the first half. Twice in the space of four minutes, he made awkward decisions on the edge of the offensive third. Chiesa buckled a wide effort at a tight angle, made even more difficult by Mendy’s strong positioning. The hosts’ best luck was arguably before that, a loose square ball from Kovacic freeing Adrien Rabiot. A simple through pass was enough to free Bernadeschi, but he couldn’t even find his teammate.
Bernadeschi finally had his chance, a brilliant first pass from Cuadrado on a long pass from Rabiot bringing him back at close range. He couldn’t make the most of his opportunity, deviating wide from close.
Chelsea’s attack leads nowhere
Chelsea did what they are doing under Tuchel in Europe. Few teams are better at keeping possession. But in Turin, they didn’t do much. After Juventus plugged the opening holes Marcos Alonso continued to find his right flank, the visitors struggled to find a real path to goal.
There were so many players coming to the ball, but very few were looking to stretch this veteran Juventus defense by running away from the ball. Hakim Ziyech had some nice touches, and a lot of them, but they rarely sped up the game for the visitors. Lukaku seems to have fallen too much in love with his post-up game. Kai Havertz struggled to enter any match.
It was as if Tuchel was so determined to fix the flaws in Saturday’s loss to Manchester City, when his side lacked someone to tie the midfielder and forwards, that he had just created a problem elsewhere. Chelsea have used possession as a defensive weapon since day one under new management, but it has rarely looked so ineffective on offense. The first half brought only one save for Wojciech Szczesny, an effort from Kovacic from outside the box.
Perhaps Chelsea’s struggles in recent days are nothing more than the absence of their two most impressive midfielders. Few are more effective at connecting parts of the squad than N’Golo Kante and Mason Mount, both of the top names on Tuchel’s squad sheet when in good shape. If Kovacic made those loose passes with his No.7 beside him, he could expect to be bailed out by his fellow midfielder.
Admittedly, with tight numbers, Tuchel struggled to find his usual substitution to change the game. He felt something needed to be changed in midfield, but it was Trevor Chalobah who replaced Jorginho rather than Saul, the kind of player who could have crossed the lines. Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus Cheek may have been those players in the past, but it required a lot of fringe players to turn the tide.
In the end, it took Chelsea 82 minutes to get a really tempting shot on goal. Lukaku let the ball cross him into the box before passing just under a shot that sparkled over the bar. But ultimately, the problem is that in their last two games the Blues have created shots worth 0.21 expected goals in 98 minutes of parity. Tuchel has some problems to sort out.