Chelsea’s hopes of a place in the Champions League final 16 have been compromised on Tuesday when the holders fell to the 1st reduction of their trophy defence in a two-1 defeat at Shakhtar Donetsk.
Regardless of a late energy by Oscar, objectives from Alex Teixeira and Fernandinho were adequate to give the Ukrainian champions breathing space at the top of Group E and lengthen an extraordinary unbeaten run stretching back 11 months.
It was Chelsea’s first loss because they went down to Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup, but things would have been far worse for the Premier League leaders had Juventus not been held to a one-1 draw at FC Nordsjaelland.
Chelsea remain in 2nd area but are now 3 points behind Shakhtar ahead of the return game on November 7, while coach Roberto Di Matteo must hope for a quick recovery prior to Sunday’s visit of Manchester United.
John Terry returned for Chelsea immediately after missing their four-two win at Tottenham Hotspur as he served the 1st instalment of a four-game ban for racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand, but his first contribution was unfortunate.
Ironically sporting a Unite Against Racism armband, a single yr to the day considering that his clash with Ferdinand, the Blues captain unwittingly diverted a shot into the path of Teixeira, who drilled the hosts into a 3rd-minute lead.
One more Chelsea stalwart, Frank Lampard, was making his 100th European look, but he endured a similarly forgettable commence to the game, with injury forcing him off in the 16th minute.
Eden Hazard replaced Lampard and aided craft an opening for Fernando Torres, but Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov came out to save at the Spaniard’s feet.
The hosts refused to be flustered by Chelsea’s forays into their territory, nonetheless, and the harmful Willian twice threatened to lengthen their lead with attempts from extended range.
The Brazilian with the afro haircut then teed up Henrik Mkhitaryan for a strong shot that Petr Cech parried, although the Czech goalkeeper also had to claw away a near-variety work from Yaroslav Rakitskiy.
The half-time whistle came as a relief for Di Matteo’s side but issues received no greater in the 2nd half, as the residence side doubled their advantage inside 7 minutes.
Hazard was caught in possession in midfield by Fernandinho, who hared upfield to collect a lay-off from Luiz Adriano before crashing a precise reduced shot into Cech’s bottom-correct corner.
Pyatov had to repel extended-assortment shots from Hazard and Ramires, but Mircea Lucescu’s males refused to be pushed back.
Cech twice had to deal with smartly hit shots from Mkhitaryan, even though Adriano noticed a header bobble narrowly broad of the left-hand post.
Oscar tucked property Branislav Ivanovic’s minimal cross in the 88th minute to declare a consolation objective for Chelsea, but Shakhtar have been in no mood to relinquish their record of possessing by no means lost at property to an English club.