Champions League

Juventus rescues draw versus Chelsea

Highlights of Chelsea's Champions League stalemate versus Juventus.
Highlights of Chelsea's Champions League stalemate versus Juventus.
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LONDON (AP)

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Wednesday, September 19
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Fabio Quagliarella scored a late equalizer as Juventus came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with defending champion Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The Italy forward's 80th-minute goal came only six minutes after coming off the bench, completing the Italian champions' comeback after falling behind to a quickfire double from Oscar in the first half of the Group E match.

The Brazil playmaker marked his first start for Chelsea with long-range goals in a two-minute span just after the half-hour mark, the first deflecting off Leonardo Bonucci into the corner of the net and the second a superb curler from the edge of the box.

Arturo Vidal reduced the deficit in the 38th for Juventus, which was making its return to the competition after a three-year absence.

Chelsea is trying to become the first team to retain the Champions League since its inception in 1992, a task branded ''impossible'' by coach Roberto di Matteo in the build-up to the match.

There was a celebratory atmosphere pre-match as members of the armed forces paraded around Stamford Bridge with the trophy won in dramatic circumstances four months ago - on penalties against Bayern Munich at the home of the German side.

Di Matteo has spent nearly 80 million pounds during the offseason in adding a raft of creative, young midfielders and playmakers to his squad to replace the departed Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou. Of the remodeled attack, only Eden Hazard has shone so far this season - but Oscar took his chance here.

Wearing the No. 11 shirt vacated by Drogba - the scorer of Chelsea's winning penalty against Bayern - the 21-year-old Brazilian made an immediate impact in front of Chelsea fans who had only seen fleeting glimpses of him in three substitute appearances in the Premier League this season.

After showing some nice touches but little else in the first half-hour, Oscar received a short pass from Hazard and arrowed in a shot that took a looping deflection of Bonucci and nestled into the corner of the net beyond goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

His second goal less than 2 minutes later was much less than down to luck and more an instinctive reaction after a loose control from Ashley Cole's pass. Beating Andrea Pirlo to the ball, Oscar spun and curled a delightful effort into the top corner from just outside the area for a goal that was greeted with gasps by his jubilant teammates.

By that stage, Juventus - Italy's best hope for the title this season after going 42 league games unbeaten in Serie A - had wasted great chances through Claudio Marchisio and Mirko Vucinic. The movement of diminutive schemers Sebastian Giovinco and Vidal also gave the home defense plenty of problems.

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Vidal's goal was avoidable, though, with Frank Lampard giving the Chilean midfielder too much time to cut inside and drive a low shot through the legs of John Terry and into the net.

It gave the visitors renewed hope and the second half started with coach Antonio Conte biting his nails in the stands, where he was banished due to a 10-month touchline suspension for match-fixing violations in Italy that was extended worldwide by FIFA last week.

Juventus seized the initiative as Chelsea retreated to deploy the tactics that served them so well in the competition last season - defending deep and hitting opponents on the counterattack.

Initially it worked with Juve running out of ideas up front despite the increasing influence of the bearded Pirlo, but Quagliarella was introduced in the 74th minute and equalized soon afterward.

John Obi Mikel was made to pay for a dreadful pass from the back, Marchisio slipping a pass through for his Italy teammate to run on to and slip a neat finish through Cech's legs.

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