Chelsea look set for Champions League exit
ROBERTO Di Matteo went from Champions League hero to zero last night as Chelsea crashed to defeat at Juventus and to the brink of an embarrassing exit from the competition.
Di Matteo's biggest selection gamble since he took charge backfired as goals from Fabio Quagliarella, Arturo Vidal and Sebastian Giovinco left the Blues facing the prospect of becoming the first holders to depart the competition before Christmas.
Chelsea slumped to third place in Group E with one match remaining and must win against Nordsjaelland in two weeks' time and hope Shakhtar Donetsk beat Juventus, despite the Ukrainian side having qualified for the last 16 themselves last night.
That would be the equal of any let-off the European champions enjoyed en route to last season's astonishing Champions League triumph, which ultimately prevented owner Roman Abramovich dispensing with Di Matteo.
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With Pep Guardiola supposedly waiting in the wings, Di Matteo could find himself on borrowed time barring another dramatic turnaround.
The same could be said of the Chelsea career of Fernando Torres, who was axed last night, although David Luiz produced enough hapless moments for the both of them.
Di Matteo's other changes prompted memories of Andre Villas-Boas's so-called 'suicide-note' selection at Napoli last season, the Blues boss playing without a recognised striker and fielding Cesar Azpilicueta in front of Branislav Ivanovic.
Juventus took the lead in unconventional fashion seven minutes from half-time, Quagliarella reacting to redirect Pirlo's low drive past Cech, who could not keep the ball out having already moved to cover the original shot.
Di Matteo took action by sending on Victor Moses on the hour, but Chelsea were 2-0 behind a minute later in shambolic circumstances.
Their defence was nowhere to be seen as Asamoah picked out Vidal, whose shot deflected off Ramires and through the luckless Cech's legs.
Lichtsteiner departed for Martin Giovinco came off the bench to seal the victory with a goal on the break.