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The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
Juventus 2-2 Chelsea (2-3 agg)

(Iaquinta 19) (Essien 45+1)
(Del Piero 74) (Drogba 83)

Guus Hiddink was hired to bring some tactical sophistication to an underwhelming team, but according to Ray Wilkins, it was an old-fashioned half-time hairdryer that carried Chelsea to the last eight of the Champions League. The Blues, abject for the bulk of the first period, were calm and composed after the break, absorbing a crazy five minutes and coming back to finish off the tie as Juventus pushed in vain for a winner.

"We've set high standards at this club," Wilkins growled to TV reporters at half-time. "We're not matching them and we've told the players what we expect."

"We lost too many duels," admitted Hiddink afterwards. "But their reaction from then on was very good indeed and that's what I like a lot about this team.This team reacts and shows its quality. We knew we must not panic because we can score at any moment."

Chelsea seemed to start the game in their sleep, mis-hitting passes and struggling to keep their heads in a ferocious atmosphere. The Juventus fans were roaring their players on from the first whistle, furiously jeering the rare occasions that the visitors managed to string more than two passes together. Vincenzo Iaquinta linked up superbly with David Trezeguet to fire home an emphatic opener, but the Italians' inability to extend their advantage cost them dearly. Chelsea looked horribly narrow and limited in a 4-1-3-2 formation with Michael Essien utterly failing to threaten on the right flank and Juventus pressing them in the centre and forcing mistakes. A shift to a more comfortable 4-1-4-1 with Nicolas Anelka on the left brought a more balanced tussle and, while Drogba was unfortunate to have his free-kick strike discounted, Essien's spirited equaliser right on the stroke of half-time was more than deserved.

Hiddink, his honest appraisal delivered, was rewarded with a much improved display from players who obviously respect him more than they did his predecessor. As unfair as it was to ruthlessly dispose of a World Cup winning manager after just six months, it's a move that has paid dividends, in the short-term at least. Chelsea responded perfectly, suffocating the game and silencing the crowd with a crisp display of possession football so effective that Juventus barely had a chance for twenty minutes.

The game looked dead and buried when Giorgio Chiellini was sent off for what appeared to be a well-timed, if rather heavy, tackle on Drogba, but then a senseless handball from Juliano Belletti allowed Alessandro Del Piero to stroke home the gentlest of penalties. Still Chelsea didn't panic, even as the crowd erupted around them. They sucked up the pressure and continued to play their football until Juventus' ten men inevitably pushed too hard and left themselves open to a Drogba sucker punch at the back.

It wasn't a vintage performance from Chelsea, if there is such a thing, but it was effective enough. Juventus will wonder why they couldn't convert their early domination into goals and no-one in Europe will be watching this and quaking in their boots, but that will matter little to a club desperate for success on the continent. It shouldn't have taken a stern telling-off to coax an improvement out of this team, but at least Chelsea fans know that they now have a manager who can deliver one when everything else has failed.

CLUELESS - This was a strange performance from referee Alberto Mallenco Undiano. It took him an age to award Juventus their penalty and he seemed entirely unconcerned by the resulting scuffle between John Terry and Olof Mellberg. Six yellow cards and one dubious red seemed a little unnecessary.

SURPRISE? - Poor old Didier Drogba should have bagged a brace, but the linesman failed to notice that his free-kick had crossed the line. Gianluigi Buffon got to his rocket of a shot, but the ball squirmed underneath him and appeared to slip over the line. Not according to the officials though. That could have proved costly.

HEARTBREAK - Pavel Nedved's final appearance in European football was a brief one. The veteran Czech midfield was substitued off after just 13 minutes, having picked up a couple of heavy knocks from John Obi Mikel and Nicolas Anelka. He deserved a better exit from the stage than this.

PUNTERS RANT - Anyone who joined me in backing Juventus for victory will have been surprised to see Claudio Ranieri hauling off his strikers as he chased the game. Surely it would have been better to keep Vincenzo Iaquinta and David Trezeguet on the pitch, even if they were lacking fitness. They don't call him 'the tinkerman' for nothing.

MAN OF THE MATCH - In a game filled with mistakes, it's hard to find anyone who stands out in the crowd. Chelsea were never anything more than competent and Juventus should have done more to swing the game in their favour. Let's give it to Vincenzo Iaquinta for such a magical opening goal, it was the best moment of the game.


Crowd - 27,319
Yellow Cards - Salihamidzic, Chiellini (Juventus), Cech, Drogba, Cole, Anelka (Chelsea)
Red Cards - Chiellini (Juventus)
Juventus -
Gianluigi Buffon 7, Giorgio Chiellini 6, Olof Mellberg 7, Vincenzo Iaquinta 7 (Sebastian Giovinco 5, 61st), Alessandro Del Piero 7, Pavel Nedved 6 (Hasan Salihamidzic 6, 13th), David Trezeguet 7 (Amauri 6, 79th), Claudio Marchisio 6, Zdenek Grygera 6, Christian Molinaro 6, Tiago 7
Petr Cech 6, Ashley Cole 6, Michael Essien 6 (Juliano Belletti 6, 66th), Frank Lampard 7, Didier Drogba 7, John Obi Mikel 7, Michael Ballack 6, Jose Bosingwa 7, John Terry 7, Alex 7, Nicolas Anelka 6

A Century United

Firewalking for HD
Jan 26, 2007
The officials can only give the goal if they are sure that it crossed the line, and even after numerous replays and "computerised" views, I don't think it has been proved that the whole of the ball crossed the whole of the line.


Oct 26, 2003
Juve had had crap crowds for ages, am I right in thinking they don't play at Stadio Delle Alpi anymore??