Juventus ground out a deserved 1-0 win at home to a frustrated Chelsea side in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday evening.
In a cagey first half short on goalmouth action, Chelsea dominated possession for large swathes, yet scarcely threatened their stubborn hosts in open play.
Juventus – who came into the contest with just one clean sheet from their last 23 matches across all competitions – sat deep looking to strike in counterattacking scenarios Chelsea’s uncharacteristically slack midfield provided on multiple occasions.
Adrien Rabiot’s lead-footed pass squandered a two-on-one breakaway a quarter of an hour in, before Federico Chiesa fired wide having snaffled up a loose pass from Mateo Kovacic five minutes later.
Thomas Tuchel’s half-time alterations have so often swung contests in Chelsea’s favour this season. However, his substitute Ben Chilwell had barely made his way over to the far side of the pitch before Chiesa was wheeling away in celebration of his fizzing opener 11 seconds after the restart.
Juve bunkered down thereafter – though still had the best chance to score another with as Federico Bernardeschi missed a glorious opening shortly after the hour mark.
Restricted to a smattering of headed opportunities from dead balls, Chelsea suffered their second 1-0 loss within the space of five days.
Juventus player ratings
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Wojciech Szczesny (GK) – 6/10 – Recalled to the starting lineup after an error-strewn start to the season, the former Arsenal keeper wasn’t given much to do.
Danilo (RB) – 6/10 – Scarcely a presence going forward but benefitted from the added cover afforded by the hard-working midfielder ahead of him.
Leonardo Bonucci (CB) – 8/10 – Orchestrating Juve’s tightly packed banks of white and black superbly.
Matthijs de Ligt (CB) – 9/10 – Seemed a stride ahead of every blue shirt throughout.
Alex Sandro (LB) – 6/10 – Caused more of a problem after Callum Hudson-Odoi’s introduction but largely stood firm.
Juan Cuadrado (RM) – 8/10 – Dropping almost as an auxiliary right back when Chelsea pushed forward, Cuadrado’s industry was invaluable on the night.
Rodrigo Bentancur (CM) – 7/10 – Far and away Juve’s keenest pressing entity, though often left ploughing tiring, lone furrows.
Manuel Locatelli (CM) – 8/10 – Hovering behind his fellow midfielders, Locatelli showed more steel than silk with a different type of impressive display.
Federico Chiesa (AM) – 9/10 – Ever the man for the big occasion, Chiesa was irrepressible from the off.
Adrien Rabiot (LM) – 6/10 – At his infuriating best, the languid Frenchman played a role in Chiesa’s goal but could have helped open the scoring earlier.
Federico Bernardeschi (ST) – 7/10 – Floating in and out of the central striker’s role, Bernardeschi played a lovely pass for his fellow Federico formerly of Fiorentina. But squandered a great chance shortly after the hour mark.
Dejan Kulusevski (ST) – 6/10
Weston McKennie (LM) – N/A
Moise Kean (ST) – N/A
Giorgio Chiellini (CB) – N/A
Chelsea player ratings
5. Goalkeeper & defenders
Edouard Mendy (GK) – 6/10 – Sweeping off his line proactively, Mendy scarcely saw Chiesa’s effort before it flew past his ear.
Andreas Christensen (CB) – 5/10 – Lacked patience when Chelsea were building their admittedly pedestrian attacks, too eagerly trying to split Juve open.
Thiago Silva (CB) – 4/10 – Afforded Bernardeschi enough space for the Italy international to tee up the opener after a sluggish start to the second half.
Antonio Rudiger (CB) – 4/10 – Even Chelsea’s fleet-footed and fearsomely physical enforcer was left in Chiesa’s dust.
6. Midfielders & wingbacks
Cesar Azpilicueta (RWB) – 4/10 – Typically robust in Chelsea’s half but struggled to offer any penetration in one of his most awkward displays further up the pitch.
Jorginho (CM) – 3/10 – An appearance plagued with a slew of sloppy passes so rarely prevalent in his normal game.
Mateo Kovacic (CM) – 4/10 – Perennially settled for the safe, lateral pass as Chelsea’s attacks increasingly resembled the sterile shape of a capital U.
Marcos Alonso (LWB) – 4/10 – After offering little going forward and not an overwhelming air of confidence going the other way, Alonso was hooked at half-time.
Kai Havertz (RF) – 4/10 – So often devilishly adept at teasing space open with his floating movement but didn’t do anything of note on Wednesday evening.
Romelu Lukaku (ST) – 4/10 – Scuffed an early clear sight of goal from a clever set piece routine in the first half before wasting a rare shot inside Juve’s box after spinning Bonucci for once as the game neared its conclusion.
Hakim Ziyech (LF) – 4/10 – Haring around the pitch with great rapidity off the ball, but slowed Chelsea down when in possession.
Ben Chilwell (LWB) – 4/10 – Struggled to make even the slightest impact on the contest.
Callum Hudson-Odoi (RWB) – 6/10 – Injected a flutter of imbalance in Juve’s backline with his willingness to take on a man but couldn’t crack open the hosts.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (CM) – N/A
Trevoh Chalobah (CM) – N/A
Ross Barkley (CM) – N/A