Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel admitted he and his team-mates “switched off” to allow Juventus to claim a point in a breathless 2-2 Champions League draw at Stamford Bridge.
Oscar looked set to enjoy a dream European debut with a stunning first-half double but the Italian champions ruthlessly exposed the holders’ defensive deficiencies to snatch a draw at Stamford Bridge.
Arturo Vidal pulled a goal back before the break and, after Eden Hazard was denied what appeared a penalty, Fabio Quagliarella came off the bench to equalise and was a lick of paint from completing a sensational turnaround.
That would have been cruel on Chelsea but – as in their UEFA Super Cup thrashing by Atletico Madrid – they left themselves exposed enough to make such an outcome possible.“We started the game well and scored two goals and had the game under control,” said Mikel.
“They scored one goal and then in the second half we tried to start the same way as we had in the first. It was a cheap goal to give away, the second one for them. I think we switched off, we should have dealt with it properly.”
Darren Fletcher returned from his career-threatening bowel condition as Manchester United scrambled to an unconvincing Champions League win over Galatasaray at Old Trafford.
It was the Scot’s first appearance since November 22, although he had been battling against the problem for eight months before that.
At one stage, Sir Alex Ferguson admitted he feared whether Fletcher would ever resume his career. Fletcher’s arrival for Paul Scholes 11 minutes from time brought a deserved standing ovation, and was one of the few high points of a difficult evening for the hosts, who collected the victory but little else of note.
Michael Carrick’s first Champions League goal in three years after just seven minutes proved enough, with United missing yet another penalty, their third of the season, through Nani.
Galatasaray were desperately unlucky, failing to get a clear penalty before United struck, hitting the woodwork twice before being denied by David de Gea’s excellent double save and then having another spot-kick claim waved away in stoppage time.
United’s European debutants Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa were involved in Carrick’s early opener.
Initially, Van Persie threaded a pass through to the midfielder. It was Kagawa who got the main credit though, slipping a return pass beyond the visitors’ defence. Carrick stepped inside goalkeeper Fernando Musiera and even though the goalkeeper tripped him, the England man was able to steer the ball in.
Celtic drew a blank against Benfica in their Group G opener at Parkhead.
It was a spirited and determined performance from the Scottish champions but over the course of 90 hard-fought minutes they failed to really trouble the visitors’ goal.
Indeed, in terms of chances created, the Portuguese side edged it, with Hoops keeper Fraser Forster forced into a good blocking save from Rodrigo in the first half and another at his near post from Ezequiel Garay after the break.