Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Chelsea, 2012 UEFA Champions League: Final score 2-1, Fernandinho the hero

Michael Steele

Chelsea didn't have an answer for the athleticism of Shakhtar Donetsk, as the Ukrainian Champions maintained their perfect home record with a victory.

Chelsea fought back to push Shakhtar Donetsk late, but the home side were able to hold on to a well-deserved 2-1 victory. The Ukranian champions were excellent throughout the match, and Chelsea struggled to deal with their pure athleticism.

Alex Texeira put Shakhtar ahead after just three minutes in fairly fortunate circumstances. The goal was set up by Willian, although not intentionally. He took a shot that was blocked by John Terry, but the ball ricochet across the box to Texeira. He placed an impressive finish into the back of the net at the far post to put his team up.

In the 18th minute, Frank Lampard had to exit the game due to an injury and was replaced by Eden Hazard. While Chelsea appeared to be aided by Hazard's presence, Roberto Di Matteo was probably counting on getting him some rest in anticipation of this weekend's match against Manchester United, as well as having Lampard in his 18-man squad.

Shakhtar nearly doubled their lead on a couple of occasions before the end of the half, but Petr Cech came up big to keep his team's deficit to just one goal. He made a big save on a powerful long shot by Henrik Mkhitaryan in the 37th minute, then followed that up with a 40th minute stop on Olexandr Kucher.

Juan Mata had a big chance to pull Chelsea level in the 49th minute after Hazard set him up with a cross, but he blazed his shot over the bar. Chelsea would be made to pay for that two minutes later when Fernandinho both started and finished off the move that led to the eventual winner. Fernandinho dispossessed Hazard in midfield to start the counter, then finished a lay-off from Luiz Adriano from close range to put his team ahead 2-0.

Hazard nearly atoned for his error just a minute later, but Andriy Pyatov stepped up to make a huge save. Chelsea wouldn't have too many more good chances as Shakhtar took control of the match, but they did give themselves a chance of snatching a draw late. In the 88th minute, Oscar turned in a cross by Branislav Ivanovic to give the Blues a chance to steal a point, but they never came close to an equalizer.

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