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Di Matteo sweats on Oscar's fitness

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo is sweating on the fitness of Oscar after the Brazil midfielder's dazzling display in the 2-2 draw against Juventus was marred by a nasty injury.

sports Updated: Sep 20, 2012 09:35 IST
London,Roberto Di Matteo,hindustan times

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo is sweating on the fitness of Oscar after the Brazil midfielder's dazzling display in the 2-2 draw against Juventus was marred by a nasty injury.

Oscar marked his first Chelsea start with a first half brace, including a sublime solo effort, but the Champions League holders were forced to settle for a point from their Group E opener after blowing a two-goal lead at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

And to make matters worse, the 21-year-old's command performance came to a premature conclusion when he was forced off midway through the second half after being caught on the ankle by Arturo Vidal.

Di Matteo was furious with the challenge and he called on UEFA to review the incident after admitting he was uncertain if Oscar would recover in time for Saturday's Premier League clash against Stoke.

"It was a bad tackle and he had to come off unfortunately. We will have to assess him. He got a knock on his ankle," Di Matteo said.

"The referee didn't do much about many challenges. If UEFA have a look that's good but we have to move on from it."

Although Di Matteo was frustrated by a gutsy recovery from Juventus, who responded to Oscar's double by salvaging a point thanks to clinical strikes from Vidal and substitute Fabio Quagliarella, he took heart from the Brazilian's influential display.

Oscar's first goal, a well-struck effort that deflected in off Leonardo Bonucci, arrived in the 31st minute and his second just two minutes later raised the roof as he cleverly turned away from two defenders with a clever flick before curling home from 25 yards.

"It was a great first start for Oscar. We thought it was the right game to start him," Di Matteo said. "He did a perfect job tactically and scored two goals. The second one was a wonderful goal.

"He has been away with his national team as well and we need a bit of time to work with him, but it's great to see we have a player like that in our ranks.

"He is a big talent. He has a bit of everything. We shouldn't forget he is a young man, but he has already broken into the Brazil team, which is very difficult to do. We are lucky to have him."

Di Matteo was less impressed with his defenders however and admitted Chelsea had paid the price for some lacklustre marking and careless passing.

"We feel disappointed and a little bit deflated," he said. "We were in a great position to win the game but we only came away with a draw.

"We were playing a good team but we should have closed the game and got the win.

"There was no pressure on the ball (for Juventus's second goal). We lost possession just before and should have reacted much quicker than we did.

"It was difficult to play offside in that position. We gave the ball away a little bit cheaply at times."

While Di Matteo was left to rue Chelsea's careless play, Juventus assistant coach Massimo Carrera was delighted with the way the Turin club performed on their return to the Champions League after a three-year absence.

Trailing 2-0 at the home of the European champions, a less determined team could easily have collapsed, but Juventus showed impressive spirit to snatch a deserved point.

"We did well tonight. We were in terrific physical condition and that is how we turned the game around. At two goals down we didn't lose confidence and kept fighting," Carrera said.

"I know the quality we have on the bench with players like Quagliarella.

"We could have won it but we could have lost as well. We are just happy that we proved we can play European competition at this level."

First Published: Sep 20, 2012 09:28 IST