Federico Chiesa scored the only goal in Juventus’ 1-0 Champions League triumph over Chelsea, which might kick-start their season.
After a string of underwhelming games in Serie A, Juve topped Group H with a perfect six points thanks to a beautifully struck winner from Chiesa, one of Italy’s Euro 2020 stars, seconds after half-time.
Despite missing starting attackers Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata, Massimiliano Allegri’s team defeated the European champions with a disciplined effort that squeezed the life out of the Blues and limited them to little in front of goal.
Chelsea held the ball for the majority of the first half, but it was the hosts who created the first real chances of the game, both of which came as a result of clumsy midfield passes.
After sprinting away on a break with practically the whole Chelsea team still upfield in the 16th minute, Adrien Rabiot chose to play a pass to Federico Bernardeschi that was completely mishit and rolled to Edouard Mendy, drawing boos from the home crowd.
Chiesa had a chance to show the Blues a clean pair of heels after grabbing the ball four minutes later, but his low attempt from a tight angle drifted just wide.
Juve’s strategy of sitting deep and preventing Chelsea from establishing a passing rhythm worked, but they lacked a focal point at the start and let a Chelsea team that lacked the dynamism of N’Golo Kante and Mason Mount off the hook far too often.
Chiesa, who had a shaky start to the season but confidently met Bernardeschi’s through ball to lash home the opening at the near post, gave them the goal they deserved just after the break.
Chelsea retaliated by forcing Juve back into their box, but they were unable to break past the hosts’ well-drilled defense once more.
Bernardeschi fell over his own feet in the 64th minute with the goal at his mercy, and Juve wondered how he didn’t extend their lead.
And they were exhaling a sigh of relief with six minutes left when Romelu Lukaku hammered wide after being set up wonderfully by Mateo Kovacic after a protracted stretch of Chelsea possession.
The home audience erupted in laughter at the misfortunes of Lukaku, a former striker for their fiercest rivals Inter Milan, and then sent out another cheer when Kai Havertz headed over the bar at the final whistle.