Chelsea faced Shakhtar Donetsk at Stamford Bridge in the fourth fixture of their campaign to retain the Champions League title having lost the reverse fixture in the Ukraine 2-1. The Blues had been outplayed from the beginning at the Donbass Arena and were three points adrift of group leaders Shakhtar at the halfway point, with Juventus only one point behind. A win was vital to keeping their future in this year's competition in their hands.
John Terry was left out of the starting 11 following his four-match FA ban, and after one minute of the game had been played, the defensive frailties that have haunted Chelsea during the skipper's absence looked to be continuing. Sloppy play from Ryan Bertrand gifted Shakhtar a corner, before David Luiz committed a needless foul on Adriano, conceding a free kick. It seemed a sign of things to come as, again, the Blues started on the back foot.
They got a break a few minutes later, however, as Fernando Torres was in the right place at the right time to capitalise on a defensive error, giving the hosts the lead.
It didn't last long, though, as two minutes later Shakhtar were level thanks to a goal from the totally unmarked, rumoured Chelsea transfer target Willian.
The first half continued along these lines, with a cracking game of end-to-end, skillful football unmarred by refereeing interference.
Both teams had plenty of positive possession, but it was Shakhtar who seemed to have more penetrative power. That might have been due to the fact that the Ukrainian side looked far more cohesive than the Blues, attacking and defending as a unit. The only Shakhtar player who looked out of sorts was the goalkeeper, and it was another mistake from him that allowed Oscar the chance to score another Champions League wonder-goal and gave the home side the lead going into half-time.
Two minutes into the second half, Willian was again left unmarked and the tie was level at 2-2.
After an hour, John Obi Mikel had the ball in the back of the net for Chelsea, but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside. This seemed to spur the Blues on, and Roberto Di Matteo's decision to replace Oscar with Victor Moses on 80 minutes was vindicated when the winger rose highest to head in Juan Mata's corner in the very last minute of an enthralling game.
Some Chelsea players were excellent throughout the match, but there were a few who had subpar-to-poor performances. Here are my Chelsea player ratings after this vital win.