London: Victor Moses headed home the winner four minutes into injury time to earn Chelsea a 3-2 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Wednesday, allowing the holders to move level on points with the Ukrainian side in Group E. Outplayed for large periods, Chelsea twice surrendered the lead in a frenetic match at Stamford Bridge, with Willian scoring both of Shakhtar's goals in the ninth and 47th minutes to enhance his burgeoning reputation.
Fernando Torres had scored Chelsea's opener in the sixth and Oscar had reclaimed the lead for the hosts in the 40th with a stunning 45-yard shot, with goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov to blame for both goals after botching attempted clearances. Moses had the last laugh as Chelsea finished strongly, the substitute heading in Mata's cross with almost the last touch of the game. Shakhtar are only ahead on goal difference now, with Juventus a point behind.
Without Moses' late goal, Chelsea would have been in a dire position, third in the group and needing a good result at Juventus in two weeks to avoid becoming the first reigning champion to go out in the group stage. Now the situation looks a lot healthier. It was Shakhtar's first loss in 38 games — spanning 12 months — but the visitors will wonder how they didn't claim a win that would have seen them qualify with two matches left. This game was the Champions League at its best: silky skills, high-quality technique and a bucketful of chances, most of them coming from a Shakhtar side driven forward by Willian and the excellent Fernandinho, another dynamic Brazilian midfielder.
Chelsea, who have never failed to progress from the group stage but could still miss out given the tightness of the group, have been heavily linked with signing Willian over the past year and cannot fail to have been impressed with him here. Fernandinho was the architect of both goals, driving forward incisively for the first as he crossed for Willian to sidefoot home. For the second equalizer, Fernandinho showed his creative side, sliding a telling ball through for Darijo Srna to cross to Willian for another low finish from 10 yards.
Chelsea couldn't live with the visitors' pace, movement and range of passing, especially down its exposed left flank — but survived because of Pyatov's dreadful mistakes. Torres collected the Golden Boot from last summer's Euro 2012 before kickoff but he came into the game without a goal in a month and his old critics starting to get on his back. His mini-drought ended, though, when Yaroslav Rakitskiy's ill-advised backpass was fired by the sliding Pyatov straight at Torres, with the ball deflecting into an empty net.
Oscar's stunning goal also had its origins in a mistake by the Ukraine goalkeeper. Having burst out of box to head clear Juan Mata's crossfield pass, Pyatov should have headed away from danger but instead the ball went straight to Oscar, who showed perfect technique to chest down and drill the ball with the outside of his foot into an unguarded net.
Razvan Rat smashed a swerving volley against the post in the 54th as Shakhtar threatened to go ahead for the first time but it was actually the home side that finished the stronger, John Obi Mikel having a headed goal disallowed for offside and Ramires seeing a good penalty shout ignored by referee Carlos Velasco Carballo. Chelsea sensed victory and Moses, on for Oscar, leapt highest in a crowded penalty area to plant a firm header into the top corner, with Stamford Bridge erupting.