x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Champions League: Chelsea deserved lucky win against Shakhtar Donetsk, insists Di Matteo

The manager said his side deserved their victory after a battling 3-2 victory was wrapped up by a last-minute header from Victor Moses.

Chelsea's Victor Moses scores in the last minutes of their Champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk
Chelsea's Victor Moses scores in the last minutes of their Champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk

Roberto Di Matteo admitted Chelsea had enjoyed a slice of luck as a late goal from substitute Victor Moses gave the Champions League holders a dramatic 3-2 win over Shakhtar Donetsk at Stamford Bridge to keep them on course for the knockout stages.

The reigning European champions were in real danger of seeing their hopes of safe qualification from Group E disappear as one-time transfer target Willian struck in each half to cancel out goals from Fernando Torres and Oscar.

However late substitute Moses connected with a Juan Mata's corner deep in stoppage time to snatch victory and put Chelsea level on points at the top of Group E ahead of their final two games - away to Juventus and at home to whipping boys Nordsjaelland.

"In terms of the timing of the winning goal, you probably could agree that there was an element of luck. It was basically the last kick of the game," said Di Matteo, who had elected to leave captain John Terry on the bench.

"At the end, when you get a win and you've played against a good team, we deserved to win.

"We did a lot of good things, put them under pressure particularly in the first half, and that's how we scored the two goals: by applying pressure on them. I think we deserved to win, ultimately.

"It was always going to be a difficult game. They are a very good side and have a lot of good individual players, and play as a team very well.

"They have shown that in all the games they have played. It made it difficult to go ahead twice and not hold on. We need to work on these things to see out games."

Di Matteo admitted tonight's win puts a whole new complexion on the remaining matches for all sides in the group, with Juventus only a point behind.

"This is not going to make things easier, but it is going to give us a good chance to qualify because I think, like this, the last game will be crucial between Shakhtar and Juventus when they play each other," said the Italian.

"We need some points from our last two games, and to win the last game for sure."

As well as resting Terry, Chelsea were also without Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard because of injury.

"There was a lot of Champions League experience that wasn't on the pitch and under normal circumstances you would like them there," said Di Matteo.

"Given the tremendous pressure we were under for parts of this game, the players who played deserved huge praise for weathering that. We managed to win the game under a lot of pressure."

Mircea Lucescu, the Shakhtar coach, admitted the defeat was difficult to take, especially after dominating for such long periods.

"It is painful," he said afterwards.

"Our goalkeeper made some incredible mistakes, and we made a big mistake with the third goal, because we knew it would be difficult with the Chelsea players, because they are tall and very powerful so we should not give them chances to head at corners.

"The referee also made a mistake, because he said there was three minutes and not three minutes 30 seconds. There should not have been a corner, it would have been finished.

"But I am confident because I have seen my team play a very good match. We still have two games left to play and have the same number of points as Chelsea."

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