Chelsea’s hopes of a place in the Champions League last 16 were compromised when the holders fell to the first loss of their trophy defence in a 2-1 defeat at Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday, and this is the Premier League leaders’ first defeat of the season in all competitions.
Shakhtar now have moved to the top of Group E with seven points, three above Chelsea, which was thankful that rival Juventus was surprising held to a 1-1 draw at Danish minnow FC Nordsjaelland. Juve has drawn all three matches to remain unbeaten this season at home and in Europe.
After its stunning 3-1 win over Bayern Munich last time out, unheralded Belarusian side BATE Borisov came back down to earth with a 3-0 home loss to Valencia to cede its lead of Group F to the Spanish team on goal difference.
Bayern, last season’s beaten finalist, is also on six points in a tight group after Thomas Mueller’s first-half penalty clinched a 1-0 victory at Lille.
Also, Spartak Moscow beat Benfica 2-1 to get off the mark in Barcelona’s group and move a point behind Celtic in the battle for second. Cluj conceded a late equalizer to draw 1-1 at Galatarasary but is still second behind Man United in their group.
Manchester United also fell two goals down but staged a rousing fightback to win 3-2 at home to Braga and stay perfect after three group games.
Barcelona has the same record after needing a goal deep into stoppage time by Jordi Alba to beat Celtic 2-1.
Barcelona won its 100th Champions League match and set a new club record of 18 home matches in Europe without a loss, but the win over Celtic was much tighter than expected.
Celtic took the lead in the 18th-minute when Javier Mascherano deflected a free kick into his own net and the Scottish side defended stoutly before Andres Iniesta equalized in the 45th for Barcelona.
Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster made a string of brilliant saves but was beaten by Alba deep into injury time, the Spain left back glancing in a cross from Adriano.