Preamble: Having had their derrieres handed to them in a match that barely reflected Shakhtar's dominance in the Donbass Arena a fortnight ago, Chelsea are in need of a win tonight. With Juventus entertaining Group E minnows Nordsjaelland in Turin, dropped points could leave Chelsea in all sorts of bother; potentially two points off the pace in third place with just two matches, at home to the Danish champions and away to the Italians, to play.
"I think there are some comparisons to last season, when we had must-win games," said Roberto Di Matteo in his press conference yesterday. "Fortunately we have players that have experience and have been there before. I think we need to play a perfect game to be able to win against Shakhtar because they are a good side. But we are strong at home – we've shown that over many, many years and I think we'll be fired up for this game."
With his side having notched up their 18th win out of 19 matches played this season (their only 'blemish' was a 1-1 draw against Juventus in Turin), Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu is understandably upbeat ahead of tonight's game. "We have prepared well. We are in good form too. Our players are also thinking of this game as a very important match for us – for the three points, for remaining at this level. It's not every year you can play against teams like Juventus or Chelsea. I prepare my players knowing very well that absolutely all teams can be beaten – even Chelsea at home".
A bit about Shakhtar: Earlier this week, Jonathan Wilson wrote a nice piece on the exceptional season being enjoyed Chelsea's opponents, but suggested the ease with which they're cantering away with their domestic championship could cost them in the Champions League. I should probably add that if you like the cut of those 1,130 pearls of wisdom, you can buy a copy of Mr Wilson's latest book, The Outsider: A History of the Goalkeeper. And even if you didn't like them, buy a copy anyway, because he would rather you purchased a copy and didn't read it than borrowed one from somebody else and did.
Team news we've pulled from the wires: John Terry starts on the bench as Roberto Di Matteo gambles Chelsea's Champions League future on David Luiz and Gary Cahill. The Italian resists the urge to recall his captain after the defender completed his racism ban, but drafted in the fit-again Luiz and Juan Mata, with Ryan Bertrand replacing the injured Ashley Cole. Group E leaders Shakhtar name the same eleven which dominated Chelsea in the reverse fixture two weeks earlier.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): 1-Petr Cech, 2-Branislav Ivanovic, 4-David Luiz, 24-Gary Cahill, 34-Ryan Bertrand; 7-Ramires, 12-John Obi Mikel; 10-Juan Mata, 11-Oscar, 17-Eden Hazard; 9-Fernando Torres
Subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Moses, Marin, Sturridge, Terry, Azpilicueta.
Shakhtar Donetsk (4-2-3-1): 30-Andriy Pyatov; 33-Darijo Srna, 5-Olexandr Kucher, 44-Yaroslav Rakytskiy, 26-Razvan Rat; 7-Fernandinho, 3-Tomas Hubschman; 22-Henrik Mkhitaryan, 10-Willian, 29-Alex Teixeira, 9-Luiz Adriano
Subs: Kanibolotskiy, Stepanenko, Eduardo, Shevchuk, Douglas Costa, Chygrynskiy, Ilsinho.
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spain)
John Terry latest: The word coming out of Stamford Bridge is that Terry hasn't been picked because he's not match fit, having played so little in recent weeks on account of what that elderly farmer in Father Ted might describe as "the old racism".
Football Weekly goes big in Norway: Listeners to the Guardian football podcast might be as amused as I was by this spookily accurate imagining of what goes on in our studio by the good folk at Sleivdal.
On Sky Sports: Studio pundit Ray Wilkins says that he'd have picked John Terry, even if he was only half-fit, because he sees a lack of leadership in the Chelsea ranks.
Roberto di Matteo speaks: "We need everybody to be on top of their game tonight," he says of his decision to omit Terry from his starting XI. "The players who are playing are internationals so I'm not gambling. John Terry is an important player for us and will continue to be important for us. We need to have a good balance - when we're attacking, we need to be aware of Shaktar's threat and not let them counter-attack."
An email: "Just wondering what misdemeanour you've committed at Guardian Towers to be forced to front this MBM," writes Rob Hobson. "That sneering dislike of Chelsea's starting to border on the pathological. Run over someone's cat?"
That's an interesting one. As lovable an outfit as they are, my feelings for Chelsea are more ones of complete indifference than anything else and there isn't a hint of dislike, sneering or otherwise, to be seen anywhere in this report. I'm not sure who assigned tonight's minute-by-minute reports, but given the choice, this would have been my pick of the three. The recent match between these two sides (yes Rob, there are two sides playing) was a belter and hopefully we'll get more of the same tonight.
Not long now: Led by the officials, the teams march out on to the Stamford Bridge sward, with Chelsea's players kitted out in their usual home strip and Shakhtar's wearing black shirts with orange trim (I think; they're wearing tracksuit tops at the moment), black shorts and orange socks.
Shirt correction and clarification: Having seen them shed their tracksuit tops, I can reveal that Shakhtar's players are wearing orange shirts with black stripes, with fetching, skintight orange turtlenecks underneath.
1 min: Adriano and Henrikh Mkhitaryan get proceedings under way. The ball's moved forward and David Luiz immediately concedes a throw-in with a wayward pass. Moments later, a sloppy pass by Ryan Bertrand gifts Shakhtar the first corner of the game. A nervy start from Chelsea.
2 min: Nothing comes from the corner and Chelsea clear. The ball's returned and David Luiz concedes a free-kick about 40 yards from his own goal for a foul on Adriano.
3 min: Shakhtar centre-half Yaroslav Rakitskiy tries his luck with the free-kick. His left-footed drive from distance bounces twice in front of Petr Cech, but doesn't trouble the Chelsea goalkeeper.
4 min: Chelsea win a free-kick about 35 yards from the Shakhtar goal, dead centre. Shakhtar form a three-man defensive wall, David Luiz shoots right and wide of it. With the ball curling towards the left upright, Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov makes heavy weather of what should have been a straightforward save.
GOAL! Chelsea 1-0 Shaktar Donetsk (Torres 7) Chelsea get a lucky break, going ahead when Fernando Torres chases down a backpass from defender to goalkeeper. Pyatov's attempt to hoof the ball clear cannons off the striker's right boot from point-blank range and ends up in the net. Chelsea lead.
8 min: Torres picks up the ball just inside the Shakhtar half, rides a challenge and continues cantering down the inside right channel. With Ramires in a good position and screaming for the ball, he shoots tamely and allows Pyatov to save.
GOAL! Chelsea 1-1 Shakhtar (Willian 10) Fernandinho picks up the ball on the edge of the final third, gallops past Bertrand and Luiz and pulls the ball back across the face of goal. From just beside the penalty spot, 12 yards out, the unmarked Willian rifles the ball past Petr Cech and into the bottom right-hand corner.
11 min: And breathe! There could be a serious number of goals in this match, if the opening 10 minutes are anything to go by. It's breathless, open, end to end stuff with shambolic and occasionally slapstick defending on show from both sides. Bertrand and Luiz have started so poorly that Roberto Di Matteo's decision to leave John terry on the bench is looking increasingly ill-advised with each passing minute.
13 min: Darijo Srna wins a corner, doing well to keep a cross-field pass in play before slamming the ball out over the byline Bertrand. The Croatian sends the ball into the mixer, then again when it goes out off a Chelsea player. Momenhts later, Shakhtar win a third corner and almost score when Srna's poor delivery is headed perilously close to the near post by Bertrand and almost sneaks past Petr Cech, who looked all over the place. This is a terrific game of football.
15 min: Shakhtar look great going forward; really confident,. Willian strides through the centre with the ball at his feet before spraying the ball right and wide to Fernandinho. His cross to the left puts the heart crossways in several Chelsea defenders, before the ball is returned to him and he brings a good save out of Cech, who has to dive low to his right to keep the Brazilian's daisy-cutter out
17 min: In the inside left channel Torres wins himself a yard of space with a beautiful bit of skill, but ruins his hard work by shooting from a ridiculously tight angle when the smarter option would have been to square the ball across the face of goal.
19 min: Moments before his goal, Fernando Torres had another great chance to open his account for the evening, getting on the end of a splendid Oscar cross from deep, only to get his feet in a tangle and miss a great scoring opportunity. I'm only mentioning it now, because the early stages of this game have been so frenetic that I haven't had a chance to tell you about it before.
21 min: Chelsea win a corner. Shakhtar clear. Elsewhere in this group, Juventus are beating Nordsjaelland in Turin.
22 min: Boom! Shakhtar eschew their shorrt passing tiki taka shtik to try their luck with a long ball. It's pumped forward from deep, the excellent Adriano wins the header and knocks it down for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who shoots a couple of feet wide from the edge of the Chelsea penalty area.
24 min: Ivanovic crosses into the Shakhtar penalty area from the right and the ball drops kindly for Fernando Torres about eight yards from goal. He shapes to pull the trigger but is dispossessed by an excellent tackle by Oleksandr Kucher.
26 min: Chelsea try to advance deep into Shakhtar territory, with Ramires pulling the strings. They enjoy a spell of decent possession, but fail to dent the visitors' defence.
28 min: According to my colleague Paul Doyle, who's covering the Celtic match, somebody has told him that on Radio Five Live, Alan Green's commentary on proceedings from Celtic Park has stopped due to unforeseen circumstances and they're playing an old episode of Fighting Talk instead.
30 min: Ivanovic picks up the ball on the right touchline and sends a cross towards Fernando Torres from deep. It's a good delivery, but a mite too high for the Spanish striker, who is unable to get a decent header on the ball from three or four yards out.
32 min: Stunning play from Shakhtar, whose Brazilian division carve Chelsea open with some stunning pass-and-move play on the edge of the penalty area. The ball is eventually teed up for Alex Teixeira, who shoots low and diagonally towards the bottom left-hand corner, only to see his effort fizz inches the wrong side of the upright.
35 min: Ivanovic attacks down the right flank again, only to have a halt put to his gallop by Willian, who is back in defence putting in a shift. The ball breaks to Juan Mata, who tries and fails to pick out Torres with a cross in behind the Shakhtar defence. For anyone worried about Alan Green's well-being on Five Live, apparently his commentary has only been replaced with an old episode of Fighting Talk online and can be heard just fine on the radio.
37 min: It's difficult to know if Fernando Torres is playing well here tonight. He's scored an opportunistic goal, but it could be argued that it was a bit of a fluke. He's at the centre of everything, but many of Chelsea's best moves seem to break down once the ball comes his way.
39 min: Eden Hazard plays the ball from inside right to Mikel on the outside right. He sends in a cross that's way too high for Fernando Torres, who'd taken up position at the far post.
40 min: Adriano wins a corner, Shakhtar's fifth, off Eden Hazard. Darijo Srna sends in another beauty, but Chelsea clear.
GOAL! Chelsea 2-1 Shakhtar Donetsk (Oscar 41) Wow! That's a magnifcent goal by the Brazilian. Rushing out of his penalty area to play sweeper and head a through-ball clear, Shakhtar's goalkeeper was caught hopelessly out of position when his clearance fell to Oscar at the edge of the centre-circle just inside the Shakhtar half. Taking one touch to control the ball, he then executed a perfect volley to send the ball arcing back into the empty net from 50 or more yards.
43 min: This is sensational stuff - some cracking goals, wonderfully open attacking play and the home side leading, even if they haven't been the better team. They go on the attack again, with Andriy Pyatov doing well to tip the ball over the crossbar after getting on the end of a rising drive from Oscar.
45 min: Eden Hazard sends the ball into the crowded penalty area from the corner, but Shakhtar clear.
45+1 min: Adriano, Willian and Srna combine well outside the edge of the Chelsea penalty area in a bid to capitalise on some comically inept David Luiz defending, but their efforts come to nothing when Petr Cech clears up.
Half-time: That's it for an utterly absorbing first half. Chelsea go in a goal up, thanks largely to some kamikaze goalkeeping on the part of Andriy Pyatov. Far be it from me to steer business away from the Guardian website, but if you can get to a TV that's showing this match in the next 15 minutes, you're unlikely to be disappointed if the second half is even half as entertaining as the first.
Elsewhere in this group: Juventus lead Nordsjaelland 3-0. You can see the group table in-running here and check the rest of tonight's latest scores here. Spare a thought for poor old Lille, eh? After half an hour against Bayern Munich the poor sods are already 5-0 down.
An email from Robin Hazlehurst: "Shakhtar goalkeeper shows comic ineptness and lack of football intelligence for Chelsea's second goal," he writes. "Shakhtar goalkeeper's name is Pyatov. Pyatov translates from Russian into English as The Fiver. Fancy that."
Second half: Off we go for the second half, with Chelsea getting the ball, quite literally, rolling courtesy of Fernando Torres and Oscar. There are no changes on either side.
47 min: Shakhtar start the second half much as they played through the first, spreading the play wide, making the pitch big and attacking down the right flank. Chelsea force them backwards again, where Fernandinho and Hubschman regroup in the centre circle.
GOAL! Chelsea 2-2 Shakhtar Donetsk (Willian 47) Another splendid goal, started and finished by the Brazilian striker Willian. He began the play on the left of the Chelsea penalty area, played the ball to Fernandinho on the edge and continued his run to the centre. Fernandinho played the ball wide and right to Srna, who got in behind the static Chelsea defence and pulled the ball back to Willian. He sidefooted a first-time effort straight into the bottom right-hand corner.
49 min: "C'mon Chelsea! C'mon Chelsea! C'mon Chelsea!" shout a handful of home fans, having recovered from the shock of seeing their side concede such an early second-half goal.
50 min: Chelsea get caught out again, with David Luiz squandering possession of the ball inside his own penalty area and showing no real desire to win it back. His colleagues scramble the ball clear and it's hoofed in the general direction of Fernando Torres, but he's unable to win possession of it and Shakhtar resume control.
52 min: Chelsea win a corner, which Eden Hazard takes. Nothing comes of it.
53 min: Darijo Srna wins a corner off David Luiz, who deflects the Croat's attempted cross out over the byline.
54 min: A let-off for Chelsea as Razvan Rat shoots from outside the penalty area and smashes a fine effort off the foot of the post. Moments later, Shakhtar win a corner, from which Yaroslav Rayitskiy should have scored with a header. He fluffs his effort and the ball breaks for Hubschman, who shoots wide. It's all Shakhtar at the moment.
57 min: The referee reaches for his pocket for the first time tonight, then brandishes his yellow card at Alex Teixeira for a cynical hack on Eden Hazard. Free-kick for Chelsea, wide on the left.
58 min: Perhaps hopeful of earning himself a share of the huge amounts of national goodwill being shown to Bradley Wiggins, John terry is hunched over the handlebars of a stationary bike on the touchline, pedaling away while warming up time-trial style.
60 min: Eden Hazard took the free-kick that resulted from that Teixeira foul I mentioned earlier, but his low, flat, curling delivery somehow managed to evade everyone waiting in the penalty area and go straight out of play.
62 min: The past five minutes have been as quiet as this otherwise eventful game has been since it started. It's a long overdue but unwelcome lull.
63 min: Chelsea surge forward and into the Shakhtar half, courtesy of Ramires. Shakhtar win possession and embark on a swift counter-attack courtesy of Ramires, who is promptly upended by Mikel.
64 min: Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov is having a shocker this evening. The jittery stopper is almost caught out by another backpass but spares his own blushes before raising an arm by way of apology to his nervous team-mates.
66 min: Tomas Hubschman concedes a free-kick a couple of yards outside his own penalty area on the right hand side. Mata curls the ball towards the far post, where Mikel sends a bullet-header past Pyatov and into the back of the net. As the Chelsea midfielder wheels away in celebration, the linesman raises his flag and the goal is disallowed. Offside.
68 min: Yup, that was a fair cop. Replays show that Mikel made his run too early and was clearly offside as Mata struck the ball.
69 min: The ball breaks to Mata just inside the Shakhtar penalty area on the right-hand side. Rather than try a shot, he tries to dink the ball towards Torres at the far post, but his touch is uncharacteristically leaden-footed and he thumps the ball high and wide of the far post.
71 min: Shakhtar Donetsk centre-back Oleksandr Kucher goes down injured and requires treatment. The stretcher-bearers run on to the pitch carrying their orange conveyance, but aren't required. Kucher adjourns to the sideline under his own steam and awaits the referee's permission to return to the field of battle.
72 min: The upshot of all that faffing around Kucher is that Chelsea have a free-kick about 30 yards from the Shakhtar goal. Hazard tries his luck and Pyatov saves.
74 min: Through on goal in the penalty area, Ramires is brought down when Darijo Srna clips his trailing leg with a last-ditch tackle. The Brazilian goes to ground and the Stamford Bridge hordes appeal for a penalty. None is forthcoming.
76 min: Corner for Shakhtar. Willian sends the ball in from the left, but it goes across the penalty area and out for a Chelsea throw-in on the other side of the pitch. There's less than 15 minutes to go and this match is still very much up for grabs. Elsewhere in Group A, Juventus lead Nordsjaelland by four goals to nil.
78 min: Shakhtar substitution: Teixeira off, Ilsinho on. Another Brazilian, he's a right-sided midfielder.
79 min: Oscar goes down under an excellent challenge from Razvan Rat and appeals for a penalty. He doesn't get one, but Chelsea do win a corner. Mata sends the ball into the penalty area, Pyatov's one-handed punch is weak and the ball drops kindly for Mikel, who shoots a foot or two wide of the right post from the edge of the penalty area.
81 min: Chelsea substitution: Victor Moses on, Oscar off. Meanwhile in Glasgow, Celtic lead Barcelona 2-0!
83 min: Torres clips the heels of Oleksandr Kucher to concede a free to Shakhtar deep inside the Ukrainian side's half.
84 min: Chelsea attempt an attack through the middle. Mikel plays the ball forward to torres, who tries a dinky little back-heel into the path of Juan Mata. It's a good idea, but Rakitskiy reads his intentions and clears.
85 min: Corner for Chelsea. Mata sends the ball into the area, Cahill wins the header and directs the ball towards the far post. With Ivanovic present having stolen in behind the Shakhtar defence, Willian is forced to hack clear.
86 min: Shakhtar attack down the right again, with Bertrand horribly exposed. Some elaborate and intricate passing interplay ensues before they run out of space and eventually Arsenal the ball over the byline for a Chelsea goal-kick.
88 min: A rare rogue pass from Willian puts an end to a promising Shakhtar counter-attack when they had an extra man going forward. Chelsea are under intense pressure on the edge of their own penalty area.
89 min: David Luiz gets a yellow card for an idiotic challenge on Adriano. Chelsea substitution: Daniel Sturridge on, Fernando Torres off.
90 min: More kamikaze defending by a hopelessly out-of-position David Luiz results in Shakhtar having three shots in quick succession on the Chelsea goal. Srna, Adriano and Willian all have efforts blocked, by Ryan Bertrand and Ivanovic, twice. They really should have scored there.
90+2 min: Willian gifts possession to Chelsea inside their own half and they embark on a counter-attack before winning a free-kick and then a corner.
GOAL! Chelsea 3-2 Shakhtar Donetsk (Moses 90+4) Sensational stuff! Juan Mata sends the corner in from the right, Moses gets between two defenders, leaps and directs an excellent header into the top right-hand corner.
Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeep! What a finish to a splendid game of football! No sooner do Shakhtar take the kick-off than the referee blows his whistle to signal full-time and Chelsea's players celebrate their last-gasp winner. That's the first defeat Shakhtar have suffered in 19 matches this season, having won 17 and drawn one before tonight. Elsewhewre in the group, Juventus have thumped Nordsjaelland 4-0.
As things stand in Group A, Shakhtar lead with seven points, Chelsea are in second, also on seven points. Juventus are in third place on six points, while Nordsjaelland are fourth with one point. In the result of the night, however, Celtic have recorded the most unlikely of victories against Barcelona, seeing off the Catalan side 2-1.