Victor Moses headed a stunning winner for Chelsea FC at the end of a pulsating encounter which left the holders with a share of the Group E lead after inflicting a first defeat of the season on FC Shakhtar Donetsk.
It was an incredible late twist to a night that showcased the brilliance of Willian, who twice drew Shakhtar level – the second after an outstanding strike from Oscar – with his first UEFA Champions League goals of the campaign. Chelsea had taken an early lead through Fernando Torres but seemed certain to have to settle for another 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge until Moses's decisive intervention.
It was equally explosive from the first whistle, two goals arriving inside the first nine minutes. With so much individual skill on view it was somewhat out of keeping that the opener should arrive so fortuitously. Andriy Pyatov's hurried clearance from a panicked back pass was charged down by Torres and ricocheted into the empty net.
The visitors from Ukraine did not crumble though, and, in the absence of the injured Ashley Cole, Chelsea's left flank started to creak. Fernandinho surged into the area and cut back for Willian to sweep past Petr Čech. There was no time for either team to catch their breath, Tomáš Hübschman going close from a tight angle before Torres struck the side netting.
Shakhtar's ability to keep possession under pressure was a lustrous addition to a dazzling night. There was no better example than a stupendous move featuring Fernandinho and Luiz Adriano which led to Alex Teixeira firing just the wrong side of the upright. So close to a 2-1 advantage, Mircea Lucescu's men then found themselves trailing.
Pyatov came out of his box to head away Juan Mata's intended pass to Branislav Ivanović and looked stranded the moment the ball landed with Oscar. The Brazilian international still had plenty to do, controlling superbly on his chest before dispatching a soaring volley over Pyatov and into the net from 40 metres.
That lead lasted only two minutes into the second half. Willian was initially involved on the left, and then popped up in the middle to side-foot past Čech after Fernandindo's cutting through ball, Darijo Srna's fine cross and Alex's cute dummy. Chelsea, held 2-2 by Juventus in west London on matchday one, appeared destined for more of the same.
However, Răzvan Raţ struck a post as both teams stayed in the hunt for a winner which finally came with the last touch of the game – Moses nodding powerfully in from Mata's corner.