LONDON (Reuters) - He hardly looks old enough to be playing in one of Chelsea’s youth teams but midfielder Oscar announced himself as a man to watch with two goals on his full debut in the Champions League against Juventus on Wednesday.
The Brazilian, who joined the European champions in a 25 million pounds ($40.56 million) move from Internacional in the summer, provided the golden moment of the 2-2 draw with a stunning goal two minutes after opening the scoring.
Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Junior, to give him his full name, looks far younger than his 21 years but was one of the outstanding players at the under-20 World Cup last year and played superbly for Brazil at the London Olympics.
If any doubts still remained about whether he was a boy doing a man’s job, they were banished on Wednesday.
If his first goal in the 31st minute had a touch of luck with the ball deflecting off Leonardo Bonucci before flying past Gianluigi Buffon, there was nothing fortunate about the second.
Taking a short pass from Ashley Cole, he wheeled away from Bonucci and Andrea Pirlo with a shimmy and curled the ball with his right foot high and wide of Buffon into the net.
The goal put the European champions into what looked like an unassailable position and the fact that Juventus fought back for a point took little away from Oscar’s contribution, even if not all of his passes and moves came off.
He was forced to leave the game early after a crunching tackle from Bonucci left him with a very sore ankle and coach Roberto di Matteo was unsure whether he would be fit to face Stoke City on Saturday.
Before Wednesday, Oscar had made two substitute appearances in the Premier League and also came on for the second half of the European Super Cup final against Atletico Madrid last month.
”It was right to play him today,“ Di Matteo said. ”The pace of the game is different to the Premier League and he did well, not just with his brilliant goal but tactically too.
“But he did very well and we are delighted to have him here.”
Juventus’s assistant coach Massimo Carrera was also impressed with Oscar’s contribution.
“The second goal was a masterclass of scoring, it was outstanding,” he said.
Oscar himself, looking even younger standing in the mixed zone, said: “I don’t score goals like that all the time.”
The fact that he can score them some of the time, though, is encouraging for both Chelsea and Brazil.
Oscar has already broken into the senior squad and is heading for the World Cup in 2014 as one of the key players in a young team that millions back home hope will win the trophy in Rio.
Playing for Chelsea in both the Premier League and Champions League between now and then can only improve his game, and if he can score goals like Wednesday’s now, who knows what he will be capable of in two year’s time.
($1 = 0.6164 British pounds)
Editing by Nick Mulvenney