Didier Drogba's early goal gave Guus Hiddink a win in his first home game since taking over at the Chelsea FC helm as last season's runners-up saw off a concerted Juventus fightback.
It was a close-run thing at Stamford Bridge, with the Serie A giants pushing the hosts back in the second half as they sought to cancel out Drogba's slick 12th-minute strike. Yet they were unable to prevent a seventh successive away defeat in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds, while Chelsea extended their unbeaten home record in the competition to 16 matches, including 13 victories.
Claudio Ranieri was given a warm reception by the home supporters on his return to the ground where he spent four years as manager between 2000 and 2004. He knew it would be the only act of generosity shown to him and his team: Chelsea's determination to go one better than last term's run to the final has been reignited by Hiddink's arrival. The London side made a habit of scoring early at home in two-legged ties last season and that was clearly their intention again as Salomon Kalou forced Gianluigi Buffon into a stretching save. Michael Ballack then fired another chance high and wide, while Drogba came close with a flying header.
Chelsea had put down a marker, and when Frank Lampard's free-kick was inadequately dealt with Chelsea seized their opportunity, Kalou playing a clever pass through the heart of the defence where Drogba was lurking unmarked. One-touch control and an emphatic finish put the home team ahead. The Ivorian striker should have doubled the advantage soon after but nodded Lampard's corner well wide.
Juventus had shown little in an attacking sense, but before half-time they enjoyed a purple patch that so nearly yielded an equaliser. First Alessandro Del Piero turned in a stinging drive from Tiago's pass which Petr Čech had to claw away. From the resulting corner Amauri and Giorgio Chiellini both failed to profit from presentable openings.
Juventus continued to commit bodies forward after the restart despite the risk of conceding a second, and as Chelsea picked up the pace again Ballack and Drogba both sent efforts off target. Juventus substitute Marco Marchionni was working hard to try and bring Amauri into the game and the visitors lived in hope of the vital away goal. It might have arrived on the hour when Čech flapped at a high ball but the goalkeeper was just about able to retrieve the situation.
Juve were gaining momentum and Ranieri brought David Trezeguet into the fray with time ebbing away; with his first touch the forward sliced wide. It followed a rasping drive at the other end from Nicolas Anelka which Buffon was pleased to see pass the wrong side of his upright, and Čech was similarly grateful in added time when a low Pavel Nedvěd attempt was deflected centimetres wide with the keeper beaten. It is Chelsea, therefore, who will take the narrowest of advantages to Turin for the second leg on 10 March.