Chelsea 18/1 to Defend Title

  • Last Updated: October 24 2012, 8:43 BST

Chelsea are out to 18/1 to successfully defend their Champions League title after a 2-1 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday night.

Disappointment for Chelsea in Donetsk

Roberto Di Matteo's men are now second in Group E, three points behind the Ukrainians and only a point ahead of third-placed Juventus.

Chelsea were second-best at the Donbass Arena and are now 1/3 from 1/7 with William Hill to qualify from the group.

Elsewhere, Javier Hernandez scored twice as Manchester United came from 2-0 down to beat Braga 3-2 and all but secure their progression to the last 16. United remain general 10/1 chances for the title having drifted to 11/4 in the match market after what is fast becoming their customary sluggish start.

Celtic came within seconds of a sensational 1-1 draw against Barcelona at the Nou Camp before Jordi Alba's 94th-minute strike broke the Hoops' hearts.

The Scottish champions took a shock first-half lead through Georgios Samaras and looked set to hold out for a draw despite Andres Iniesta's leveller on the stroke of half-time.

Barcelona were matched at a high of 13 on Betfair before their late winner, but McBookie.com have still trimmed Celtic from 2/1 to 11/8 to qualify from the group after Spartak Moscow's win over Benfica earlier in the day.

McBookie's Paul Petrie said: "This defeat will hurt Celtic massively but, when they sit down and look at the table, they will see they are now in pole position to grab the second qualifying spot."

Hill's disagree. They have Celtic at 7/4 to progress, with Spartak offered at 11/10.

Barcelona remain favourites for the competition despite an unconvincing display, although Paddy Power have pushed them out to a standout 5/2 from 9/4 and trimmed Real Madrid, who play on Wednesday night, to 10/3 from 7/2.

The comeback efforts of Manchester United and Barcelona hit the bookies hard.

Stan James' Rory Jiwani said: "Manchester United and Barcelona falling behind created a perfect scenario for in-play punters with plenty backing both in singles and doubles. We laid plenty of bets on Barcelona to win before kick-off at 1/12 in singles and multiples as well so Jordi Alba's winner probably cost us in the region of £300,000.

"United were available at 9/4 at 2-0 down and the biggest price we were about Barcelona was also 9/4 with time running out. There was some respite with Chelsea beaten as we were top price about the holders at Shakhtar Donetsk, but we'll be drowning our sorrows along with Celtic's fans tonight."

Hill's Joe Crilly said: "An hour into tonight's football, we were popping open the European lager to toast what was looking like being a good evening for us.

"How foolish we feel now as the goals from Hernandez and Jordi Alba resulted in a massive swing in favour of the punters and had us putting our 'Heinies' back on ice."