Chelsea survived a spectacular late overhead kick from Mehdi Taremi to overcome Porto and confirm a place in the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in seven years.
Thomas Tuchel’s side went into this ‘home’ last-eight second leg – with both games being played in Seville during the current Covid-19 pandemic – protecting a two-goal lead they only briefly threatened to surrender in the dying seconds following Taremi’s brilliant finish.
Chelsea, who will now face either Liverpool or Real Madrid in the semi-final, played within themselves but it was enough to keep a disappointing Porto at bay, the Portuguese side rarely testing keeper Edouard Mendy with their surprisingly cautious approach, which they only cast aside when it was too late.
Mendy’s poor clearance almost offered Jesus Corona a first-half chance but he could not take advantage, while Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount had opportunities after the break.
Taremi’s goal was out of character with the rest of Porto’s performance and came too late to alter the inevitable course of this quarter-final.
Best action and reaction from Chelsea v Porto in the Champions LeagueCool Kante pulls the stringsChelsea manager Tuchel suggested he might have preferred to keep N’Golo Kante on the bench after a recent hamstring problem, until an injury to fellow midfielder Mateo Kovacic forced his hand.
And he was rewarded with yet another masterclass from the France international, who showed supreme positional sense, tireless work-rate and that uncanny ability to spot any rare danger before prompting attacks of his own.
Kante has been an outstanding figure since Tuchel succeeded Frank Lampard and it is no surprise the German has come to count on him so readily, this understated but world-class performer completing the full 90 minutes despite doubts over his match fitness.
Chelsea adopted an understandably conservative approach, taking no chances and refusing to offer Porto any route back into this tie. Porto were largely lacklustre and rarely showed any of the sparkle that saw them shock Italian giants Juventus in the previous round.
They may not have offered any serious threat of their own, although Mount was denied by superb defending from Porto defender Wilson Manafa.
In reality, however, there was no need whatsoever for Chelsea to take unnecessary risks that may have allowed Porto back in. This was about game management and, despite that last-ditch scare, for Chelsea it was a job very well done.
Kante was back in the Chelsea starting line-up after making two substitute appearances against Porto and Crystal Palace following a hamstring injuryCan Chelsea win the Champions League?Chelsea’s hopes of claiming the crown for a second time will certainly be rising after this mature performance, even in eventual defeat, to add to the impressive elimination of the powerful La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid in the last 16.
Tuchel has Chelsea organised, fiercely disciplined and increasing in confidence – a mood that will only grow as they prepare to face either Liverpool or Real Madrid. Yes, this was a loss but the overall tie will be regarded as a highly satisfactory outcome.
The Champions League can often be about timing the run of form and there is no doubt Chelsea have built up impressive momentum under Tuchel aside from the 5-2 thrashing at home to relegation-threatened West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge recently.
Chelsea will show the requisite respect to whoever they face in the semi-final but they will not fear either Liverpool or Real Madrid, depending on who prevails at Anfield on Wednesday.
Tuchel has bolstered their defence and while this was a performance built on those solid foundations and with Kante and Jorginho as the anchors, Chelsea have already shown they have attacking weapons when required.
Chelsea will not shout about their Champions League aspirations – but there is no reason why they should not fancy their chances, even though the record will show this ‘home’ second leg as a defeat.
Only three shots on targetChelsea have reached the Champions League semi-finals for the eighth time, more than any other English side in the competition’s history.Porto have exited in the Champions League knockout stages on 14 occasions, with 50% of those eliminations coming at the hands of English sides. Porto have been knocked out by an English team on each of the last three occasions they’ve reached the knockout rounds (Liverpool in 2017-18 and 2018-19).There were just three shots on target in this match (1 for Chelsea, 2 for Porto), with two of these coming in added time (Christian Pulisic for Chelsea and Mehdi Taremi’s late winner).This was just Porto’s second ‘away’ victory in the Champions League knockout stages (D6 L13), after their win at Deportivo in the 2003-04 semi-final.This was Porto’s first ever ‘away’ win against an English side in European competition, with the Portuguese side having failed to win any of their first 21 such games (D3 L18).Mehdi Taremi’s 93rd-minute strike was the latest Chelsea have conceded in a Champions League game (excluding extra-time) since April 2005 against Bayern Munich, when Mehmet Scholl scored in the 95th minute.Jorginho made eight tackles in this match, the most by a Chelsea player in a Champions League game since N’Golo Kanté against Barcelona in March 2018 (also 8).Player of the match
with an average of 6.97
ChelseaSquad number19Player nameMount
Squad number7Player nameKanté
Squad number10Player namePulisic
Squad number21Player nameChilwell
Squad number24Player nameJames
Squad number28Player nameAzpilicueta
Squad number2Player nameRüdiger
Squad number6Player nameThiago Silva
Squad number29Player nameHavertz
Squad number5Player nameJorginho
Squad number16Player nameMendy
Squad number18Player nameGiroud
Squad number22Player nameZiyech
FC PortoSquad number9Player nameTaremi
Squad number3Player namePepe
Squad number16Player nameGrujic
Squad number11Player nameMarega
Squad number17Player nameJM Corona
Squad number25Player nameOtávio
Squad number19Player nameMbemba
Squad number27Player nameSérgio Oliveira
Squad number50Player nameFábio Vieira
Squad number8Player nameUribe
Squad number12Player nameSanusi
Squad number1Player nameMarchesín
Squad number18Player nameWilson Manafá
Squad number7Player nameDíaz
Squad number31Player nameNanu
Squad number30Player nameEvanilson
16Mendy28Azpilicueta6Thiago Silva2Rüdiger24James7Kanté5Jorginho21Chilwell10Pulisic19MountSubstituted forZiyechat 86’minutes29HavertzSubstituted forGiroudat 90+2’minutesSubstitutes1Arrizabalaga3Alonso4Christensen9Abraham11Werner13Caballero15Zouma18Giroud20Hudson-Odoi22Ziyech33EmersonFC PortoFormation 4-3-3
1Marchesín18Manafá JancóSubstituted forChipela Gomesat 75’minutes19Mbemba3PepeBooked at 82mins12Sanusi27OliveiraBooked at 46minsSubstituted forVieiraat 84’minutes16GrujicSubstituted forTaremiat 63’minutesBooked at 90mins8Uribe17JM CoronaBooked at 74minsSubstituted forDíazat 75’minutesBooked at 88mins11MaregaSubstituted forde Lima Barbosaat 75’minutes25OtávioSubstitutes4Monteiro Pinto Leite6Loum7Díaz9Taremi14Morais Ramos21Silva Baró29Martínez30de Lima Barbosa31Chipela Gomes32Sarr50Vieira85ConceiçãoLive TextMatch ends, Chelsea 0, FC Porto 1.
Second Half ends, Chelsea 0, FC Porto 1.
Mehdi Taremi (FC Porto) is shown the yellow card.
(Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Chelsea 0, FC Porto 1. Mehdi Taremi (FC Porto) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Nanu with a cross.
Attempt saved. Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Hakim Ziyech with a through ball.
Substitution, Chelsea. Olivier Giroud replaces Kai Havertz.
Mateus Uribe (FC Porto) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea).
Foul by Mateus Uribe (FC Porto).
Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Chelsea. Jorginho tries a through ball, but Hakim Ziyech is caught offside.
Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Fábio Vieira.
Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Nanu.
Luis Díaz (FC Porto) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Luis Díaz (FC Porto).
Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Chelsea. Hakim Ziyech replaces Mason Mount.
Foul by Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto).
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