Porto 0-2 Chelsea
Chelsea are back on the winning track after taking a commanding first leg quarterfinal away win against Porto in the Champions League.
It was a night of firsts for Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell as they each scored their first-ever Champions League goals to put the Blues on the driver’s seat.
Porto had multiple chances to draw even in this game. However, they were denied by the Blues’ resolute defence and they also controlled much of the possession all evening.
The hosts were ready to pounce on the Blues misfortunes similar to what they’ve done to Juventus earlier, but instead they were left to rue on their missed opportunities.
The victory provided relief for Thomas Tuchel as his boys endured a testing few days lately especially after suffering an uncharacteristic beatdown from relegation-threatened West Brom during their last Premier League game.
With both legs of this tie held in Sevilla due to COVID-19 travel restrictions between Portugal and England, the two goals were considered away for Chelsea and they now have full control of their destiny with their dramatically increased Champions League 2021 odds.
Here at SBOTOP, we examine what happened by recapping last night’s set of Champions League 2021 highlights.
Highlights of the game
Last night was the perfect response by Chelsea after a worrying week.
Prior to this game, the Blues were downtrodden after being embarrassed by the Baggies and then there was more trouble when Kepa Arrizabalaga and Antonio Rudiger had an altercation during practice.
Thomas Tuchel didn’t elaborate on what really happened, but instead he lauded the two defenders for their courage to hash things out right away.
Perhaps their scuffle was a simple case of two competitors going at it and that triggered Tuchel to make changes in the starting lineup – including starting Rudiger at the central defence.
Porto were without their two highest scorers in Sergio Oliveira and Mehdi Taremi through suspension, but they were the more aggressive team from the get-go.
Mateus Uribe had the first chance of the night for the Dragons when he tried to power a shot during the 12th minute after a failed clearance. However, his attempt went over the crossbar.
Porto almost got their first goal of the match during the 23rd minute when Pepe’s header put the ball back into the six-yard box after Edouard Mendy parried away Otavio’s direct corner, but Zaidu Sanusi’s shot was too strong from close range.
In the 32nd minute, Chelsea found their breakthrough via Mason Mount’s exquisite goal after a beautiful turn from Jorginho’s pass before finishing into the far corner.
Just before the break, Porto had a couple more chances through corner kicks but Edouard Mendy was there to block away Pepe and Marko Grujic’s headers.
During the 56th minute, Porto had the ball in the Chelsea net, but Pepe’s effort was waved off by the VAR since Chancel Mbemba was caught offside, moments before Luis Diaz rifled a shot a bit wide from the post.
Timo Werner almost stretched their lead during the hour mark when he caught a rebound from Antonio Rudiger’s long-range attempt, but he missed his rushed shot.
The Blues eventually iced the game during the 85th minute when Ben Chilwell dribbled past multiple Porto defenders for their second goal of the night.
After winning over Atletico Madrid last February, Chelsea have now won consecutive away knockout games in the Champions League for the first time since April 2004 under Claudio Ranieri.
Mason Mount continues to flourish under Thomas Tuchel after his performance yesterday as the speedy winger finally scored his first-ever Champions League goal along with Ben Chilwell.
The two became the first English players to have scored for Chelsea in the same Champions League match since John Terry and Frank Lampard back in 2012 versus Napoli.
Chelsea are level with Manchester City for the fewest conceded goals (2) and clean sheets (7) in this season’s Champions League.
Edouard Mendy has been the heart and soul of the Blues’ backline as no other goalkeeper playing for a top five European side has kept more clean sheets than him (10) especially since Thomas Tuchel arrived last January.
Porto defender Pepe (38 years, 40 days) became the oldest outfield player to appear in a Champions League quarterfinal since Ryan Giggs (40 years, 123 days) back in April 2014.
Chelsea continue their Champions League qualification chase when they visit Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park this Saturday.
Porto, on the other hand, will fly to Estadio Joao Cardoso to take on the ninth-seeded Tondela in the Primeira Liga this weekend.
The second leg of their quarterfinals tie will be held next Tuesday night at the same arena.
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