FC Porto vs Chelsea 7/4/21 – Full Match Report

Chelsea responds to West Brom defeat with a classic European performance – putting the Blues in an excellent position for Tuesday’s second leg.


Pre-game:

After a challenging few days, the pressure was mounted on Chelsea to bounce back in their Champions League showdown on Wednesday night, as they took on Portuguese champions FC Porto in Spain.


Following a 14-game unbeaten streak, Thomas Tuchel tasted his first ever defeat as Chelsea manager on Saturday afternoon as the Blues were stunned in a 5-2 defeat at home to West Brom Albion. All eyes were then on the German and his Chelsea side, who seemed to portray cracks following the reports of arguments §amongst a host of senior players over the past 72 hours.


The ‘home side’ arrived at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán stadium winning four of their last five games – currently sat second place in the Primeira Liga. The 2004 Champions League winners travelled across the border to Spain without the injured duo of Mouhamed Mbaye and Iván Marcano, as well as Sérgio Oliveira and Mehdi Taremi who were absent due to suspension.


Chelsea was however boosted by the return of N’Golo Kanté, Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham – who all returned to full fitness and were named on a stacked, star-studded bench. Tuchel was however forced to leave out Billy Gilmour, who didn’t make the 23-man squad and consequently didn’t feature.


Out of their previous nine meetings, Chelsea had seen victory on six occasions.


First half:

As expected, the opening 10 or so minutes to the game were cagey. Both teams were careful and cautious, essentially feeling each other out ahead of an important two-legged tie.


The first real opportunity of the game came on the 11th minute, as Mateus Uribe came close for Porto.


The Colombian picked up the ball on the edge of the area, before volleying the ball towards goal in empathic style. Blues goalkeeper Édouard Mendy looked beaten, with the midfielder narrowly missing out on a stunning opener.


In fact, it was the Portuguese club that started brighter as they pressed Chelsea, making them look uncomfortable each and every time they were on the ball. On the 23rd minute, Otávio looked to catch Mendy out with an in-swinging corner kick – forcing the Senegalese international to make a remarkable instinct save.


Despite the early threat posed by Conceição’s side – it was Chelsea who found the opener on the 32nd minute through none other than Mason Mount.


The England international found the back of the net with Chelsea’s first attempt on target. The midfielder was picked out by Jorginho on the edge of the penalty area, before cleverly turning into space and dispatching past Augustín Marchesín. Despite both games of the clash being played on neutral soil, Mount’s goal will count as a crucial away goal for the Blues.

The Chelsea goal however only inspired Porto’s determination, as they put the Tuchel’s side under pressure towards the end of the first half. Mendy was called in action to keep Chelsea’s lead alive, as the Blues marched into half time with an impressive 1-0 lead in Seviile.


Second half:

Despite holding a 1-0 lead, Chelsea had an immediate chance to double the deficit just a minute into the second half. A sublime cross into the Porto penalty area was met by Timo Werner, but the German failed to hit the target and find the Blue’s second.


Just 5 minutes later, Tuchel’s side were almost made to pay as Porto came close to an equaliser.


After a hopeful ball was played forward, Moussa Maréga used his pace and strength to power his way past Antonio Rüdiger, who was switched off as he chased his way back. The Porto striker then saw his attempt from a tight angle saved by Mendy, who mde a relatively simple stop.


Just minutes later, Chelsea looked under pressure as Luis Díaz looked to cancel out Mason Mount’s earlier goal. The Colombian winger was causing the Blues problems, before later firing an effort from the edge of the penalty area which fractionally missed out on the far bottom corner.


The attacks didn’t end there for the Portuguese champions, as Maréga tested Mendy before later claiming for a penalty following a push from Blues skipper César Azpilicueta inside the penalty area. Referee Slavko Vinčič saw nothing in the challenge, with the VAR team also deciding not to get involved.


Despite the Porto pressure, Chelsea defended excellently and held on to their precious lead. In fact, Tuchel’s side did even better than just holding on as they went on to double the deficit on the 85th minute.


The goal came from a Porto defensive error. Ben Chilwell punished Porto as he picked up the ball in a dangerous position and rounded Marchesín to seal a stunning 2-0 victory on a warm Spanish evening.

After the whistle:

It goes without saying that Porto played well against Tuchel’s Chelsea, and arguably deserved a goal for their efforts. The Portuguese side looked dangerous at times as they chased an important goal in the first half of the tie, yet lacked the quality to beat a determined Chelsea defence that were out to prove a point in the South of Spain.


Next up for Sergio Conceição’s side is a trip to Tondela on Saturday evening.


On the other hand, it may not have been the dominant, textbook performance that Chelsea fans were craving – but ultimately the Blues got the job done and will looking forward to next week’s fixture.


In addition to an impressive victory, Chelsea were also able to grab two very important away goals, which puts the London club in a great position to reach their first Champions League semi-final since 2014.


Next up for Chelsea is a trip to Selhurst Park on Saturday evening, before returning to Spain next Tuesday to complete the second leg of their quarter-finals tie.


Final score:

FC Porto 0-2 Chelsea.

- Mount (32’).

- Chilwell (85’).


Line-ups:

FC Porto (4-5-1): Marchesín; Manafá (83’), Mbemba, Pepe, Sanusi; Corona, Otávio (83’), Uribe, Grujić, Díaz; Maréga (83’).

- Subs: Vieira (83’), Martinez (83’), Conceição (83’).


Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Mendy; Azpilicueta ©, Christensen, Rüdiger; James (80’), Jorginho, Kovačić (90+2’), Chilwell; Mount (80’), Werner (65’); Havertz (65’).

- Subs: Pulisic (65’), Giroud (65’), Silva (80’), Kanté (80’), Emerson (90+2’).


Referee:

Slavko Vinčič.

Possession:

FC Porto (40%) vs Chelsea (60%).


Shots:

FC Porto (12) vs Chelsea (6).

Shots on target:

FC Porto (5) vs Chelsea (3).

Corners:

FC Porto (9) vs Chelsea (4).

Fouls:

FC Porto (12) vs Chelsea (17).

- (credit | Football Critic).


Match highlights:

- (credit | BT Sport).

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Written by Ryan Bellenie (@BellenieSport).


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