Chelsea booked their spot in the Champions League semi finals despite suffering a last-gasp 1-0 defeat to FC Porto in Seville.
Thomas Tuchel’s side never truly looked in trouble in a ‘home’ leg of little incident until substitute Mehdi Taremi struck a stunning overhead kick with seconds left. However, it proved to be in vain for the visitors as the Blues eased through 2-1 on aggregate.
The Portuguese outfit tried to set a fast tempo from the off but struggled to break down Chelsea in a first period where neither side had a shot on target.
The pattern continued after the interval and it wasn’t until the 65th minute that Edouard Mendy was forced to make a save when he easily kept out Taremi’s header.
The Blues had the better of the half chances through Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic and only had a few anxious seconds to navigate after Taremi’s wonderful goal that came out of the blue.
Chelsea, who will meet either Liverpool or Real Madrid in the last four, will now shift focus to the FA Cup semi final with Man City on Saturday.
Job done for Chelsea. FC Porto huffed and puffed but never looked like blowing Tuchel’s house down. The Blues may have lost for just the second time in 18 matches under the German, but given how mean they have been defensively during that time, it was hard to see Sergio Conceicao’s men completing a stunning turnaround.
The former PSG coach deserves real credit for the impact he has had since arriving at the Bridge and his team are very much impressive dark horses to win the competition now.
It was a rather routine outing for Chelsea in the end and Tuchel will be content that his squad will have conserved plenty of energy ahead of a much sterner test in the FA Cup semi final with Manchester City at the weekend.
He can put his feet up on Wednesday night and hope that his old club, Borussia Dortmund can give City a real fright prior to their mouthwatering Wembley clash on Saturday.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Jorginho (Chelsea) Made a big impact with and without the ball in a contest where intelligent game management was key. The midfielder won countless challenges and was typically industrious and reliable when in possession.
CHELSEA: Mendy 7, Azpilicueta 7, Thiago Silva 7, Rudiger 7, James 7, Jorginho 8, Kante 8, Chilwell 7, Mount 7, Havertz 6, Pulisic 8. Subs: Ziyech n/a, Giroud n/a.
FC PORTO: Marchesin 7, Pepe 7, Uribe 6, Marega 7, Zaidu 6, Grujic 6, Corona 7, Manafa 7, Mbemba 7, Otavio 6, Sergio Oliveira 6. Subs: Taremi 8, Nanu 5, Evanilson 5, Diaz 5, Vieira n/a.
54’ – CHELSEA CHANCE! Chelsea should be ahead. The Blues open Porto up on the counter. Mount feeds the overlapping Chilwell but Pulisic can’t quite connect with the full back’s cross from the byline.
58’ – CHELSEA CHANCE! Manafa makes a vital block to deny Mount after Kante had set the England man scampering into the left side of the area.
65’ – FC PORTO CHANCE! Mendy is finally forced to make save as he gets down to his left to keep out Taremi’s header from a looping cross.
90+4’ – GOAL! – Chelsea 0-1 FC Porto – (Chelsea lead 2-1 on aggregate). Porto grab a late, late lifeline. Taremi connects with a sensational overhead kick that flashes into the top corner.
Chelsea v Porto is only the second match in this season’s UEFA Champions League to see neither side muster a shot on target in the first half, after Dynamo Kyiv v Ferencvaros in December.
Taremi’s strike (93:01) was the latest Chelsea have conceded in a Champions League game (excluding extra-time) since April 2005 against Bayern Munich, when Mehmet Scholl scored after 94:55.