Football

Resolute Chelsea stifle Porto to secure first CL semi since 2014

Chelsea produced a thoroughly professional performance to book their place in the Champions League semi-finals despite losing 1-0 on the night to a stunning strike.

With a handy two-goal lead from the first leg, the onus was on Chelsea to keep their composure and complete the job in Sevilla.

The in-form Mason Mount almost handed the Blues an early boost, but the midfielder’s deflected shot looped narrowly wide.

Porto perhaps needed a slice of fortune to aid their efforts, and almost received one after an Edouard Mendy error.

A stray pass attempting to play out from the back surrendered possession to Jesus Corona, but the Mexican’s shot arrowed wide after a timely Jorginho deflection.

Kai Havertz’s influence on the contest was gradually growing. The makeshift centre-forward twice took up dangerous positions drifting out to the right but on both occasions his deliveries were repelled by Porto defenders.

A comfortable opening half hour for Thomas Tuchel’s men showed few signs of becoming difficult. On the rare occasion Porto did threaten, their finishing left a lot to be desired.

A major factor in extinguishing Porto’s brief flurries of fire was N’Golo Kante. The midfield general put in a typically all-action performance in the first-half, frustrating the Portuguese outfit at every turn.

Kante was nearly the architect of a goal that would put the tie beyond reach soon after the interval when playing Mount through down the left.

The Englishman took a touch too long to get his shot off, however, allowing a Porto defender to slide in and block.

Sérgio Conceição threw caution to the wind with the introduction of striker Mehdi Taremi for midfielder Marko Grujic.

The impact was almost immediate, but the Iranian couldn’t produce the power required to beat Mendy with a mid-range header.

A lack of ambition still plagued Porto as the match wore on. Though in truth, you never got the impression Chelsea’s well-drilled backline would be troubled if their opponents found a spark.

Olivier Giroud was handed a run out in the final stages as Tuchel wound the clock down.

Porto huffed and puffed and finally produced a moment of magic with 60 seconds remaining.

Terami’s acrobatic bicycle kick somehow found the top corner, but it was too little too late as Chelsea progressed 2-1 on aggregate.

 

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