Porto – Chelsea: Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell scored early and late as Chelsea claimed a 2-0 win over Porto in Seveille to take a comfortable-enough lead back to Stamford Bridge after 90 minutes of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal tie.
This one was almost exactly what Thomas Tuchel wanted from the tie, few chances for the hosts and plenty for the visitors plus timely saves from Eduoard Mendy.
Given the Blues’ defensive record under Tuchel, Tuesday’s second leg at “home” (still in Seville) feels a near-impossible ask from the round’s underdog story.
The winner of Porto and Chelsea meets either Liverpool or Real Madrid in the semifinal. Real beat Liverpool 3-1 in Spain on Tuesday.
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Three things we learned from Porto – Chelsea
1. Mount up: Chelsea took the lead with a beautiful bit of football, Mount spinning with his first touch of Jorginho’s entry pass into the 8 and slotting inside the far post from the right side of the 18. Chelsea is undoubtedly much improved under Thomas Tuchel who is not afraid to pick his best players even if they aren’t hot young English prospects, but credit to Frank Lampard for seeing the vast potential in Mount and letting the youngsters ride out the lean games and learn on the job. It’s paying off now. Mount wasn’t the star of the game, but the technique and nous on his opener was the right combination to cut through a very decent defense that is one of only three teams to keep Man City off the scoreboard over 90 minutes this season (Man United x2, Tottenham).
2. Pulisic Watch: Thomas Tuchel yanked Havertz shortly after the youngster failed to make it 2-0, and on came Christian Pulisic with 25 minutes left in Seville. The American smashed the crossbar from 18 yards in the 84th minute and that was his only (very minor) misstep in a 17-touch day that saw him hold his position as Chelsea held the lead. Pulisic completed 10-of-11 passes and drew a foul.
3. Second goal was coming and coming and coming…. and finally arrived from the left back, of course: Timo Werner nearly put a header past Agustin Marchesin late in the first half and soon collected a spilled shot from distance and set up Kai Havertz for what looked to be 2-0 only for Pepe to do just enough to stymy the Chelsea forward. Christian Pulisic then rattled the crossbar after coming on for Havertz. It was about a minute later than Chelsea got its second, and with Werner, Havertz, Mount, Pulisic, and Giroud all having played, it was Ben Chilwell who showed a striker’s magic in dancing around Marchesin for 2-0.
Man of the Match: Eduoard Mendy
The goalkeeper made five saves and was very good with the ball at his feet, completing 28-of-33 passes while contributing 48 touches. The best save came in the first half, when Moussa Marega would’ve felt 1-1 was inevitable. He got past Antonio Rudiger but his shot was not ideal and Mendy kicked the ball away.