Chelsea survived, overcome Porto and confirm a place in the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in seven years

By Xorkpe Sosu 5 Min Read

Chelsea survived a spectacular late overhead kick from Mehdi Taremi to overcome Porto and confirm a place in the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in seven years.

Thomas Tuchel’s side went into this ‘home’ last-eight second leg – with both games being played in Seville during the current Covid-19 pandemic – protecting a two-goal lead they only briefly threatened to surrender in the dying seconds following Taremi’s brilliant finish.

Chelsea, who will now face either Liverpool or Real Madrid in the semi-final, played within themselves but it was enough to keep a disappointing Porto at bay, the Portuguese side rarely testing keeper Edouard Mendy with their surprisingly cautious approach, which they only cast aside when it was too late.

Mendy’s poor clearance almost offered Corona a first-half chance but he could not take advantage, while Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount had opportunities after the break.

Taremi’s goal was out of character with the rest of Porto’s performance and came too late to alter the inevitable course of this quarter-final.

This was technically a home game for Chelsea, but the ‘hosts’ looked more like the away side in the first half, holding firm while attempting to break up Porto’s play.

Porto, who had kept five clean sheets in their six group games, desperately needed another here to stay in with a chance, and although the break was on for Chelsea, neither side registered a shot on target in the first 45 minutes.

Porto were incredibly energetic, harrying Chelsea high up the pitch from the first minute, but their only half chance came when Mendy’s poor kick out found Jesus Manuel Corona, whose shot was blocked by the alert Jorginho. Chelsea’s job was half done at half-time.

The Portuguese side, who knocked out Juventus in the last 16 in dramatic fashion, burst out of the traps in the second half again, but Chelsea had a fine chance to extend their aggregate lead on the break as an unmarked Christian Pulisic failed to get proper connection on Ben Chilwell’s cut-back from 10 yards out.

Pulisic was brilliant for a side looking to slow the game down and take the sting out of Porto, winning 11 fouls, more than every other Chelsea player combined.

The first effort on target did not come until the 66th minute through Porto sub Taremi, but his weak header, unmarked from 12 yards out, was well held by Mendy down to his left.

Porto only began to throw the kitchen sink at Chelsea in the final moments, and they were given a glimmer of hope through Taremi’s quite magnificent overhead kick from 12 yards, flying into top corner past a rooted Mendy from Nanu’s cross.

But the scare only lasted 60 seconds as Chelsea saw out the final stages, with Thomas Tuchel competing in the Champions League last four for the second straight season after being defeated in last year’s final with PSG.

Operation Istanbul remains on course for Chelsea, who were business-like for the majority of the game in Seville, with outstanding performances from Antonio Rudiger, N’Golo Kante and Pulisic in particular.

It was not a good game. But Chelsea will not care. Mehdi Taremi gave them a late scare, leaping high to score with a shinned right-foot bicycle kick into the top corner from 12 yards after connecting with a Nanu cross from the right.

It was the one moment of high quality in a fairly dreary contest in which Porto were thoroughly underwhelming. It’s job done for Chelsea, who will face Real Madrid or Liverpool in the last four.

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