In the Semi-Final’s after 7 years!!!
Chelsea took on FC Porto for the 2nd leg of the Champions League Quarter-Finals in Seville on Tuesday and left Spain with a position in the Semi-Finals. Chelsea had a 0-2 aggregate lead going into the game and the pressure was on Porto to come at Chelsea. Tuchel stuck with a defensively solid lineup as Mendy started in goal, Azpilicueta, Silva, and Rudiger started in the back 3. Reece James, and Chilwell started as the wing backs while Jorginho and Kante started in midfield. Pulisic, Mount, and Havertz continued up front. Kovacic was a late omission as he suffered a slight hamstring problem in training so Kante came in. Porto selected a lineup as expected but Taremi was on the bench while Oliveira started the game.
Porto started the game dominating play as Chelsea were pinned in their own half. There were counter’s from Chelsea that were arguably more dangerous than any chances Porto created with possession. There wasn’t really anything that stood out over the two halves, at least offensively. Chelsea grew into the game in the 1st half as the game flattened out. Chelsea had a better 2nd half as Porto had no real chance on target. There were a couple of half chances in the 2nd half but Pepe, and Porto also defended well. Porto got the goal that won the leg in the 92nd minute as Taremi came off the bench to score a brilliant bicycle kick. It did hit the shin though so there was an element of luck as well. It was too little too late as Chelsea coasted into the Semi-Finals.
Chelsea Team Review
No clean sheet for Mendy perhaps unluckily. The defence and Mendy were solid throughout although there were some poor passes from the goalkeeper in the 1st half. The only real saves he had to make was when Taremi came on late in the game. No clean sheet but a fairly easy game for him as he continues to be solid at the back.
It was a complete defensive performance from the whole team and the defence were a rock at the back. Azpi, Silva, and Rudiger showed their experience as they provided Porto no real chance. Reece James, and Chilwell didn’t have that many chances to go forward but defensively they handled the Porto wingers well. Otavio especially felt frustrated while Corona also didn’t really have any joy. For Chilwell, and James it’s their first experience of this stage in the competition and they did well. A performance that deserved the clean sheet.
Jorginho, and Kante were amazing in this game. Jorginho in particular was at his metronomic and defensive best. The Italian made tackles, passed positively and created chances as well. Jorginho receives a lot of flack for his pace but he seems to be working on being at the right place at the right time. A top class performance. Kante played the whole game and didn’t look like he was suffering from an injury. He sprinted from one end to the other and did all the dirty work as usual. Mount didn’t have much creatively but again did the pressing and dirty work needed to nullify FC Porto.
Offensively our forwards had very little to do. We did have chances though Mount, Pulisic, and Havertz had shots on goal but Pepe made the challenge most of the times. The pressing was on point though and it was good to see the fight from the very top. Pulisic in particular stood out and was probably man of the match alongside Jorginho. Pulisic drew 11 fouls from Porto the most since Messi against Real Madrid. The American was battered but he continued to get up, he was literally a Hazard and Captain America mix. A top notch performance. Ziyech and Giroud came on late in the game and helped out in the final minutes. Ziyech could have got an assist but Pulisic’s chance was smothered by Porto’s goalkeeper.
Tuchel get’s Chelsea to their first semi-final since 2014. It was a tactically astute performance that deserved a draw and not that miracle goal in the end. Tuchel will be happy to see the fight that this relatively young team showed and will know that at this stage anyone has a chance to win. A solid selection and a solid result.
So Chelsea head into the Champions League semi-finals where we will face either Real Madrid or Liverpool. I personally want Real Madrid because it does give off that feel of a Champions League game, rather than playing Liverpool which we already see twice a year anyway. Next up is Manchester City in the FA Cup Semi-Final, COME ON CHELSEA!!!