Porto v Chelsea: Champions League quarter-final – live! - The Guardian

1 week ago 35

70 min: Sanusi has gone down after a challenge from Azpilicueta, which looked a bit late and naughty on replay. There is no further action aside from a free-kick to Porto, which is fired into the box, and James does well to clear with his head. Now Marega is tackled in the penalty area by the Chelsea captain - it’s a push in the back - but again the referee is not interested! Azpilicueta is sailing extremely close to the wind here, and why didn’t the VAR check that? Sérgio Conceição will want answers when he sees the replay.

Updated at 9.29pm BST

69 min: The Porto forward Marega continues to make a nuisance of himself, trying to run to a ball looped over the top on the left. Rüdiger, however, is alert to the danger and hoicks it clear. Porto come again, from the throw-in, and Marega turns well and hits a low shot which Mendy saves comfortably enough.

Updated at 9.26pm BST

67 min: Mount’s first-half goal via BT Sport Twitter:

Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball)

Mason Mount with a brilliant maiden #UCL goal 💥

The pass, the swivel, the finish! 🔥

Superb stuff from Chelsea! pic.twitter.com/gM45SDlczG

April 7, 2021

Updated at 9.24pm BST

65 min: It’s Bayern 2-2 PSG now. We are definitely watching the right game, though.

Updated at 9.23pm BST

62 min: Giroud and Pulisic are coming on for Chelsea. Mbemba is booked for a foul on Chilwell in the meantime and Chelsea have a free-kick that they can send into the penalty area. James whips the cross in with pace, Azpilicueta is there to meet it at the near post, but he butchers the header and it flies well wide. That should have been 2-0. Werner comes off for Christian Pulisic, Olivier “Underrated” Giroud on for Havertz.

Updated at 9.21pm BST

59 min: Whoah! Rüdiger belts a shot from 30 yards which Marchesín saves. The goalie spills it in front of him, and Werner does very well to pounce on the loose ball and pass the ball across the gaping goal. Havertz is there, being put under pressure by a marker, but he gets a shot away towards the open goal ... and it rolls just wide! After all that, it seems Werner was offside anyway.

Updated at 9.21pm BST

56 min: Porto are pressing. They win a corner, but Pepe is penalised for a foul on Mendy after comprehensively winning the header, which Mendy was trying to punch. Seconds later, Díaz buys a yard of space on the edge of the box and cracks a lovely curling shot fractionally wide of the post with Mendy beaten! “Mendy would have had it covered,” says Robbie Savage after a replay, but he’s surely mistaken.

Updated at 9.15pm BST

55 min: “I’ve noticed on corners Azpilicueta has been tasked with marking Pepe, which feels like a slight mismatch,” writes Alex. “It’s a bit like asking your granny to carry the heavy bag of groceries and your 5-year-old to park the car. Anyways, in Tuchel we trust!”

52 min: Now Díaz wants a penalty after some strong defending by the Chelsea captain Azpilicueta. Díaz goes down in a heap after they go shoulder-to-shoulder, but the ref isn’t convinced, and it’s no penalty.

50 min: Marega bursts down the right, catching Rüdiger out of position. He muscles past the defender and is then at a tight angle, with Mendy rushing out of his goal. Marega tries to slide the ball low beyond Mendy and into the now empty net, but Mendy does well again and makes the save. Moments before that, Havertz pulled off a crafty handball from a high ball, and Mbemba wanted a booking, but the ref wasn’t interested.

Moussa Marega rues his miss.
Moussa Marega rues his miss. Photograph: Cristina Quicler/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 9.19pm BST

48 min: Rüdiger drills a superb diagonal pass out to James who is hugging the touchline on the right. James controls it instantly and sprints infield, looking to drive into the box, but is penalised for a foul on his marker. Tuchel shakes his head on the sidelines, presumably at the referee’s decision, rather than perceived incompetence by one or more of his players.

Updated at 9.06pm BST

47 min: A fine Chelsea counter sees the getting plenty of bodies into the Porto box. Mount clips a good cross from the right. Werner climbs to meet it at the far post, and sends it over the bar. Was the cross slightly too high or did he mistime his jump? Jury is out.

Second half kick-off!

We’re under way again. No changes for either side.

Updated at 9.02pm BST

Richard Hirst emails: “Porto 33% possession and eight shots, Chelsea 67% possession and one shot! Lies, damned lies and statistics.”

Indeed, Richard. Especially as uefa.com reckons it’s in fact 43% possession for Porto to 57% per cent for Chelsea. Good stats either way.

Updated at 9.01pm BST

Half-time! Porto 0-1 Chelsea

Mason Mount’s first Champions League goal, which was a moment of magic from the England international on 32 minutes, separates the sides. Porto have been very good, and will be frustrated to be behind due to that one flash of inspiration from Mount and Jorginho, whose pass created the chance. Chelsea are ahead, sure, but anyone who was labouring under the misapprehension that Porto was an ‘easy’ draw for Tuchel’s side will be reconsidering.

Updated at 8.49pm BST

45 min: Another corner for Porto. Grujic heads it down, Mendy saves. Half-time.

40 min: Into the last five minutes of the half, with Porto pressing forward in attack. Otávio goes down under a clumsy challenge from Havertz. A set-piece for Porto in a useful advanced position. They pump it into the box, the ball drops to Corona who hits a low, powerful volley from the edge of the area, which is goalbound, that Azpilicueta blocks for a corner by sticking out his left boot. From the resulting corner, a thunderous header by Pepe is flying into the net - but is beaten out by Mendy! From the next corner, it’s a comfortable gather for Mendy from another header, and the danger is clear for Chelsea just for the moment.

Updated at 8.51pm BST

32 min: That’s a very, very good goal by Mount and rather unexpected given the shape of the game so far. Jorginho gets on the ball ‘in the hole’, moves forward and plays an angled right-footed pass to Mount, who takes it quite beautifully, using one touch to control the ball with his left foot, swivelling in one smooth movement, and looking up with a clear sight of goal, albeit from an angle. He hits a low shot back across the goal which arrows into the far bottom corner, swerving away from the goalkeeper Marchesín. Their first shot on target, and first goal for Chelsea. With the impressive way Porto were defending, that seemed to arrive from nowhere.

Mason Mount is hugged by his captain Cesar Azpilicueta.
Mason Mount is hugged by his captain Cesar Azpilicueta. Photograph: Chelsea Football Club

Updated at 8.46pm BST

Goal! 32 min: Porto 0-1 Chelsea (Mount)

There it is!

Mason Mount fires the Blues ahead in Seville.
Mason Mount fires the Blues ahead in Seville. Photograph: Denis Doyle - UEFA/UEFA/Getty Images

Updated at 8.42pm BST

30 min: Chelsea have a little bit of front-foot possession, but Porto are defending incredibly solidly and there is no way through. As the ball is moved around the pitch by Chelsea, the Porto backline (which has become a back six for now) moves in perfect unison, adjusting their position accordingly to cut off the angles.

27 min: Reece James tries to catch Porto out with a clever left-footed pass from out on halfway, looking to curl it around the corner into the right channel for Werner. But Werner, as it turns out, is just offside. But that, perhaps concerningly for Chelsea, is the closest they’ve come to opening up this defence, aside from that one early cross from Havertz.

24 min: Porto nearly score straight from a corner! First up they fashion a good opening which leads to the set-piece. Otávio swings it in, and seems to deliberately try and catch out Mendy with a curler aimed under the crossbar. To his credit, the Chelsea goalie is alive to the danger, and pushes the ball away. It’s nodded back into the danger area and Sanusi volleys over! Too close for comfort, for Chelsea.

Updated at 8.26pm BST

23 min: Lee Madden emails: “This Chelsea front three lacks an out and out striker. Mount is a great link up player and Werner is very quick but hardly a natural finisher from what we’ve seen this season. That leaves Havertz who is talented but not delivered for Chelsea yet.... surely Giroud would’ve been the right person to start with? He’s delivered in the Champions League this season, links play well and provides a more direct alternative to Havertz.”

20 min: Porto, in defence, have a flat back five, which becomes a back three when they push up the pitch. They look exceptionally well drilled, almost like they are channelling the spirit of Mourinho’s old Porto side that won the Big Cup back in 03/04. That’s not to say that they are posing no threat in attack, either. They have been the better side so far and Tuchel will be concerned with this.

Pepe leaps for a header.
Pepe leaps for a header. Photograph: Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Updated at 8.29pm BST

16 min: Chelsea grasp a chance to break out from defence. Mount crosses deep for the onrushing James, on the right, but the Porto gloveman Marchesín does well to come off his line and catch the cross before it can reach the Chelsea wing-back.

Updated at 8.18pm BST

14 min: Some excellent crisp passing by Porto around the Chelsea penalty area ends with a chance for Sanusi to cross from the left. He gets it all wrong, and scuffs it out harmlessly for a goal kick, but there was some seriously slick passing in that move by tonight’s ‘home’ side. They weaved their way through the Chelsea back line. There is a close-up shot of Christensen, one of the three Chelsea centre-backs, looking a bit stressed by all the defending they are having to do.

Updated at 8.19pm BST

10 min: Corona finds a yard of space on the Porto left now, and chips a reasonable cross into the danger zone. Mendy, however, is able to claim it comfortably. But Porto then come again on the right - the ball is cut back for Díaz, whose shot is blocked. Then a brilliant volley by Uribe flashes just over the crossbar and kisses the top of the net on its way over! That would have been a spectacular goal, and it was only inches away. Warning signs for Chelsea ...

Updated at 8.13pm BST

8 min: Porto win a free-kick in a promising area on the right wing. But instead of sticking it into the mixer, they somewhat bizarrely choosed to play the dead ball back towards the halfway line, and Chelsea are grateful to be able to push out from their own penalty area. Is that an early indication of the kind of ambition Porto are going to show for getting a result tonight?

Updated at 8.10pm BST

5 min: The early tempo is high, Chelsea are enjoying more of the ball, and zipping it around pretty well. Mount makes progress on the right now, from a pass by Azpilicueta. He is crowded out but he wins a corner. PSG have taken the lead against Bayern.

Updated at 8.07pm BST

2 min: Porto immediately looking to press Chelsea when their opponents have possession. The Chelsea goalkeeper Mendy is half a second away from being charged down by Marega, but clears in time. Havertz then makes a dart on the left, and crosses along the six-yard box, but no one is there to meet his delivery.

Updated at 8.03pm BST

First-half kick-off!

Here we go. Porto playing in blue and white, Chelsea playing in red (pink?) with blue trim.

Updated at 8.01pm BST

The teams are out on the pitch. I’m genuinely intrigued to see what we get tonight. It could be a stultifying, risk-free encounter in which both teams look to next week’s second leg at the same venue. Or will they come out swinging, aiming to achieve a decisive advantage in the ‘first half’ of the tie? We’ll see. Time for the anthem. The Chaaaaaammmmppppions!

Updated at 7.59pm BST

On BT Sport, Gary Lineker is talking about Timo Werner’s struggles since he joined Chelsea: “I never minded missing chances, I only worried when I wasn’t getting chances, then you question your movement ... you miss some, you score some, and it’s important not to let the ones that you miss affect you ... that’s your mental strength, and ultimately ... if you haven’t got that, you’re going to struggle.”

Kick-off is literally less than 20 minutes away.

Tuchel talks to BT Sport: “It’s not a blow at all that Kanté will not start, we have him on the bench, and I’m delighted about that ... tonight is about running, about attacking the box, it’s about being fluid in our attacks, that’s the target for our front three guys ... It’s difficult to create chances against Porto ... and it’s a big task. It’s a team effort to attack, and a team effort to defend ... we went for this lineup with full confidence and full trust.”

Updated at 7.47pm BST

Good to see the Chelsea faithful getting firmly behind Tuchel over on Twitter.

Sir Frank Lampard's Chelsea (@ChelsMHL_)

Regardless of whatever Thomas Tuchel is doing, we need to mention Frank secured us against the odds Champions league football last season. Without Frank this campaign would never have been possible. Thank you Frank Lampard. FOREVER LEGEND! LET'S WIN IT FOR HIM 💙👌 pic.twitter.com/0Rn6hePGMq

April 7, 2021

Harrison Boase kicks off the evening’s emailing in fine style:

“Interesting fact about the weekend result with West Brom. The last time Chelsea conceded five goals at home was in the 2011/12 season. The last time West Brom scored five away from home was the 2011/12 season. Manchester City won the league that year. I think it was Gary Neville who famously said “it’s written in the stars” as Drogba stepped up to the spot to secure our first CL title, maybe he should check his crystal ball?”

Team news

Porto team: Marchesín, Manafá, Mbemba, Pepe, Sanusi, Corona, Grujic, Uribe, Otávio, Marega, Díaz. Subs: Diogo Leite, N’Diaye, Cláudio Ramos, Baró, João Mário, Felipe Anderson, Martínez, Evanilson, Nanu, Sarr, Vieira, Francisco Conceição.

FC Porto (@FCPorto)

⚽𝕆 ℕ𝕆𝕊𝕊𝕆 𝟙𝟙 𝕀ℕ𝕀ℂ𝕀𝔸𝕃⚽#FCPorto #FCPCFC #UCL pic.twitter.com/L45J1UVWB3

April 7, 2021

Chelsea team: Mendy, Azpilicueta (capt.), Christensen, Rüdiger, James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Chilwell, Mount, Havertz, Werner. Subs: Arrizabalaga, Alonso, Thiago Silva, Kanté, Abraham, Pulisic, Caballero, Zouma, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, Ziyech, Emerson Palmieri.

Referee: Slavko Vincic (Slovenia)

Five changes for Chelsea from the West Brom defeat. Rüdiger and Christensen partner up in central defence and a front three of Havertz, Werner and Mount. It will be interesting to see the extent to which the likes of Chilwell, James and Azpilicueta get forward from defence. Certainly plenty of options on the bench for Tuchel, should he require them.

Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC)

Chelsea team news is in! 🤝#PORCHE pic.twitter.com/lIdSQjCSSv

April 7, 2021

Updated at 7.59pm BST

Tonight’s BT Sport studio dream team: Lineker, Ferdinand, Cole and Hoddle.

“Last night was good. We had goals. That’s all you can ask for these days ... you want goals, excitement,” observes Ferdinand, looking ahead to tonight.

“After that result at the weekend, there are a few little doubts,” chips in Cole of that hammering by West Brom. “It’s the first time we’ve seen any frailties in Tuchel’s Chelsea team. It’s a big night for the club.”

Hoddle: “I expect Chelsea to come out all guns blazing ... the players will be hurt from the weekend ... they showed so much complacency ... tonight, Tuchel’s thinking: ‘I’m going to get a response from these players.’”

“Another draw and a defeat and he’ll be out, won’t he, the way things work at Chelsea?” quips Lineker.

Textbook stuff all round.

Updated at 7.10pm BST

Does anyone here remember when Chelsea won the Champions League back in 2012?

I was at the second leg against Napoli at Stamford Bridge, as Robert Di Matteo’s brave boys fought back from a 3-1 first-leg defeat to make it through. The rest is history.

Updated at 7.12pm BST

The winner of this quarter-final will meet Liverpool or Real Madrid in the last four. Liverpool lost 3-1 in Madrid last night, and can hardly said to be in form, so it looks like a meeting with Zinedene Zidane’s men is on the cards.

Here is Andy Hunter on last night’s match:

“The focus on unforced errors during the game does not detract from the one that Jürgen Klopp made with his team selection. Naby Keïta over Thiago Alcântara was a bewildering choice from the outset.”

Will the fact that next week’s second leg is also here in Seville affect tonight, tactics-wise? You’d rather think so. Tuchel and Chelsea will not benefit from home advantage next week, so surely it wouldn’t make much sense to sit back and aim for a draw this evening.

What do you reckon, Chelsea fans? Feel free to drop me a line on email or tweet @LukeMcLaughlin with your thoughts.

Updated at 6.43pm BST

Chelsea have already recorded a thumping win at tonight’s venue - the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium - in this season’s Champions League. Olivier Giroud, everyone’s favourite underrated striker (to the point that he’s actually not underrated), knocked in a four goals back in December when they hammered Sevilla:

I’ll bring you tonight’s teams as soon as they’re released. What we do know is that Porto will be without their captain and top-scorer Sérgio Oliveira as well as forward Mehdi Taremi, who are both suspended.

Chelsea have some good news on the fitness front: N’Golo Kanté is back in the squad after missing the West Brom defeat, although is not widely expected to start. Christian Pulisic is also available after coming off at half-time on Saturday with a hamstring niggle. Last but not least, Tammy Abraham is also fit enough to be included in the squad, but again, is not expected to start.

Updated at 6.32pm BST

Porto’s manager, Sérgio Conceição, also had an unseemly incident to deal with recently - although in his case it was a set-to involving himself and the Portimonense manager Paulo Sérgio.

“The pressure or the emotion of a game doesn’t justify my behaviour or Paulo’s,” Conceição said. “It was ugly.”

Updated at 6.17pm BST

Tuchel’s in-tray this week included dealing with headlines that revealed a training-ground flare-up between the defender Antonio Rüdiger and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, which the coach insisted was ‘serious’, while simultaneously praising the players for dealing with it among themselves and making friends again. Better to see some passion on the training pitch, you would have thought, than a group of players happy to quietly trouser their inflated salaries regardless?

Preamble

All good things come to an end: even Thomas Tuchel’s opening unbeaten run at Chelsea. He took over in late January and embarked on a 14-match streak without defeat, conceding two goals along the way, so no one expected a capitulation quite as complete as Saturday’s 5-2 shellacking by relegation battlers West Brom. Big Sam Allardyce decisively terminated any remaining hint of new-manager-bounce for Chelsea’s gegenpressing, orange-spritzer-sipping, former Paris Saint-Germain coach Tuchel, and the truth is the Baggies were on top before Thiago Silva’s first-half dismissal appeared to open the floodgates.

Tuchel and Chelsea have been knocked down, then, but the question is, how quickly will they get up again? Management can look easy when you’re winning - or certainly easier - so apart from anything else, tonight’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Porto in Seville will be a fascinating test of Tuchel’s ability. The evidence of the past couple of months suggests he knows what he’s doing, but it is also hard to escape the suspicion there are some, perhaps even among Chelsea’s own supporters, who were waiting for this gangling Bavarian uber-nerd (© Barney Ronay) to be taught a thing or two about English football.

They got their wish thanks to Big Sam, but tonight should be rather more up Tuchel-strasse: it seems bound to be a cautiously tactical affair against Porto, with neither side wanting to cede the initiative before next Tuesday’s second leg. (Which, by the way, will also be played at Seville’s Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán stadium.) Tuchel is realistic about the expectations placed on him by Roman Abramovich: qualification for next season’s Champions League is naturally a pre-requisite. And, well, winning this season’s edition would hardly hurt, would it? But Porto knocked out Juventus in the last round, so this isn’t going to be easy. A positive result, and the banishment of those Baggies-induced nightmares from Saturday is what Chelsea require. Pre-match reading, team news and more coming up.

Kick-off: 8pm BST.

Updated at 5.59pm BST

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