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Against Porto, Chelsea qualify without pressure to the semi-finals

Thomas Tuchel congratulates his players after Chelsea qualified against Porto in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, in Seville on April 13, 2021. – Angel Fernandez / AP / SIPA

With Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea are the second team to get their tickets for the Champions League round of four on Tuesday evening. With the advantage of scoring two goals in the first leg (2-0), the Blues were able to easily dominate the match, facing a disappointing Porto. Despite the impressive goal scored by Mehdi Tarimi acrobatically in extra time, the England national team shuddered hard to reach the semi-finals of the competition (0-1).

The Portuguese champion never played his game, nor was he successful in creating a solid defense. Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel described Porto as a “proud” and “passionate” team who knew very well “what they had to do” before this match. So one could have expected an offensive festival of Sergio Conceica’s men, but his formative debut, with stander Sergio Oliveira and Tarimi on the bench, leaving only Moussa Mariga at the front, has already dashed hopes for pyrotechnics.

Logical qualification

Put simply: Porto pressed a lot, but created so little, and the end result is the most logical. We must also realize that Londoners have a certain talent to extinguish any opponent’s flame. “We agreed to do what needs to be done,” the German coach of the Blues commented quietly after the match. He said: “It was a very tough fight, maybe it wasn’t good to watch it on TV, but (…) the men were stuck, and in the end we deserved to beat Porto in a difficult 180 minutes.”

During the match, Chelsea presented a very classic face, with Thiago Silva returning to the center of the defense. In the offensive, Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic were in support of Kaï Havertz, an option that provides good opportunities to exploit spaces if Porto goes too far in the collision, which never happened. In this post-first-leg configuration, the 3-4-2-1 system offered the Blues such a safety that prevented a fatal flaw in defense – such as the recovery that wasted Edward Mindy (11), the adrenaline level doomed to remain hopeless. Little. It must also be said that Ngolo Kanté once again dominated the midfield, never stopping running and collecting an incredible number of balls.

Too little, too late

Entering the hour mark, the Iranian striker from Porto, Tarimi, will have presented the most beautiful picture of this double confrontation by resuming the perfect comeback in a complete porthole from the right (1-0, 90 + 4). Time was too short, and on top of that too late, to prevent Chelsea from qualifying for the C1 semi-finals for the first time since 2013/2014. Chelsea will find the quarter winner between Real Madrid and Liverpool there.

This qualification also allowed the Blues to beat Manchester United in the English side after having played most of the semi-finals from C1, with 8 appearances.

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