Mason Mount scores superb first-half goal
Ben Chilwell adds second late on for Chelsea
Thomas Tuchel’s official title may be head coach but he is managing Chelsea. Goals from Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell – both excellent finishes, both their first strikes in the Champions League – meant they eventually took control of this quarter-final tie against Porto and took a significant step towards reaching the last four for the first time in seven years.
Tuchel has form. Last season he led Paris Saint-Germain to the final and while he did not gain much credit for that, given he had Kylian Mbappe and Neymar and Co, he is more obviously showing his worth now in managing his resources and deploying his tactics. Who knows, at this rate, it could be a reunion with PSG in the final in Istanbul at the end of May. How he will relish that given his sacking on Christmas Eve.
Not only was this a convincing response to the weekend defeat to West Bromwich Albion, when they conceding five goals, but it was an occasion when Chelsea showed the right kind of fight after the training ground bust-up between Antonio Rudiger and Kepa Arrizabalaga that Tuchel was so refreshingly honest about.
“It was the first chance to bounce back and show a reaction. It was a tough match because Porto are very strong and we suffered a bit because we were tense and not free,” Tuchel said. “It was our first response after our first loss together.” They passed that test.
The German has now won his first three Champions League games at Chelsea and the last coach to do that was a certain Roberto Di Matteo – with the club going on to win the Champions League in 2012. During that run was also the last time two English players (Frank Lampard and John Terry) scored for them in the same Champions League match.
Omens? Sometimes it feels like that, but Tuchel is leaving little to chance. This was not a spectacular performance, the German admitted they “suffered”, but it was a mature one. He juggled, he made decisive substitutions and it was not just the two goals but also the clean sheet that was so important.
The imponderable is that although Chelsea have two ‘away’ goals ahead of their home leg next Tuesday, that game will also be played in Seville with the neutral venue required because of coronavirus restrictions. The Portuguese champions cannot be written off, not least because they defeated Juventus in the previous round and will be welcoming back their two best players in Sergio Oliveira and Mehdi Teremi who were suspended.
It is why the second goal made such a difference and fair play to Tuchel for going for it by bringing on Olivier Giroud and Christian Pulisic for the disappointing Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, and it looked like Pulisic would provide it as he was put through on the right only for his fierce shot to crash back off the cross-bar.
Instead it was Chilwell with the full-back pouncing on a poor touch by Jesus Corona as the winger intercepted Mateo Kovacic’s flighted pass. Chilwell sprinted towards goal, held off Chancel Mbemba, left Pepe struggling and calmly pushed the ball past goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin before side-footing home. “The finishing was clinical,” Tuchel said, with Chelsea scoring twice from only three efforts on target.
Thankfully Porto were far more wasteful. They pressed Chelsea, they were aggressive and positive and they racked up openings. It could have been very different, as Tuchel acknowledged, with Porto threatening five times in the opening half hour, Zaidu Sanusi proving the most profligate as he wildly volleyed over from close-range after Pepe headed the ball back to him.
It was then that Mount provided yet more compelling evidence that he is Chelsea’s most important player as he shifted the mood. It was a shrewd pass into him by Jorginho, but it was all about Mount after that with a wonderful drag back and turn, in one movement, as Sanusi committed himself by sliding in, before driving the ball across Marchesin. “He has the quality to do this and to do it in a quarter-final is a big step for him,” Tuchel said of the 22 year-old. “He has the right attitude towards success and is open and hungry to learn.”
Still Porto threatened, with Edouard Mendy reacting alertly to turn Pepe’s header around his post, and then the Chelsea goalkeeper blocked Moussa Marega’s angled shot with his legs after Rudiger hesitated and allowed the striker to run clear of him.
It became increasingly tense, with Porto coach Sergio Conceicao urging his team on sensing a goal was there, but it was Chelsea who failed to take two headed chances with Werner and Cesar Azpilicueta spurning them, before there was a mild panic for the latter as he placed his hands on Marega’s back and he went over in the area. The penalty appeals were waved away.
Tuchel made his changes and they worked – and in fairness he has an extraordinarily strong squad - with Porto finally beginning to tire. Chilwell swooped and a tight win was turned into something far more convincing, even if Tuchel remained understandably cautious. “It was super-important to get the second away goal,” he said. “It was a tough match. Life was hard for us and we absolutely accept that we needed a bit of luck to escape a 2-0 and to escape with a clean sheet.” Sometimes, though, you make your own luck and he helped do just that.
Very well managed by Chelsea. Porto caused them real problems throughout but a moment of brilliance from Mount and a clever bit of play from Chilwell have been enough to give Chelsea a big lead going into the second leg.
90 mins+1 - Porto 0 Chelsea 2
Chelsea send on Emerson for Kovacic now. Not sure what that does to the shape but Chelsea are just locking this down. Emerson has gone into a fairl advanced midfield position.
88 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 2
Two away goals could seal this one for Chelsea. They've scored them with three shots on target all game long, from six shots total.
They've controlled this game pretty well even though Porto have been excellent. Chelsea's better individual players have been the difference.
Porto 0 Chelsea 2
What a weird goal this is! Chilwell - the left wing-back - has just controlled a diagonal pass over the top, cut inside, gone round the goalie and then tapped into an empty net.
83 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 1
Porto start making substitutions for the final push. They won't even be that disappointed with a 1-0 deficit for the second leg.
But that's nearly changed! Chelsea manage to tap passes around as Giroud gets involved in link up, and Pulisic powers a shot off the cross bar!
81 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 1
Silva comes on for Chelsea, replacing James. Azpilicueta goes to right wing-back, Silva slots into the middle of the back three. That's Tuchel trying to see this one out now.
78 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 1
I've just realised that Olivier Giroud is on the pitch. He's only had one touch so far.
Mendy has started kicking long because of the pressure being put onto his defence by the Porto press. They still look full of energy - it must be exhausting to play against.
75 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 1
Conceicao has just been booked by the referee for kicking the ball (I think) and seems to be highly frustrated at some of the decisions going against him. Porto are swarming Chelsea players in possession high up the pitch, trying to force a mistake and steal the ball. Chelsea doing well to draw fouls and avoid being caught out.
72 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 1
Porto might just be trying their best to make sure they get given free-kicks in Chelsea's half, since that's the most likely way they're going to create chances. Marega has gone down now under a challenge from Azpilicueta and is convinced it's a penalty. Unsurprisingly, Azpilicueta is adamant it's not. And it's never a foul. Oh my god that's pathetic. He's had a tiny shove in the back in the box and just dropped to the floor.
69 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 1
Mendy has to save again as a shot from distance threatens to sneak in the bottom corner but he has it covered. Porto players keep making the absolute most out of any opportunity to roll around on the floor. I have absolutely no idea how Sanusi can be injured from falling to the floor while chasing James, but it's taken him a couple of minutes to recover from it. There's nothing wrong with him.
66 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 1
Havertz and Wenrner off, Giroud and Pulisic on. It hasn't quite happened for Chelsea's German forwards this evening. There's a little bit of drama as a Porto player claims he's been elbowed by James but Var doesn't even take 10 seconds to easily rule that one out. Never even a foul.
63 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 1
Chilwell wins a free-kick somewhat fortuitously after it appears Mbemba doesn't actually touch him while swiping at the ball. James curls it in from the left and Azpilicueta throws himself at the cross... powering a header wide from six yards. That's another massive miss.
60 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 1
Oh my word what a miss. How has Havertz missed? Rudiger takes a shot from long range, the goalie drops it and Werner tucks a pass across the six yard box to give Havertz a tap in. He has to rush and slide in to reach it but pushes it wide! There was some sort of foul in there, maybe an offside, so the whistle goes anyway. But come on.
59 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 1
Chelsea look like they want to slow things down a little bit and pass the ball around but Porto aren't really letting them. The space is all wide for James on the overlap but Porto shift over and block him from crossing.
56 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 1
SO CLOSE! Luis Diaz hits a low shot from D, taking a great first touch to set up a curling effort at goal but bends it wide. Porto are going at Chelsea here, taking the game to them.
53 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 1
Oooooh Mendy has to make an important save as a long through pass allows Marega to run in behind Rudiger. He shoots across the goal like Mount did earlier but the goalie gets down quickly to save. Porto now starting to play with the same high press and compactness that worked well in the first half.
51 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 1
Porto are much more stretched in this half than they were earlier and I can't quite figure out what benefit that gives them tactically. Chelsea had way more possession in the first half so it might be that the manager wants to gain a little more control of the ball rather than having to work so hard out of possession all of the time.
48 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 1
Porto might have changed something in how they're set up and it's not good. Chelsea are able to pass their way past the high press, the defensive line is much deeper than it was in the first half and Chelsea push into the opposition half. Werner then heads a cross over from about 12 yards because he's broken and cannot score.
KICK OFF 2
This average position map tells us a lot. Porto started as a 4-4-2 but quickly shifted to a 4-5-1, which became a 6-3-1 or a 6-2-2 in certain phases of play. They're using a really high line and pressing super high to make sure Chelsea can't just hit long passes over the top and are playing with energy, intensity and aggression, making one and two touch passes to quickly move up the pitch.
Porto's shape changes so much that you can't really work out what on earth it's meant to be from average positions. Chelsea clearly have a back three, two central midfielders and a central attacking three. They've only managed one shot on target and a lot of that might be tactical. Without a central striker pushing Porto back, or threatening to run in behind, Chelsea are being squashed and offering absolutely nothing going forward. Porto defending extremely well by just blocking space and letting Chelsea pass around them.
Porto started and ended that half as the better team but Chelsea have the lead. I don't think this will finish 1-0. It's been a great watch so far!
43 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 1
Porto lift a free-kick into the area, it's headed away and drops for a powerful volley... but Azpilicueta blocks it superbly. And then Mendy tips a header by Pepe around the post from the resultant corner!
41 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 1
I think Tuchel may have tweaked the system a little. Havertz playing alongside Werner in a 5-3-2 now, with Mount joining the forward press from a position in midfield.
39 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 1
I think Kovacic might be a pressing trigger for Porti. They swarm him the second it looks like he's even about to receive the ball, which makes sense considering how he plays, always taking multiple touches.
36 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 1
Chelsea stepping it up a little bit here. James whips an early cross into the box which causes a bit of panic but Porto recover and move out.
AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN MOUNT TURNS HIS MAN AND SCORES!
Porto 0 Chelsea 1
Mount is such a good player. Jorginho fires a perfectly weighted pass onto the outside of Mount's body, he spins round the outside of his marker, and then places his shot across the goalkeeper into the net. Great goal.
31 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 0
Chelsea still haven't had a shot on goal yet. Porto playing really well, defending in a way that means Chelsea's possession isn't really going anywhere.
30 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 0
Christensen finds James at last with a long pass but Porto are instantly back into their defensive shape to shut the move down.
27 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 0
Rudiger looks for Werner with a long, direct pass but just punts it out for a throw. It's clear what Chelsea are trying to do but Porto appear to be betting they aren't good enough to pull it off.
25 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 0
Porto take ages over setting up a corner, possibly just slowing things down to rest for a few seconds and then put a clever little set piece together by going short and scoooping a pass over a defender to get to the area. Another corner.
And wow what a save that is by Mendy! The corner is aimed towards the near post and the goalie flies into the back of his own net as he dives to stop it going in.
22 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 0
The other thing that Porto do which is very devious and quite annoying to watch, is snap into tackles that are on the verge of being free-kicks but fall to the floor with the softest of contact by opponents. It makes it difficult for Chelsea to work out how much force/power/aggression they can actually put into tackles.
19 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 0
Chelsea definitely know they're in a game here. Porto are so intense and energetic that their midfielders aren't getting a single half second to think about what to do when they get the ball and the high press is forcing defenders to launch it. There's definitely opportunity to hit long diagonals to the wing-backs - James keeps threatening to run in behind the last line - but Porto are pressing so quickly that nobody has been able to execute the pass.
16 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 0
Porto just seem so much more aggressive and as if they are playing with purpose. Chelsea get the ball and pass it a lot but don't seem to go anywhere. Porto have them penned in now as well, getting passes into the area behind the defence with one and two touch football.
13 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 0
Porto finding their way into the final third and causing actual problems for the Chelsea defence. Corona and Marega dart around the area but are blocked by centre-backs and then Uribe goes for a clever volley from the corner of the area which has Mendy beaten but lands on the roof of the net.
10 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 0
Chelsea just tapping the ball around, not really getting anywhere near the box. Porto in control here at the moment.
7 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 0
Porto defending aggressively, going froma 4-4-2 to a 6-2-2 as Chelsea's wing-backs push high. It's Atletico Madrid with a different strip, basically.
4 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 0
Reece James' first touch on his SHOULDER is wonderful. Has done it a couple of times now, taking down high balls with superb control. He is pushing high up the pitch early on with Chilwell doing similar on the left.
2 mins - Porto 0 Chelsea 0
Porto have started this exactly as we expected, pressing Chelsea intensely in a really compact 4-4-2. There's so much energy and snap to them that Chelsea have already lost possession a couple of times.
Here we go! Chelsea get the game started.
Rudiger plays tonight
This was an interesting story from the week and a rare admission from the manager that something bad did actually happen during a training ground fight.
Rio Ferdinand loves Pepe
Rio Ferdinand, who was rather good at playing centre-back himself, is a huge fan of Pepe and is spending a good deal of time analysing Pepe. The Porto captain is 38 years old and a perfect example of how defenders are supposed to position themselves in different situations. He's not as fast as he once was but does not need to be - he's a few steps ahead of most attackers just by reading the game.
The venue for this evening's match
There's this thing called coronavirus which you may have heard of and because of it tonight's match has been moved to sunny Spain, specifically to Sevilla's home ground: the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.
Here are the teams for tonight's game:
Malang Sarr, who is actually a Chelsea player, is on the bench for Porto this evening. That's not usually how loan agreements work - imagine he ends up scoring the winner or blocks a last minute shot off the line.
Hello there and welcome to our liveblog for Porto vs Chelsea, a game which should be a fascinating tactical battle between two entirely contrasting styles. Chelsea keep the ball, pass pass pass, and make the pitch as wide as possible. Porto are like a mini-Atletico Madrid.
Thomas Tuchel confirmed that N'Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic would be fit for tonight's game the other day so expect to see them in the squad but perhaps not the first team.
"They are fit enough to be in the squad and will be in the squad - all three. That's good news," Tuchel said.
"Christian went off before an injury could happen. He said at half-time he feels like if he continues there will be an injury coming, so we decided to take him off.
"Tammy is in the squad and N'Golo just did a test and will be on the bench. He feels very comfortable, comfortable enough to be on the bench."
Porto have a few familiar faces in their usual starting XI. Everyone knows about Pepe but you may also remember Chancel Mbemba, who used to play for Newcastle, and Marko Grujic, who might even still play for Liverpool. Does he? Google says yes. He's one of those players they've had in their squad who just gets loaned out every year.
Jesus Corona plays right wing and is absolutely brilliant, while Moussa Marega will cause problems throughout for Chelsea's back three.
Kick off is 8pm and you can follow all the action here in this liveblog. The game is shown on BT Sport.