Chelsea vs Porto: Mission Impossible

We are still in the middle of the match, so let’s believe it, ”said Porto coach Sergio Conceicao. The coach who has handled Porto since four years ago is still confident that his team can overcome Chelsea. Conceicao’s men carry a difficult mission in the second leg with the obligation to patch a two-goal deficit from the Blues who have been solid since being handled by Thomas Tuchel.

The second leg between Chelsea vs Porto will be held at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. The first leg was then held at the same venue. Dragoes lost 0-2 in the “home” leg. Even though it is held on a neutral venue, the away goals rule remains binding on both teams. Chelsea, in addition to winning on aggregate, also pocketed the advantage on away goals. Porto must at least win by a two-goal margin and not concede. If Timo Werner and his friends score a goal, Porto must win by a three-goal margin to qualify.

To score two or more goals against Edouard Mendy is not easy. The arrival of Tuchel in January made the Blues defense very strong. Chelsea have conceded just eight goals in 17 games in all competitions under Tuchel. Five of the eight goals were scored by West Bromwich Albion on April 3. At that time, Thiago Silva’s red card midway through the first half changed the game and The Baggies won 2-5.

If ignoring the match against West Brom, which was an anomaly amid Chelsea’s resurgence, Tuchel’s men have conceded just three goals in 16 games. A very impressive record considering Chelsea faced tough opponents during that period, including Tottenham, Atletico Madrid, Manchester United, Liverpool and Leeds United.

Ahead of “entertaining” Porto, Chelsea also incised a convincing victory in the Premier League. Last Saturday, they won the London Derby against Crystal Palace by a landslide score of 1-4. The Blues presented a lively offensive show that resulted in goals from Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Kurt Zouma.

“We know it will be difficult, but neither side has lost yet. It [the first leg] was a different match, “said Porto attacking midfielder Otavio. The Brazilian player is optimistic that he and his colleagues can turn things around.

When reviewing the course of the first leg, Otavio’s optimism is reasonable. Despite failing to score and conceding two, Dragoes showed good competitiveness against Chelsea. Conceicao’s men build their attacks in a planned manner and try to suppress the third of the opponent’s defense.

In the first leg, Porto sent 13 shots (five on target). In contrast, the Blues made six shots (three on target). However, the Blues did create higher quality opportunities than Porto. The total xG value from Chelsea’s six shots is 1.5. Meanwhile, Porto incised 1.0 xG from 13 shots.

In addition, two individual mistakes played an important role in Chelsea’s two goals. In the first goal, Mason Mount took advantage of Zaidi Sanusi’s anticipation. Meanwhile, in the second goal, Jesus Corona’s miscontrolling gave Ben Chilwell the opportunity to score a goal. “We have to be more effective. We have to score goals and we will try to do it, “continued Otavio.

Porto itself can go down in full force in the second leg. In the first match, they had to play without two key players, namely Sergio Oliveira and Mehdi Taremi. The two players cannot be demoted in the first leg due to accumulated cards. Oliveira and Taremi are important players for Porto’s attacking line. These two players have scored 29 goals or nearly half of all Dragoes’ goals in the Portuguese League and Champions League. Oliveira scored 17 goals and five assists, while Taremi scored 12 goals and five assists in the two competitions.

In the last 16, Oliveira impressed when his team buried Juventus. The Portuguese midfielder scored two goals against the Bianconeri. In the second leg against Andrea Pirlo’s men, Oliveira scored a penalty and Porto’s winning goal via a free kick in injury time.

Cesar Azpilicueta and his friends must be aware of the movement of the 29-year-old midfielder. Oliveira capable of harming Chelsea in many ways. Oliveira was able to cross Chelsea’s back line with a through ball. He is also capable of scoring goals via long-range shots as well as a great set-piece taker.

In a lagging position, Porto certainly wanted to appear proactive from the first minute. Chelsea’s defense is indeed difficult to penetrate, however, the Dragoes attack line appears in full force. Sergio Oliveira, Mehdi Taremi, Moussa Marega, as well as Otavio and Jesus Corona have shown their capabilities when eliminating Juventus in the last 16 round.

Porto have been eyeing a place in the semifinals since they last achieved it in 2003/04. Since being brought by Jose Mourinho to win the Champions League, the club who won 29 Portuguese League titles has not managed to qualify for the quarter-finals. Porto featured in three quarter-finals after 2004 and always lost, one each to Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Liverpool.

Additionally, Porto are looking to put an end to their poor record against English clubs in the UCL knockout phase. Since defeating Man United in the last 16 of 2003/04, Porto have always been eliminated if they meet English clubs in the knockout stages. Since 2004, they have met English clubs in the UCL knockout stages five times, having been knocked out by Chelsea, United, Arsenal and Liverpool (twice).


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