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Chelsea advance to Champions League round of 16 after beating Porto 2-0

Photo Courtesy: Goal.com
Photo Courtesy: Goal.com

Chelsea finally gave their fans something to cheer about after the Blues managed to beat Porto 2-0 and seal their place in the last sixteen of the Champions League.

An early Ivan Marcano own goal coupled with a 52nd strike from Willian proved to be enough as Porto failed to even score a consolation at Stamford Bridge.

Jose Mourinho opted to make four chances to his Chelsea side that lost to Bournemouth in the weekend, with Gary Cahill, Baba Rahman, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro being replaced by John Terry, Cesar Azpilicueta, Ramires and Diego Costa respectively.

Porto boss Julen Lopetegui, on the other hand, made three chances to his side that beat Pacos de Ferreira on Saturday, with Ivan Marcano, Danilo Pereira and Giannelli Imbula coming on in place of Andre Andre, Ruben Neves and Vincent Aboubakar respectively.

The game started with Chelsea taking an early lead (12th minute) through an own goal from Marcano. Deigo Costa, after collecting an excellent through ball from Eden Hazard, was through on goal. The striker fired a venomous low effort, but his shot, which flew straight at Casillas, ricocheted off the goalkeeper and hit the chest of Marcano, before bounding towards goal. Maicon seemed to clear the ball just before it crossed the line, but the goal was eventually awarded to Chelsea.

Six minutes later, there were shouts for a penalty after Oscar was brought down inside the box, but nothing was given.

In the 22nd minute, Chelsea were awarded a free-kick near the left byline, after Hazard was fouled by Pereira. Willian managed to swing a lovely free-kick into the box, but Maicon was able to clear before the ball could find a blue shirt.

Some excellent football from the hosts in the 28th minute resulted in Hazard breaking away and picking out Oscar with a dazzling pass. The Brazilian, after playing a quick one-two with Willian, advanced into the area and fired an effort towards goal, but his shot drifted wide of the post, after taking a big deflection off Marcano.

Just before the half-time break, Chelsea nearly doubled their lead, when Oscar, after managing to out-muscle Imbula in the middle of the park, sent a lofted pass towards Costa. The Spain striker, after doing well to control the ball, advanced into the area and fired a low effort towards goal, but Casillas produced an impressive finger-tip save to deny his international teammate.

Three minutes into the second half, Chelsea got another good chance to double their advantage, when Costa, after picking up the ball on the left wing, teed up Willian inside the box. The former Shakhtar midfielder fired a powerful low drive towards goal, but Casillas denied the Brazilian with a solid diving save.

However, Casillas’ excellent save proved to be in vain as Willian finally found the back of the net in the 52nd minute. Costa did brilliantly to hold the ball before sending a pass to Hazard, who in turn teed up an on-rushing Willian, after cutting in from the left.  Finally the Brazilian blazed forward and fired a venomous effort that flew past Casillas, who could do nothing but watch as the ball nestled into the back of the net.

Ten minutes later, Porto got a chance to pull one back through Yacine Brahimi, but the Algerian was unable to hit the target. Corona curled in an excellent ball from the right side of the box and Brahimi, after managing get at the end of the cross, fired a powerful effort that was just wide of the far post.

Chelsea got a golden opportunity to put the game to bed in the 70th minute, when a quick counter from the hosts resulted in Hazard sending Costa through on goal. However, before the former Atletico Madrid striker could muster up an effort, he was out-muscled by Danilo just outside the box.

Seven minutes later, Porto substitute Cristian Tello, after cutting in from the right wing, fired a wonderful low effort towards goal, but Courtois managed to keep his shot out with an equally impressive diving save.

Chelsea got another decent chance to further increase their lead in the 81st minute, when Hazard, after showing some excellent dribbling skills, beat the Porto defence and burst into the box from the left. The tricky Belgian fired a low shot towards goal, but his effort ricocheted off the near post onto the back of Casillas for a corner.

The last chance of the game fell to Porto in the third minute of added time, when an outstanding curing cross from Aboubakar found Brahimi in the box. The Algerian connected with a powerful volley, but his effort was just wide of the far post.

While this result means that Chelsea have sealed their last 16 spot in style, topping their pool, Porto have been eliminated from the Champions  League following Dynamo Kyiv’s victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv in the other Group G fixture.

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