Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Chelsea survived a Champions League scare today after coming back from 1-0 down to defeat Portuguese side Porto at Stamford Bridge in London. The first leg of the match ended 1-1, giving Chelsea the advantage thanks to the away goals rule, and Porto needed a win or a draw of 2 all or higher to advance to the next round. Porto fielded a defensive side, leaving Portuguese international striker Helder Postiga out of the starting lineup, while Chelsea featured Andriy Shevchenko and Didier Drogba on attack.
Shevchenko almost opened the scoring early in the game, having a poweful shot from 20 yard fly just over the bar and out of play. The early attack did little to inspire Chelsea though, as they looked sluggish for the first parts of the game. Porto took advantage of Chelsea's poor start, and scored in the 15th minute on a counter attack. Lopez quickly passed the ball up to Gonzales in the center of the pitch, who split the defence with a well aimed ball that released Quaresma on a break away. The Portuguese player made no mistake about his shot, and slid it neatly past Petr Cech to give the visiting team the lead. Chelsea vainly attempted to draw level, but none of their first half chances were able to find the target to trouble keeper da Helton. Chelsea had a claim for a penalty nearing 35 minutes when Arjen Robben after he was apparently tripped up by Raul Moreiles, but the Dutch midfielded was awarded a yellow card instead for his theatrical dive. Chelsea's defence supplied the most attack for the English Champions, as Ashley Cole made a fine cross into the box which was poorly cleared by Ricardo Costa, and the Ball broke for Michael Ballack. Costa was quick to justify his mistake and he poked the ball away from Ballack before he could get a shot away. The biggest worry for Porto came when Jorge Fucile was struck in the face by the trailing arm off a teammate, and left the field with blood streaming from his nose.
The second half saw Fucile retake the pitch, his injury obviously not too serious. Chelsea made a change to start the second half, adding John Obi Mikel in place of Claude Makelele. It took Chelsea only 3 minutes after the restart to get back into the match, and the goal came through Arjen Robben. The Dutchman cleaved a shot from 25 yards, and even though it lack power, de Helton was not able to get a grip on it and the ball slipped past him into the net. The goal tied not only the game, but also the series, and the scoreline would force extra time. Chelsea wouldn't allow the game to get that far though, and Ashley Cole, Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Ballack all contributed to the winning goal. A cross by Cole was headed down by Shevy, and neatly volleyed into the net by the German Ballack. Porto pressed, but the Chelsea defence easily coped, and Chelsea advanded to next round of the Champions League.
== Sources ==
Lewis Rutledge. Chelsea Survive Porto Scare [archived version] — SkySports, March 6, 2007