Superb individual goals from English pair Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell helped Chelsea register a 2-0 win away over Porto in their Champions League quarter-final first leg.
Midfielder Mount ran on to a sharp pass from Jorginho then swivelled to get past a defender before firing the ball low and hard into the far corner to prise Porto open in the 32nd minute and score his first Champions League goal on Wednesday in Seville.
Left back Chilwell also got off the mark in Europe’s top competition to grab Chelsea a second away goal in the 85th to take into the second leg on April 13, which will also be played at Sevilla’s Sanchez Pizjuan stadium due to coronavirus restrictions on travel between Portugal and England.
“We knew it would be a tough game. We kept going, we got the goal in the first half and the second secured a good win,” said Mount.
“The job’s not done. They’ll fight for the next leg and we’ll have to give it our all. We’ll be ready.”
Porto midfielder Mateus Uribe said his side “left with a bitter taste” after playing so well but having failed to take their chances.
“We weren’t clinical in front of goal, they had fewer opportunities and scored two goals,” he said.
“They got the result, but we leave with our heads held high because of our performance and believe we can turn the tie around with our quality players.”
Porto knocked Juventus out in the last round on away goals but were missing their two top scorers in Sergio Oliveira and Mehdi Taremi through suspension.
They were more adventurous than the Premier League side and narrowly missed the target in the first half with thumping volleys from Uribe and Zaidu Sanusi.
They went even closer in the second with a header from veteran defender Pepe that was beaten away by Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy, who also repelled an effort from striker Moussa Marega. Colombian forward Luis Diaz, meanwhile, whistled a shot just wide.
“The result is extremely harsh, but what counts are the goals — and Chelsea scored and we didn’t,” said Porto coach Sergio Conceicao.
Chelsea were always looking to strike down the other end and went close to finding their second with a long-range effort from Christian Pulisic which rattled the crossbar.
Moments later, they grabbed a crucial second away goal when Chilwell pounced on a slip by Porto’s Jesus Corona and dashed across the box to dribble his way into the net and take Chelsea a step closer to reaching the semi-finals for the first time since 2014.
“There were many moments where we suffered,” admitted Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel.
“But we accepted it, that’s the way it is at this stage. The spirit was good and it’s an excellent result.”
Chelsea went into the game hurting from their shock 5-2 defeat at home to Premier League strugglers West Bromwich Albion, which was the first time they had been beaten in any competition since Tuchel became coach in January.
That defeat was largely down to Thiago Silva being sent off and Tuchel started without the Brazilian defender in Seville, with his side showing the defensive solidity which has characterised his start to life as Chelsea coach.
The German was delighted with his side’s response.
“We’ve had a lot of wins together, we had a loss together but now we have a reaction after a loss together. It brings us closer together, brings trust and it was excellent,” he added.
(With input from Reuters)