‘Nothing is impossible’ for Porto in Champions League despite Chelsea lead
Posted On April 8, 2021
Porto are yet to give up hope of reaching the Champions League semi-finals despite a frustrating 2-0 first leg loss to Chelsea in the round of 16.
In their designated home game, although both matches are in Sevilla, Porto enjoyed their best in the first half, with eight shots against Chelsea and a top goals (xG) total of 0.86.
However, the Premier League side – who had a halftime xG of just 0.05 – scored with that single attempt via Mason Mount.
This lead was extended into the finals by Ben Chilwell, meaning Porto now need to win by two goals in the second leg to maintain their European hopes.
Although Wednesday’s loss was hard to bear, Porto have already delivered an unlikely return leg result in their quarterfinals race, advancing against Juventus on away goals after extra time despite playing for over an hour with 10 men.
And midfielder Marko Grujic told Eleven Sports: “It’s hard to accept this result because we had eight shots in the first half against one.
“We have shown that we have quality and in the second leg we will try to reverse the tie.
“Porto have shown in the Champions League that anything is possible. With a lot of wit and preparation, nothing is impossible.
Grujic made three tackles and won all five of his aerial duels in a combat match typical of this Porto team.
Indeed, in addition to beating Chelsea 12-6 in 90 minutes, Porto have won 62.4% of the teams’ duels while conceding six fewer fouls.
Sergio Conceicao felt Chelsea’s experience told and lamented the nature of Porto’s conceded goals, with Chilwell coming on the back of a Jesus Corona mistake – the first mistake leading his side to a goal in the competition this season.
But the coach couldn’t question the spirit of Porto.
“I think we played a good game,” he said at a press conference. “The projections for the second leg have not changed, they are the same as the ones we had before the first leg.
“We believe in what we do, we trust our team. As for the game strategy, I think we were tactically strong tonight.
“But there were two individual errors which caused two goals for the opponent. We deserved more than the result we got. We didn’t deserve to lose 2-0 at half-time in this draw.
“We are at half-time. And we’ll fight until the last minute of the next 90 minutes to try and knock that tie down.
“We know it’s going to be tough, we know it’s the Champions League and we’re a club that doesn’t belong to the Big Five. [leagues].
“I could feel it today from the referee’s decisions. That’s not an excuse.
“Also, we don’t have the same capacity as Chelsea when it comes to their experience and individual talents. We can’t forget that Chelsea left the bench [Christian] Pulisic, [Olivier] Giroud, [N’Golo] Kante, Thiago Silva …
“And we brought the boys in and left other kids on the bench.
“It doesn’t mean that they don’t have quality, they have quality. And by playing games like tonight’s they gain more experience, which is crucial at this level where a little mistake is punished by your opponents.