Match Preview: FC Porto vs Chelsea FC
By Jakub Wojtasik
Chelsea FC are facing defending Portuguese champions FC Porto in the quarter finals of the Champions League. The first leg will be played on Wednesday 7th April and the second leg on Tuesday 13th but due to travel restrictions between the two countries, both games will be played in a neutral venue set in the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium, Sevilla, Spain.
Chelsea had earned their place in the Champions League quarter finals after an impressive win against Spanish league leaders Atletico Madrid, winning by an aggregate score of 3-0. Goals from Olivier Giroud, Hakim Ziyech and Emerson Palmieri guided The Blues to a victory which earned them their first quarter final spot since 2014.
Chelsea are undefeated in this seasons Champions League campaign and finished top of Group E when former manager Frank Lampard was still in charge. Thomas Tuchel took over the West London team and looked to have brought stability to the club after picking up important results in his 11 weeks in charge.
However, Chelsea have recently suffered their first league defeat under Tuchel with a shock 5-2 loss to relegation bound West Brom only a few days ago. Veteran Thiago Silva made his long-awaited comeback, recovering from an injury however only lasted 29 minutes after getting sent off in the game. The problems don’t stop there with Chelsea’s talisman midfielder N’golo Kante suffering an injury during international duty and Christian Pulisic complaining of hamstring tightness. Both players are believed to be ruled out the game on Wednesday.
Porto on the other hand had advanced to the last eight of the Champions League after their heroic win against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus where they knocked out the Italian champions on away goals. A brilliant team display marshalled by Pepe and super star Sergio Oliviera secured the clubs first quarter final place since 2004, where they historically went on to win the competition.
Porto finished second in Group C and currently sit in second place of the Primeira Liga but are in good form winning their previous four games in all competitions. Like their rivals, Porto also have major absentees and will be missing their top goal scorer in Oliviera as well as Mehdi Taremi, who are both suspended for the first leg.
Both teams will be looking to utilise their strengths and can be equally confident of advancing to the next round. Chelsea’s impressive defensive record will have the challenge of stopping Porto’s potent attack, a formula which promises a thrilling tie. The winners will play either Liverpool or Real Madrid in the semi-finals, which will be played on a later date in April.