Chelsea are through to the knockout stages of the Champions League for the 12th time in 13 Champions League seasons. A two goal advantage was enough to see the Blues past FC Porto, who will be placed into the knockout rounds of the Europa League following Dynamo Kiev’s victory against Maccabi Tel-Aviv.
Chelsea looked dominant throughout, never really looking as though they would concede. The Blues got off to a good start early, finding the back of the net off of an own goal from Porto’s Marcano Sierra.
The goal really came from Hazard’s strong pass into Costa, who forced Casillas into a good save, which deflected off of Sierra and into the back of the net. This all happened despite Maicon’s best efforts to clear it off the goal line.
Chelsea had several other opportunities to score, as their frontmen all put in more than solid performance. Oscar played one of the best matches of his season, applying pressure higher up on the pitch and driving Chelsea forward.
The Blues doubled their advantage in the 52 minute. Willian made a strong run, receiving a well placed pass from Hazard, and powered his shot past Casillas on the near post. The Brazilian had another Man of the Match performance for the Mourinho’s men, leading Chelsea’s attack and putting them in good positions to score.
It is important to point out that Hazard assisted Willian’s goal, coupled with Diego Costa’s chance that led to the own goal. The Belgian was precise and fantastic at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night and was the focal point for the West Londoner’s attack. He has to wonder what it’s going to take for him to score however, being denied by the slightest of margins on several occasions.
Diego Costa spearheaded Chelsea’s attack with strong movement and was unfortunate not to score as well. Despite a few solid opportunities, the Spanish international was unable to convert past Casillas. He looked back to his old self, minus the goal output. If he continues to look the way he did tonight, the goals will come, and Chelsea will be all the better for it.
Matic along with Zouma put in great performances as well, looking strong and securing Chelsea’s backline. Additionally, Ivanovic has subtly began to put in a string of solid performances, helping to put the woes from earlier this season behind him.
Chelsea enter the knockout rounds as the first seed in their group, with Kiev securing the second spot. This means the Blues will have the potential to play PSG, PSV Eindhoven, Benfica, Juventus, Roma, or Gent. The Blues will want to avoid the likes of PSG and Juventus, while Roma will offer the potential return of Ashley Cole to SW6. It’ll be interesting to see who Mourinho’s men will face, though I believe Chelsea are destined for a rubber matchup with PSG.
Time will tell, but for now the Blues, along with Jose Mourinho are safe. The focus must switch to the Premier League, where Chelsea face current league leaders Leicester City. Three points would allow Chelsea to put the Bournemouth defeat from this weekend behind them. It’s a game Mourinho should expect to win, and one they absolutely can. For the time being, the Blues may now exhale. With regard to the Champions league, job done.