Chelsea hold off Porto to book spot in Champions League semifinals

Chelsea's Jorginho, left, controls the ball during the Champions League quarter final second leg soccer match between Chelsea and Porto at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, in Seville, Spain, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Angel Fernandez/AP)

SEVILLE, Spain -- A spectacular goal from a scissor kick by Mehdi Taremi wasn't enough to earn Porto a place in the Champions League semifinals as Chelsea advanced despite a 1-0 loss in the second leg of their quarterfinal on Tuesday.

Chelsea went through 2-1 on aggregate and will play either Real Madrid or Liverpool in the last four, which the English club has reached for the first time since 2014.

Taremi's acrobatic volley, following a cross from the right, came in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time and lit up a lacklustre game in Seville, which hosted both legs of the quarterfinal because of coronavirus restrictions. It came too late to rescue Porto, which had been successfully stifled up to that point.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel is looking to return to the Champions League final, where he led Paris Saint-Germain last season before a loss to Bayern Munich. PSG avenged that loss by knocking out Bayern on Tuesday, advancing on away goals after losing the second leg 1-0.

Under Tuchel, Chelsea has only conceded one goal in four knockout matches, having nullified Atletico Madrid in the last 16. While he has largely sorted out the team's defence, Chelsea's attack is still a work in progress and will likely need to improve if it is to win the competition for a second time, after 2012.

The virtually chanceless second leg often got bogged down in midfield, where N'Golo Kante shone for Chelsea on his return from a hamstring injury. Chelsea, which was bolstered by the away goals scored by Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell in the first leg in Seville, relied on counterattacks through the lively Christian Pulisic and Mount but was as unthreatening as Porto.

Porto ended up relying on set pieces and crosses into the penalty area to find a way back into the quarterfinal and they were the only times Chelsea looked perturbed, with a header from Taremi _ a 63rd-minute substitute _ from one wide delivery easily saved by goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

He made a much cleaner connection with his stunning volley in injury time, the ball flying into the top right-hand corner and leaving Mendy motionless.

There was no time for Porto to find a second goal, though.

Madrid leads Liverpool 3-1 from the first leg in Spain.

When submitting content, please abide by our  submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.
We use cookies to improve your experience. Learn More or change your cookie preferences. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies.