'Nothing is impossible' for Porto in Champions League despite Chelsea lead

By Sports Desk April 08, 2021

Porto are not yet giving up hope of reaching the Champions League semi-finals despite a frustrating 2-0 first-leg defeat to Chelsea in the last eight.

In their designated home leg, although both matches are being played in Seville, Porto enjoyed much the better of the first half, having eight shots to Chelsea's one and a superior expected goals (xG) total of 0.86.

However, the Premier League side – who had a half-time xG of just 0.05 - scored with that sole attempt through Mason Mount.

That lead was extended in the closing stages by Ben Chilwell, meaning Porto must now win by two goals in the second leg to maintain their European hopes.

While Wednesday's defeat was tough to take, Porto have already delivered an unlikely second-leg result in their run to the quarters, advancing against Juventus on away goals after extra time despite playing more than an hour with 10 men.

And midfielder Marko Grujic told Eleven Sports: "It is difficult to accept this result because we had eight shots in the first half to their one.

"We showed that we have quality and in the second leg will try to turn the tie.

"Porto have shown in the Champions League that anything is possible. With great spirit and preparation, nothing is impossible."

Grujic made three tackles and won all five of his aerial duels in a battling display typical of this Porto side.

Indeed, as well as outshooting Chelsea 12-6 across the 90 minutes, Porto won 62.4 per cent of the sides' duels while conceding six fewer fouls.

Sergio Conceicao felt Chelsea's experience told and bemoaned the nature of the goals Porto conceded, Chilwell's coming following a Jesus Corona mistake - the first error leading to a goal his side have made in the competition this season.

But the coach could not question Porto's spirit.

"I believe we played a good game," he told a news conference. "The projections for the second leg don't change, they are the same ones we had before the first leg.

"We believe in what we do, we have confidence in our squad. When it comes to the game strategy, I think we were tactically strong tonight.

"But there were two individual mistakes that caused two goals of the opponent. We deserved more than the result we've got. We didn't deserve to be losing 2-0 at half-time of this tie.

"We are at half-time. And we will fight until the last minute of the next 90 minutes to try to turn this tie around.

"We know it's going to be difficult, we know this is the Champions League and we are a club that doesn't belong to the big five [leagues].

"I could feel it today in relation to the referee's decisions. It's not an excuse.

"Also, we don't have the same capacity of Chelsea when it comes to their experience and individual talents. We can't forget that Chelsea brought off the bench [Christian] Pulisic, [Olivier] Giroud, [N'Golo] Kante, Thiago Silva...

"And we brought in the boys and left some other youngsters on the bench.

"It doesn't mean they don't have quality, they do have quality. And playing games like tonight's, they get more experience which is crucial at this level where a small mistake is punished by your opponents."

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