Chelsea vs. Porto player ratings: Pulisic and Kante lead defensive performance, outlast Porto wonder goal

FC Porto defeated Chelsea 1-0 in the second-leg of UEFA Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday as Porto substitute  Mehndi Taremi scored the lone goal in stoppage time. Chelsea carried a two goal advantage into the return-leg, and advance into Champions League semifinals on a 2-1 goal aggregate. 

Let’s take a look at some player and manager ratings for tonight’s match

FC Porto ratings 

GK – Agustín Marchesín 

Faced a lot of shots but only one on target from Chelsea. Good positioning and reaction off his line to cut off angles and limit attacks in front of goal. Rating: 6

DEF – Wilson Manafá

Strong game providing defensive coverage and pickling out passing lanes. Did well to block shots against the opposition when danger was presented and provided a calming presence. Rating: 6.5

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DEF – Chancel Mbemba 

Tasked with more physical play on the backline andgot involved in set piece play for the team when the opportunity was presented. Rating: 6

DEF – Pepe

Covered tons of ground for the backline early on, connecting play with the midfield and blocked shot attempts from the opposition while providing cleanup when needed. Picked up a yellow in the 82nd minute. Rating: 6

DEF – Zaidu Sanusi

Active on the backline for the team, but needed to provide better service from the wing when the team found him on the flank and got him involved in the attack. Rating: 5

MID – Sérgio Oliveira

Was missed by the club in the first leg and was active on the ball and picked up a yellow to start the second half. Appeared to fade a bit as the game went on and Chelsea played through the middle, and got more physical. Rating: 6

MID – Mateus Uribe

Strong in the midfield early in the match and applied pressure throughout. Both facilitated and disrupted play when needed, and attempted to generate offence on goal while connecting with Otavio. Rating: 6

MID – Marko Grujić

Strong hold up play from the defensive mid to help Porto retain most of the possession during the match. Facilitated the attack and was good on the ball during the first half and active in dangerous spaces. Rating: 5.5

FWD – Otávio

Provided the build up and good combination play along the top line with Corona during the first half. Faded later in the match. Rating: 6

FWD – Jesus Corona:

Slotted up higher in the second leg to generate more attack. Was the main attacking player for Porto during large stretches of the match. Picked up a yellow in the 74th minute and was subbed out as part of a triple substitution to shake up the game in the waning minutes. Rating: 6

FWD – Moussa Marega

Active for the attacking line, going head to head with Azpilicueta for a second match, but struggled to connect on goal for the club despite his efforts. Subbed out in the 83rd minute. Rating: 6

SUB – Mehdi Taremi (Grujic 63′) – ⚽ 93′

Swapping striker for defensive mid in an effort to generate more in front of goal. Had a good header to force a save from Mendy and scored the lone goal on an amazing overhead effort. Rating: 7

SUB – Nanu (Manafa 75′)

Was subbed on for Manafá in the 75th minute, provided a different defensive look for Porto. Rating: 5

SUB – Evanilson (Marega 75′)

Good movement off the ball but did little to change the game. Rating: 5

SUB – Fábio Vieira (Oliveira 84′)

Made a late cameo. Rating: N/A

Manager – Sérgio Conceição

Team was strong in a formation which welcomed the return of Sergio Olivera by pushing Otavio and Corona higher. Starting lineup played well together, but failed to record a shot on target until the 65th minute. Made substitutions to try and shake up the game a bit, but to little payoff bringing the dark horse story to an end in the quarterfinals.  Rating: 6

Chelsea ratings

GK – Edouard Mendy

A clumsy pass out to Jesus Corona in the 11th minute might well have led to the early goal Porto needed but that aside Mendy was strong in the air when crosses came his way. Rating: 6

DEF – Cesar Azpilicueta

You might notice this becoming something of a trend throughout these Chelsea ratings but Azpilicueta did not put a foot wrong at the back as he led his team to a comfortable result. He competed in eight aerial duels and won each of them. Rating: 8

DEF – Thiago Silva

He brought the veteran know how that Thomas Tuchel would have expected of him, gravitating towards whatever crosses came his way and taking the lead in quelling Moussa Marega. Rating: 7

DEF – Antonio Rudiger

Perhaps the most imposing of Chelsea’s centre-backs, his warrior spirit typified by the post-match scrap he was involved in despite a game that could scarcely have been described as emotive. Rating: 8

DEF/MID – Reece James
Whenever a cross came into the box it seemed to be James who was first to it in what was an outstanding defensive display by the youngster. He will have been disappointed not to have offered more resistance to Mehdi Taremi’s late bicycle kick but who would have seen that coming from such a tame Porto attack? Rating: 8

DEF/MID – Ben Chilwell

He looked to be the weak link in the Chelsea backline early on, though he had perhaps the hardest task of all in quelling Otavio and Jesus Corona. The Blues’ one moment of truly lax defending came when Chilwell let the latter drift in behind him but it also served as a wakeup call for an improved display from then on. Rating: 6

MID – N’Golo Kante

Inside the first minute Kante was doing what he does best, racing across the pitch to clear up threats in and outside the Chelsea box on two occasions. As ever there was more to the World Cup winner than just defense and his dynamism across the pitch was crucial in getting the Blues into dangerous areas. Rating: 8

MID – Jorginho

The Italian got just close enough to hinder Jesus Corona in the 11th minute, typifying an extremely solid display from Jorginho. He led his team in ball recoveries with 11, making life easier for the center backs in behind them. Rating: 7

FWD – Christian Pulisic

Another impressive outing for the American, whose first instinct whenever the ball came his way was to run at the Porto defense. More often than not he did so successfully and drew a string of fouls in the process. Rating: 7

FWD – Kai Havertz

Playing as a more orthodox center forward than he has in past games, Havertz was on the receiving end of some robust defending and rarely had more than a few moments to collect the ball before being hit hard in the tackle. Still he was solid in possession and rarely gave the ball away. Rating: 6

FWD – Mason Mount

While this was not Mount at his sparkling best he was nothing if not effective, starting the defensive work at the top of the pitch and tracking any runners wherever they might roam. A couple of snap shots were a reminder of what he can do in a different context. Rating: 6

SUB – Hakim Ziyech (Mount ’86)

Ran around a bit. Rating: N/A

SUB – Olivier Giroud (Havertz 90’+2)

Stood around a bit. Rating: N/A

Manager – Thomas Tuchel

Even he could not have planned for Taremi’s late goal but that aside this match went according to Tuchel’s script, an underwhelming but hugely effective game where the defensive strides his side have made were plain for all to see. Rating: 7

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