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Porto pain on Mourinho return as Blues lose in Champions League

| 30.09.2015

Jose Mourinho’s Porto homecoming proved an unhappy one, as sloppy Chelsea defending cost them Champions League points in the Dragons’ den.

Andre Andre opened the scoring for the hosts only to see them pegged back by Blues attacking midfielder Willian, who netted a peach of a free-kick on the stroke of half-time.

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Porto skipper Maicon proved their match winner, however, with a flicked header from a corner, and Diego Costa hit the bar shortly after Chelsea fell behind again.

The Blues’ high-profile team news saw former deadly Dragons striker Radamel Falcao left at home alongside fellow forward Loic Remy, but Eden Hazard being on the bench proved an even bigger shock. Mourinho also preferred John Obi Mikel as midfield anchor to Nemanja Matic.

A slow burning first-half saw Yacine Brahimi’s early effort easily dealt with by Asmir Begovic, while Chelsea openings for Spain duo Cesc Fabregas and Pedro Rodriguez were kept out by national teammate Iker Casillas.

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Chances were few and far between until six minutes before the break when Porto took the lead through Andre. He followed up with the rebound after Brahimi’s mazy run infield from the left flank brought a fine stop from Begovic, but Blues defenders switched off to his burst from midfield.

Two fouls on tenacious Brazil international Ramires gifted Chelsea the chance to equalise right on half-time. Porto paid the price for conceding that free-kick, which in-form compatriot Willian curled superbly around the wall with Casillas rooted to the spot.

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Parity was short-lived, however, as seven minutes after the interval, Dragons captain Maicon caught the Blues napping and met Ruben Neves’ near-post left-wing corner with a glancing header that beat Begovic. Ramires’ marking was really poor.

Moments later, Costa was a crossbar’s width away from equalising, but his curling strike crashed against the woodwork. Chelsea’s defence, meanwhile, was at sixes and sevens with Gary Cahill deflecting a Neves effort away from danger.

Mourinho introduced Hazard after the hour, but the out of form reigning Premier League player of the year remained ineffectual.

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Begovic had to be on hand to parry from Gianelli Imbula, with the Blues not clearing their lines and the Bosnian keeper then made a point-blank stop from Brahimi soon after.

Danilo Pereira nodded against the woodwork from another Porto corner, and the hosts survived a huge handball appeal against Ivan Marcano late on to record a famous win.

Chelsea’s defeat continues a worrying trend for English teams in the Champions League, with just one victory in six and five defeats during the group stage to date. It’s now 16/1 with Coral the Stamford Bridge side win Europe’s elite club competition.



Jamie Clark

Athletics aficionado, die-hard snooker fan and Crystal Palace supporter Jamie has written for Coral since February 2014 after spells with Soccerlens and the Press Association as a digital journalist and copywriter. A former East Midlands sports correspondent and Bwin tipster, he is a graduate of both the University of York and University of Sheffield, with a Masters in web journalism from the latter.