Chelsea are through to the last eight of the Champions League after they overturned a 1-0 deficit against Borussia Dortmund by winning their last 16 second-leg tie 2-0 tonight at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues started full of positivity although Dortmund gradually grew into the game and Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa had to pull off a superb stop to keep a Marco Rues free-kick out on 15 minutes.
Chelsea went close on 27 minutes when Kai Havertz’s scuffed effort from the edge of the area hit the post before spinning agonisingly across the face of goal.
A few minutes later Havertz thought he had put the home side ahead with an excellent curling effort from 16 yards out, but VAR stepped in and ruled the goal out for an offside against Raheem Sterling in the build-up.
Chelsea’s struggles in front of goal have been well publicised and nothing summed up this recent phenomenon better than Kalidou Koulibaly sensationally managing to divert the ball away from goal when he was completely free, three yards out from an empty net.
Chelsea’s luck in front of the sticks would finally turn though in the 43rd minute when Sterling hammered a volley into the roof of the net from 12 yards out for what on the balance of play was a deserved lead.
The Blues looked to have blown a glorious chance to double their lead five minutes after the break when Havertz stroked his penalty against the post with the Dortmund ‘keeper between all sides up. However, Havertz would be given a lifeline when he was allowed to retake his spot kick due to encroachment and the German attacker confidently stepped up and fired home at the second time of asking.
Much of the talk pre-match was about Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham and the 19-year-old will surely be raging that all he could do was volley wide when he found himself free inside the Chelsea six-yard box.
Dortmund pushed on in search of a goal that would have sent the tie to extra time but Chelsea defended well and held on for a massive win for their under-fire manager Graham Potter.
Arguably one of Kai Havertz’s best performances in a Chelsea shirt. What a performance… 👏 pic.twitter.com/7XwgDBD7V3
— CFC-Blues (@CFCBlues_com) March 7, 2023
Speaking afterwards Potter paid tribute to his players and admitted it was crucial his side progressed to the next round.
“There is a lot of emotion in the end,” Potter told BT Sport. ”It was tense in the end but the boys played fantastic. I am delighted for them to get the win and great for everyone here.”
“There was a fantastic feeling in the dressing room. We have been through a tough period and this competition means a lot for us. We wanted to progress and get into the last eight and it sets us up for the next few weeks.
“We have to recover and prepare for Saturday when we play Leicester. It is great for the boys, two clean sheets after a tough period. You get that in life and it is about how you respond and the players have been fantastic.
“It was important we put pressure on them and get the crowd with us. It is not easy to do because they are a top team playing with confidence.
“Credit to the players they gave everything and over the two games I thought we deserved to go through.”
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