Chelsea stuttered to a 0-1 loss against FC Porto on Tuesday night, but still progressed to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
The Blues had already established a two away goal advantage at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán in the first leg, and the Portuguese club never really looked like overturning that.
It’d be fair to say the London side never looked like stretching it, either. One shot on target all night proves that more than words from this writer ever could, although you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Chelsea fan who is too worried tonight.
Right at the death, there was still time for Mehdi Taremi to light up the tie with an extraordinary overhead kick – but it was too little too late for the ‘visitors’.
Perhaps the most enlightening stat from the game is that there was a foul every 174 seconds in the first half – evidence that the game descended into a scrappy encounter that suited Chelsea down to the ground, as neither could grasp any sense of momentum.
Attention now turns to Anfield tomorrow night. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool must overturn a 3-1 deficit to Real Madrid if they are to meet Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final.
Edouard Mendy – 6/10
Nerves seemed to be showing in the first ten minutes when he passed straight to an opposition player in the box. The Senegalese giant made his first save midway through the second half with relative ease, and claimed numerous balls into the box with little bother. Could do nothing about Taremi’s wonder goal at the death.
César Azpilicueta – 6/10
His calming influence undoubtedly played a huge role in keeping it a closed shop at the back – until the dying embers. If anyone in this group of players deserves to hold ‘Ol’ Big Ears’ aloft in May, its this man – an impeccable servant to the club, and the Champions League would be just reward for his loyalty.
Thiago Silva – 8/10
His reading of the game was exceptional as per. It’ll be understated in many quarters, but this was a performance of the utmost efficiency and class. Being the perfectionist and student of the game he is, tonight will be of some catharsis after the early red card at West Brom.
Antonio Rüdiger – 7/10
The best compliment that can be given to Antonio Rüdiger of late is that he’s simply not a talking point. For a man who was becoming much maligned for a string of high-profile errors last season, he is maturing into a commanding presence.
Reece James – 8/10 
The England right-back showed the heart of a lion tonight. The ‘visitors’ didn’t fancy their chances against him, and James was all too happy to keep it neat and tidy under little pressure. An absolute rock at the back when crosses came in.
N’Golo Kanté – 7/10 
Kanté returned to the fold despite not being 100% after injury – but you wouldn’t know it. Simply did not stop chasing the ball, and his heatmap no doubt looks like a Jackson Pollock painting this evening. Less effective going forward, but that’s never been his primary function – and it certainly wasn’t the game that required it.
Jorginho – 8/10
His denigrators will be the first to point out his lack of pace, but he was quickest to the danger when he made a crucial tackle following Mendy’s mishap early on. Was guilty of dwelling on the ball too long on occasion, but wasn’t scared to hit Porto hard in the tackle. For a man known for dictating the ebb and flow of a match through his passing, it was his warrior spirit that did the dictating here. Along with his French partner in midfield, it’s a reminder of how vital experience is on Champions League nights like this.
Ben Chilwell – 7/10
Wasn’t afraid to bomb forward on the left flank, perhaps spurred on by his excellent goal in the reverse tie. Porto favoured his side when attacking, and thus asked the England left-back many questions – for which he had most of the answers, save for a few shaky moments.
Mason Mount – 6/10 
By his lofty standards, this was an ordinary performance from Chelsea’s anointed talisman. The energy and smartness of his pressing was no doubt important in the final analysis, but he struggled to get anything fluent of note going in the offensive third. Looked exhausted by the time he was subbed – fans will hope he can rest up before the big FA Cup semi final against Manchester City this weekend.
Christian Pulisic – 7/10
Looked to make things happen all night, and whilst they didn’t, he looked sharp and channelled any frustration from ridiculously persistent fouls into being proactive and direct. For a man who has spent so many lengthy spells on the sidelines, getting 90 minutes under his belt in which he looks explosive and ‘up for it’ is a win in itself for the Blues.
Kai Havertz – 6/10 
Pepe made his presence felt by leaving the German in a heap just two minutes in, following an errant elbow to the head – and it set the tone for Havertz’s night. His hold-up play got better as the game wore on and space opened up, but on the whole it was hardly the heights of Crystal Palace. One of the hardest workers on the pitch, but was completely isolated up front as the Pensioners looked happy to hold on to their first leg advantage.