Porto added more misery to Chelsea’s troubles as the Blues were comfortably beaten by two goals to one inside a raucous Estadio do Dragao.
Mourinho, on his return to the club where he made his name, could only see his star-studded side lost to the exceptional pace and efficiency shown by goals by Andre and Maicon, despite Willian’s best efforts.
It means the Blues sit in third place in their group, and in danger of making this group harder than it seemed, with Chelsea the clear favourites to be the group winners.
Mourinho made especially clear to failing stars that this squad, unlike 2004/05, has no untouchables owing to a lack of consistency, and it showed with Hazard, Matic and again Terry benched. Ivanovic, perhaps due some time on the bench himself, was afforded another captain’s start.
It was a slow and sloppy first half, in which Chelsea were clearly content to settle with the draw against a tough opponent at a tough ground. Costa, free to play in European competitions, had the arduous task of holding the ball up but service was limited for him, with Chelsea eager to protect their defence.
Where Chelsea did get high up, they were goal-scoring opportunities. Fabregas tried his luck early on against Casillas but the ex-Real Madrid ace did well to get down low to stop his old Barcelona rival.
It would be the same outcome when Casillas faced another old rival in Pedro, who was fed through but could not sort his feet out and Casillas mopped up.
But whilst Casillas was tested, Begovic was tested far more. Brahimi was proving to be a nightmare as Ivanovic was once again caught out, and despite Begovic bailing him out with a superb stop, the ball fell kindly to Andre, who volleyed home.
The defensive strategy deployed by Mourinho now looked foolish as Porto looked like they had another goal in them, but Chelsea were not done themselves.
Ramires waltzed his way to Porto’s penalty area and was brought down illegally, producing a very favourable free-kick. Willian, who has scored two from free-kicks recently, had a cleaner sight of goal this time. Casillas was poor in his judgement and the ball flew past the wall and him.
Mourinho was emotionless but doubtless to say it would change his half-time team-talk.
The hope would be short-lived. Chelsea were on the back foot from the off and would have been relieved to see the ball go out for a corner kick, but it would end in a goal anyway. Maicon’s slight run at the near post beat Ramires and his deft header fooled Begovic. The inquest continues into Chelsea’s dodgy defence as yet again the innocent arms were raised by all defenders, in suggestion of “not my fault”.
Costa nearly rescued his defence but his shot from outside the box crashed off the underside of the crossbar with Casillas well beaten.
Later, Willian was free on the left-wing and all his square ball needed was Costa to slide in, but the Spaniard refused and Fabregas was too far behind to pick up.
Hazard came on and nearly equalised straight away, but a more selfish Hazard should have gone down in the box, rather than attempt the shot, as it would have been a certain penalty he skipped over.
At the other end there was no respite for Ivanovic’s men. Imbula and Brahimi were a constant handful as the game turned ugly, with cynical fouls by Cahill and Matic, who would join the action. Begovic saved Chelsea from the penalty box ping-pong.
With the game increasingly stretched, Porto sat back and, buoyed on by the home crowd, saw the game out, though Costa should have had a penalty in injury time.
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Man of the Match
ASMIR BEGOVIC: Were it not for Begovic, Chelsea could have lost by four of five, with the former Stoke man getting a good hand to many Porto shots. Having said that, Begovic is hardly a Cech, both in terms of goalkeeping prowess and leadership quality, and was beaten far too easily at his near post for the game’s winner, albeit not helped by a leaky defence. 6/10
Mourinho was publicly kind to his men: “I think it was a good performance with two ridiculous mistakes. Sometimes you are not punished. We were punished. Defensively we had no problems, and the defenders they played well. But we made two ridiculous mistakes. We watched dozens of repetitions of Porto taking corners. We were completely ready for that.”
Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had four years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.
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