Early advantage, Chelsea.
The Blues defeated FC Porto 2-0 in Wednesday's first leg of their 2021 UEFA Champions League quarterfinal matchup at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium in Seville, Spain. Porto was designated the home side for the game that was played in Spain because of COVID-19 travel restrictions in Portugal and England. Despite the neutral site, away goals were still vital.
Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell scored the goals for Chelsea, while goalkeeper Edouard Mendy did his job to preserve a shutout.
Both sides had concerns entering play.
Chelsea was coming off a stunning 5-2 loss to West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Saturday. Christian Pulisic also suffered a hamstring injury during the defeat, but he was healthy enough to get included in the traveling squad and start on the bench Wednesday.
As for Porto, leading goal scorers Sergio Oliveira and Mehdi Taremi were both suspended for the first leg. Considering they scored three of the four goals in the previous round against Juventus, the club would need to look elsewhere for offense against The Blues.
They felt the absence of their two playmakers in the early going while failing to convert on any of their shots in the first half.
While Porto enjoyed the advantage in the shots category through the opening 45 minutes, Chelsea dominated possession and created the best quality opportunity prior to intermission. Mount dazzled with a reception of a Jorginho pass and a brilliant turn past the defense before unleashing a shot past Agustin Marchesin into the bottom left corner of the net.
The strike in the 32nd minute from the 22-year-old made him Chelsea's youngest goalscorer in the Champions League knockout stage.
It was more of the same for much of the second half with The Blues continuing to control much of the possession but Porto playing well and creating chances and counters. Porto enjoyed a 12-6 advantage in overall shots and a 5-3 advantage in shots on goal, but Mendy and the Chelsea defense made sure to protect their narrow lead.
Chelsea fans waiting on news regarding Pulisic also surely breathed a sigh of relief when he subbed in for Timo Werner in the second half.
He wasn't the only one to provide some relief for The Blues, as Chilwell found the net in the 85th minute after Chelsea missed a golden opportunity to add insurance in the 60th minute and Pulisic hit the crossbar in the 84th.
That was more than enough against a Porto side that struggled to capitalize on their chances throughout the match.
Chelsea will be the home side for the second and final leg Tuesday, which will also take place at Sevilla's home ground. The victor will play the winner of the matchup between Real Madrid and Liverpool in the semifinals.
Real Madrid defeated Liverpool in the first leg at home 3-1 on Tuesday.