Good evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole
for matchday two of the 2015-16 Champions League
as Porto host Chelsea
at the Estadio Do Dragao. These two are the favourites to progress from Group G, but it is Chelsea who already hold a two-point advantage following matchday one. They will be looking to make it two wins from two tonight, while Porto are searching for their first win of the campaign. Let's start with a look at some team news...
PORTO STARTING XI:
Casillas; Maxi, Maicon
, Marcano, Martins Indi; Danilo, Neves, Imbula; Brahimi, Aboubakar, Andre
PORTO SUBS: Helton, Layun, Evandro, Corona, Bueno, Osvaldo
CHELSEA STARTING XI:
Begovic; Ivanovic, Zouma, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Mikel, Fabregas; Ramires, Willian
, Pedro; Diego Costa
CHELSEA SUBS: Blackman, Baba Rahman, Terry, Matic, Loftus-Cheek, Hazard, Kenedy
What can we make of those two teams, then? Well, there is only really one place to start as far as Porto are concerned, and that is with a record-breaking Iker Casillas. The former Real Madrid stalwart will make his 152nd Champions League appearance this evening, taking him clear of Xavi in the all-time list of appearances for the competition. That really is a staggering tally for such an elite competition, and he will be extra keen to keep a clean sheet tonight having been controversially dropped by Jose Mourinho
during their time together in Madrid.
In all, the hosts have made four changes to the side that drew with Moreirense on Friday, with one of those coming in defence. Bruno Martins Indi comes in at the back in place of Miguel Layun, who drops to the bench. Maxi, Maicon, who scored in that draw last week, and Marcano, who was suspended on matchday one, stay in the back four.
Herrera and Corona have made way in midfield, meanwhile, with Neves and Imbula coming in in their stead. Porto are expected to employ a 4-3-3 tactic this evening, with those two sitting in midfield with Danilo and the width being provided by Brahimi, who has overcome a knee injury to start tonight, and Andre Andre
The main dangerman for the Chelsea defence to worry about will be Vincent Aboubakar, who was rested on Friday but returns to lead the line today. He scored both of Porto's goals in the draw with Dynamo Kiev on matchday one and also has four in the league to his name already, taking his overall tally for the season to six goals in seven outings. The way Chelsea have been defending of late, he will be confident of improving that record further.
Speaking of that Chelsea defence, Jose Mourinho
has chosen to keep faith with the back five that started the match against Newcastle at the weekend, which means that captain John Terry once again misses out. He will watch on from the sidelines as Zouma is preferred to partner Cahill, despite the young French defender being at fault for Newcastle's opening goal in that game. Ivanovic's form has been questionable to say the least so far this season, but he captains the side tonight, while Begovic continues between the sticks with Courtois still sidelined.
Terry is not the only big-name player to be benched this evening, with Mourinho opting to leave both Nemanja Matic and Eden Hazard out as well. The latter of those is the more surprising of the two considering just how much damage an in-form Hazard can do, but the Belgian has been a long way below his best so far this season. This could very well be the wake-up call he needs to rediscover the sort of form that saw him named the best player in the Premier League last term.
Mikel comes into midfield in place of Matic, while Oscar also joins Hazard in dropping out from the side that drew with Newcastle. Willian, the scorer of the rather fortuitous equaliser in that game, which was almost a carbon copy of his goal against Maccabi on matchday one, incidentally, comes in behind the striker alongside Ramires, who made a real difference off the bench at St James' Park and scored a screamer to get his side back into it.
The familiar figure of Diego Costa leads the line for Chelsea, although these European nights will be the only chance we get to see him in a Chelsea shirt while he serves the remaining game of a domestic ban. He comes in for Loic Remy up front and, having finally opened his Champions League account for Chelsea with a stunning volley on matchday one, will be hoping to continue that sort of form in a very difficult setting tonight.
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Scoring goals is no mean feat at the Estadio Do Dragao, though, as far as visiting teams are concerned. Porto have an incredible record in front of their fans and, coupled with Chelsea's struggles so far this season, plenty of money will be going on the hosts as a result. They have not been beaten here in any competition since December of last year, winning each of their 17 games on their own patch since then. It really is one of the toughest places to come in Europe, without a doubt.
If 17 consecutive victories doesn't give enough of a sense of the challenge in front of Chelsea this evening, Porto's defensive record here at the Estadio Do Dragao is even more staggering. Of visiting teams, only Bayern Munich have scored here since January, and even they were beaten 3-1 on that occasion. That is a run of 13 matches with just one goal conceded, including six clean sheets in a row coming into this match.
In all, they have conceded just three goals in their last 17 home matches, keeping 14 clean sheets along the way. They have not conceded a home league goal since mid-December, while in the Champions League their unbeaten record here goes back seven outings since October 2013. In all European competition, that run stretches back 10 games.
In all competitions Porto come into this match unbeaten in 12, since their 6-1 hammering at the hands of Bayern Munich in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final last year. They have kept seven clean sheets in those 12 matches, while this season they are unbeaten in their seven outings so far. In terms of the Champions League, that loss to Bayern is their only defeat in 13 - a run that goes back to December 2013.
Unsurprisingly, Porto top the domestic table in Portugal having picked up 14 points from six outings. They were let off the hook a little at the weekend when their 2-2 draw with Moreirense handed Sporting the chance to go top, but the Lisbon outfit could also only manage a point. Those two are the only two remaining unbeaten sides in the Primeira Liga, while no team has conceded fewer than Porto's four.
Porto were the victims of a late equaliser on Friday, and that was also the case on matchday one of this competition when they were held to a point by Dynamo Kiev. The Ukrainian side netted in the 89th minute to earn a share of the spoils there, cancelling out Aboubakar's brace, the second of which had come just eight minutes earlier. That leaves them second in Group G after one match, but they will still be confident of progressing.
Manager Julen Lopetegui
served a touchline ban in that game against Kiev, but he will be back in the dugout tonight for the hosts, who have a decent pedigree in this competition. They have lifted the trophy on two occasions, in 1986-87 and 2003-04, the latter of which came under now Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, of course.
It is not Mourinho's first homecoming since leaving the Estadio Do Dragao for his first stint at Chelsea more than a decade ago, but it will still be an emotional occasion for the Chelsea boss. He only spent two years at Porto, but in that short time he guided the club to two domestic titles, the domestic cup, the UEFA Cup, and most memorably of all the Champions League.
He is a lot greyer than he was back then, however, and for good reason right now. His Chelsea side have made a terrible start to the defence of their Premier League title and sit down in 14th place having amassed just eight points from a possible 21 so far. They trail leaders Manchester United by eight points already, and it has been suggested in some quarters that they are already out of the title race this season. It is dangerous to ever count them and Mourinho out, but things certainly need to improve quickly.
It looked like they might be getting back on track when they picked up consecutive victories over Maccabi, Arsenal and Walsall, but their result at the weekend was another hugely disappointing one. In truth, even those games they won weren't particularly impressive. Maccabi provided very little opposition, Arsenal were eventually reduced to nine men on the day and Walsall currently reside in League One, so failure to emerge without three wins from that run would have been particularly poor.
Even so, Mourinho wouldn't have been happy to see his side's best winning streak of the season come to an end against winless Newcastle on Saturday. The Magpies took advantage of another lacklustre showing by the Blues to move 2-0 up, but goals from Ramires and Willian in the last 15 minutes rescued a point for the champions.
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If Mourinho is looking for positives, there are a few to be found. His showed showed good character to come back from two goals down, and they have now found the back of the net 12 times in their last four outings. Indeed, only four teams in the Premier League have scored more goals than Chelsea so far, but it is not at that end of the field where their main problems lie. Only rock-bottom Sunderland have conceded more than Chelsea's 14 - a tally it took Mourinho's side 19 games to reach last term.
Chelsea are unbeaten in four games in all competitions now, but they have also won just four of their 10 outings this season, including the Community Shield - certainly not good enough for a team hoping to challenge on all fronts. Away from home they have won just two of their last six games, one of which was against Walsall and the other was a rather fortuitous victory over West Brom.
It is a similar story on the road in this competition too. Chelsea have won just two of their last eight Champions League away games, although one of victories did come in Portugal against Sporting last season. Their 4-0 win over Maccabi on matchday one extended their unbeaten streak in this competition to nine games having not lost at all last term despite being dumped out in the last 16.
PREDICTION: We're 10 minutes from kickoff at the Estadio Do Dragao, which means that it is time for a prediction! Porto's home record simply cannot be overlooked and, while they don't often come up against a team of Chelsea's quality, the visitors' best players are either out of form, not playing or both. Chelsea would perhaps ordinarily be favourites tonight, but for me the hosts edge it. I wouldn't be too surprised to see a draw, but I'm going to go for a 2-1 victory for Porto.
These two side shave met six times in the Champions League overall, and it is Chelsea who hold the edge in the head-to-head record. They have won four of the six encounters, with Porto managing just the one victory. Their record here at the Estadio Do Dragao is dead even though, with one win apiece and a draw.
In all Porto have faced English opposition 30 times in Europe, and their record is pretty poor over that time, with just six wins and 16 losses. However, again it is a different story at home. All of those six victories have come here at the Estadio Do Dragao, while only three of the defeats have happened in front of their own fans. Chelsea, meanwhile, have a fine record against POrtuguese sides, winning nine of their 11 meetings in Europe, including victory over Benfica in the 2013 Europa League final. In the Champions League, they have a win percentage of 80% (eight from 10 games), which is their highest ratio against any nation from which they have played teams 10 or more times.
The last time these two sides met was back in November 2009 when they were once again drawn together in the group stages. Chelsea emerged victorious on that occasion, with Nicolas Anelka getting the only goal of the game for Carlo Ancelotti's side here. That is one of eight consecutive Chelsea victories against Portuguese opposition.
Right, the players are out and ready to go here. The anthem is played and the atmosphere is electric ahead of another night of special Champions League action.
KICKOFF: Here we go then! Porto get us underway at the Estadio Do Dragao as they look to pick up their first European win of the campaign.
SAVE! The inclusion of the dangerous Brahimi is a real boost for Porto tonight, and he gets the first shot of day off, turning well before curling a left-footer into the arms of Begovic.
Bright start from the hosts as they come forward again, with Aboubakar this time lining up Cahill before sliding a reverse pass in towards Andre Andre, but he just can't collect it.
UPDATE: There has been an early goal in the other match in Group G, where Dynamo Kiev have taken the lead against Maccabi Tel Aviv. That puts them level with Chelsea on four points as things stand, but there is still a long way to go tonight.
SAVE! Very smart save from Casillas down low to his left. Chelsea break quickly after Brahimi was denied a free kick, with Costa racing down the left having got a lucky bounce. He beat Maicon once but saw no-one in the box, so beat the defender again before dropping the ball back to Fabregas. The midfielder hits it sweetly, but Casillas is able to turn it past the post.
Brahimi has looked sharp for Porto already tonight. He is playing out on the left at the moment and, with Ivanovic struggling for form right now, that could be a productive area for the hosts.
Chelsea have established a foothold in this game in will be pretty content with the opening 10 minutes so far. They have come the closest yet through Fabregas's effort, but still no real chances for either side.
Aboubakar picks the ball up around 25 yards from goal and gets a shot away, but he doesn't catch the effort well and it trickles comfortably wide of the far post.
CHANCE! The first big chance of the night falls to the visitors, and they probably should be ahead! Costa nods the ball down for Willian, who threads his pass through the middle for Pedro. The former Barcelona man takes the ball in his stride, but doesn't catch his shot right with only Casillas to beat and the keeper makes the save.
Very shaky defending from Ivanovic, whose aerial dominance seems to have completely deserted him this season. He gets a diving header to a corner, but only puts it straight up into the air, forcing Begovic to come and punch it.
Once again Aboubakar is able to pick the ball up and turn just outside the Chelsea box, only to see his shot blocked. Chelsea need to be quicker to close these players down, though.
YELLOW CARD! The first card of the night goes to Martins Indi, and he can have no complaints for what was a nasty challenge on the ankle of Pedro.
Chelsea would be content with a draw here, you feel. This is such a tough place to come and, with his side in the sort of form they are in, a point would be a decent result for Jose Mourinho's side.
Ivanovic really is looking shaky again here. He gives the ball away right on the edge of his own area before diving in on Aboubakar with the type of challenge that gives the referee a decision to make. It was a good tackle in the end, but some referees may have given a free kick there.
YELLOW CARD! Marcano is the second name in the book, and once again it is the correct decision from the ref as the defender scythed Costa down.
Fabregas floats the resulting free kick towards the back post where Cahill is waiting, but the defender's header back across the face of goal drops a few yards wide of the far post.
Costa has led the line well for Chelsea so far tonight. He has been involved in one or two skirmishes, as ever, but he has held the ball up effectively and taken a number of players on.
Good play from Maxi Pereira, who picks the ball up on the right before ghosting past Willian far too easily. He looks to go for goal himself, but his shot takes a deflection off Azpilicueta and goes behind for a corner.
More fine play from Costa as he takes the ball down on his chest before showing great feet to dance away from two players on the edge of the box. His eventual effort is blocked, but he continues to look dangerous here.
SHOT! Quick break from Porto as they win the ball back on the halfway line. Brahimi collects possession and finds Aboubakar, who cuts inside from the right and is given plenty of space to shoot. He curls one towards the top corner, but it ends up high and wide.
Another effort from Porto as they come forward again, with Aboubakar touching the ball in to Andre, who in turn lays it back for Maxi. The full-back's first-time effort is a long way wide of the target, but it was another good move from the hosts.
It must be said that Chelsea are playing rather conservatively here. They aren't getting up in support of Costa quickly enough, which is leaving the striker isolated.
GOAL! Porto 1-0 Chelsea (Andre Andre)
First blood to Porto! It is Brahimi who creates the goal, jinking past a beleaguered Ivanovic far too easily and getting his shot away. Begovic pulls off the initial save, but the ball falls straight to Andre Andre, who converts into the gaping goal. The Estadio Do Dragao erupts, and Chelsea find themselves in trouble once again.
YELLOW CARD! Gary Cahill becomes the first Chelsea man in the book this evening for a foul on Aboubakar. From the resulting free kick Maicon goes for goal from inside his own half, but his speculative effort is well off target.
Porto will be trying to get the ball to Brahimi whenever possible. He looks to have Ivanovic's number down that flank.
Brilliant play from Ramires as he skips past two defenders before eventually being brought down by Danilo, gifting the visitors a free kick in about as perfect a position as they could hope for...
GOAL! Porto 1-1 Chelsea (Willian)
Chelsea level things up with the last kick of the half, and it is another free kick from Willian! He goes to the goalkeeper's side, but Casillas is left rooted to the spot as the ball nestles into the corner. That may have changed the half-time team talk.
HALF TIME: Porto 1-1 Chelsea
What an end to the half for Chelsea! They go into the break level courtesy of that late, late strike from Willian following a pretty even first half against Porto. The hosts have probably had the better of things from open play, but Chelsea have edged it in terms of chances and neither side can have many complaints at it being all square at the halfway stage.
The opening goal arrived just six minutes before the interval courtesy of Andre Andre, although the main bulk of the credit must go to Brahimi, who danced past Ivanovic having cut inside from the left flank. He went for goal himself but saw his effort saved by Begovic, only for the ball to fall kindly for Andre to stroke into the empty net.
Willian levelled things up with the last kick of the half, however, stroking a free kick past a statuesque Iker Casillas. The Brazilian went to the goalkeeper's side and planted his effort right into the corner, although the positioning of the Porto keeper should be called into question.
Casillas had earlier made a fine save to deny Pedro, however, on what is a record-breaking 152nd Champions League appearance for the keeper. Willian had threaded the ball through for the Chelsea man, who only had the keeper to beat. He didn't catch his effort quite right, but it was still a good, important stop from Casillas.
The Spanish keeper has also denied Fabregas with a smart stop, but clear-cut chances have been relatively few and far between for both sides. Porto have certainly looked capable of getting another goal, with Aboubakar and especially Brahimi looking dangerous. The latter looks like he has the beating of Ivanovic, and if Porto target that flank then they could get a lot more joy.
Chelsea themselves need to improve. Diego Costa has led the line well, however, and if the visitors can get more men up in support of him then they could stand a chance of getting the win here. They weren't too keen to do that in the first half, however, and the feeling was that Mourinho would be happy with a point.
KICKOFF: Chelsea get us back underway for the second half, with the match perfectly poised ahead of the coming 45 minutes.
CHANCE! Early chance for Chelsea in the second half as Willian and Azpilicueta link up well down the left flank before finding Costa inside. He finds himself in a good position inside the box, but his shot is eventually blocked and the resulting corner comes to nothing.
At the other end Brahimi wins a free kick and takes it quickly to Aboubakar, who in turn feeds it on to Neves. He tries to bend one into the top corner from 25 yards out, but can't get enough curl on it as it flies wide.
Ivanovic gets caught out again here as a long ball over the top leaves him on his backside. Brahimi races on to it before moving into the box and cutting past Fabregas before winning a corner.
GOAL! Porto 2-1 Chelsea (Maicon)
Porto are back in front, and it is the captain Maicon who gets the goal. It is another rather soft one from a Port point of view as the skipper just jogs towards the ball from the goalline before sneaking a fine backward header in at the near post. It all seemed far too easy.
OFF THE BAR! Almost an instant reply from Chelsea, and what an effort it is from Costa. He cuts inside and curls a beauty towards the top corner that has Casillas beaten all ends up. However, it rattles the underside of the crossbar and bounces away.
CHANCES! Fantastic pass from ABoubakar to find Brahimi, who once again has escaped the attention of Ivanovic. This time he takes too long over his shot, however, and Ivanovic gets back to make a crucial block. Moments later a blocked effort deflects into a dangerous area before being cleared from almost underneath the Chelsea crossbar. The visitors are on the ropes a little here!
CHANCE! A chance for Chelsea at the other end now as Willian skips past Maicon and has Costa completely free in the middle of the box, but his low cross is just too far in front of the striker.
Hazard has just been sent for a jog down the touchline, and I can't imagine it will be too long before we see him here if things stay like this. The Belgian with a point to prove could be a very dangerous proposition.
CHELSEA SUB: Indeed, there is the change, and it is an attacking one as Eden Hazard replaces Mikel.
CHANCE! Almost an immediate impact from Hazard as Fabregas wins the ball back and gives it to Pedro, who in turn threads the pass through for Hazard. The Belgian gets to the ball in front of Maicon, who dives in and is very fortunate not to give away a penalty. Hazard is perhaps a little too honest for his own good as he evades the challenge, but that takes him too far wide and he can only find the side-netting. Credit to him for staying on his feet, but that would have been a certain penalty had he gone down.
YELLOW CARD! Azpilicueta is the latest player to go into the book for a cynical foul on Andre Andre. That is a caution all day long.
Chelsea are beginning to run out of time here. They are looking increasingly frustrated and very little is coming off for them right now. Costa has been quiet in this second half, while again some of their other key players - the likes of Fabregas and Ivanovic - are below par.
SHOT! Beautiful turn from Imbula as his first touch takes him away from two defenders and gets him facing goal. His effort is not bad either, but Begovic always seems confident as it flies over the bar.
CHANCES! Oh my word, Porto have a string of shots here but Chelsea hang on! First Imbula stings the palms of Begovic before Brahimi gets past Ivanovic and flashes the ball across the face of goal. It comes back out to Danilo, whose effort is deflected over.
CHANCE! This is some serious pressure from the hosts. From the resulting corner again Brahimi gets the ball and sneaks his way down the left channel before being thwarted by Begovic at the near post.
CHELSEA SUBS: Something needs to change for Chelsea here, and Mourinho makes his remaining to subs in an attempt to make that happen. Kenedy and Matic replace Pedro and Ramires.
CHANCE! Having weathered a storm at one end, Chelsea have a great chance to level things again at the other! Casillas comes out to claim a corner but gets nowhere near it, and Ivanovic really should tuck his header away. However, the stand-in skipper plants his effort wide of the target.
Fantastic play from Aboubakar as he shows pace and power once again to relieve some pressure. He has been brilliant tonight, as has Brahimi.
PORTO SUB: The hosts make their first change of the evening as young Ruben Neves is replaced by Evandro.
YELLOW CARD! Magnificent play from Imbula in midfield as he somehow gets past four Chelsea players with very little room to work with. Matic eventually gets a yellow card in his attempts to stop the rampant midfielder.
PORTO SUB: Another change for the hosts as Watford loanee Miguel Layun comes on in place of Andre Andre, scorer of Porto's first goal tonight.
OFF THE POST! So nearly a third for Porto! It is a corner that causes the problems again for Chelsea as Danilo wins the header at the near post, glancing his effort against the upright.
YELLOW CARD! Danilo follows that up with a shirt tug on Hazard which earns him a place in the book. Once again, no complaints with that one.
Twice in quick succession Ivanovic has a chance to put the ball into the box, but on both occasions his cross was poor. I hate to sound like I'm picking on the full-back, but he has had another shocker tonight.
Chelsea are getting a little desperate now. Matic, who scored a screamer against Everton recently, goes for a similar thunderbolt here but only succeeds in drilling it well off target.
PORTO SUB: A third and final change for the home side, and it is the excellent Brahimi who makes way to be replaced by Dani Osvaldo.
YELLOW CARD! Imbula becomes the latest player in the book for a trip on Willian. That is the seventh yellow card of the night, but each of them have been deserved.
PENALTY SHOUT! Big penalty shout for Chelsea as Costa flicks the ball inside, only to see the arm of Marcano knock it out of play. There wasn't much space between the players, but I've certainly seen them given!
We are into the first of three added minutes here, and the pressure is really starting to build on the Porto defence.
FULL TIME: Porto 2-1 Chelsea
Kenedy is so close to rescuing a point with the last kick of the match, but the crowd erupts as the full-time whistle goes and Porto run out 2-1 winners over Chelsea. It is a famous victory for the Portuguese side, and they deserve it too. They look more than capable of winning Group G and they will be a threat to any team here at the Estadio Do Dragao.
It was the hosts who opened the scoring when Andre Andre swept home a rebound, but Willian levelled things up with the last kick of the first half to send the two sides into the break all square. Maicon got what proved to be the winner with his 52nd-minute header, although that was not the last of the drama as both sides hit the woodwork and Chelsea were denied a late penalty.
That is all we have time for this evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole
for another memorable night of Champions League action as Chelsea slump to their fifth defeat of the season - more than they suffered throughout the entire 2014-15 campaign. I will leave you with our match report
, and be sure to stick around for reaction, analysis and player ratings. We're back for tomorrow's fixtures too, so be sure to check back in with us then. From me, though, it is goodbye for now!