Chelsea reached the Champions League quarter-finalsas a first-half goal from Raheem Sterling and a controversial penalty by Kai Havertz overturned a first-leg deficit on Tuesday and propelled them to a 2-1 aggregate win over Borussia Dortmund.
Just as they had in Germany three weeks ago when Dortmund won 1-0, 2021 champions Chelsea squandered chance after chance in the first half, with Germany’s Havertz hitting the post as well as the side netting.
Portugal loanee Joao Felix and defender Kalidou Koulibaly also went close and Sterling had efforts blocked.
But in the 43rd minute Ben Chilwell crossed into the box and found England team mate Sterling.
Sterling airkicked his first effort, then sidestepped Marco Reus and sent his second high into the net to put the teams level on aggregate.
“It was a massive performance,” Sterling told BT Sport. “We had to dig deep. We took our chances. We felt as a team we could do it.”I had a little mis-kick with the first touch but it landed perfectly and allowed us to build on that for our performance.”
Early in the second half a Chilwell cross smacked into the outstretched hand of defender Marius Wolf and Dutch referee Danny Makkelie gave the penalty after being called to the VAR screen.Havertz, taking over as penalty taker from Jorginho who moved to Arsenal in January, hit the keeper’s left-hand post to the relief of the visitors.
The game resumed for a few seconds until VAR alerted Makkelie that Dortmund players had encroached into the area.
Havertz retook the kick and sent the ball the same way but this time it squeezed inside the post to put Chelsea ahead in the tie in the 53rd minute.
“I don’t know what I was thinking (when it hit the post) but the referee let me retake the penalty,” Havertz said. “I was a bit nervous but I scored. I tried to wait and look at the keeper and the second one was a bit easier.”
It was Dortmund’s first defeat following wins in their previous 10 matches and a boost for Chelsea, who have struggled for form under Graham Potter since the turn of the year, dropping to 10th place in the Premier League and losing early in their two domestic cups.
A smiling Potter punched the air and applauded the crowd as his team acknowledged the cheers.
“There was a fantastic feeling in the dressing room,” he said. “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.”
He said he had confidence in Havertz to score but was too nervous to watch.
“I wasn’t watching it but delighted when I heard the roar.
“Taking penalties is not for me, so I am in awe of anybody (who does).”
Brilliant Benfica crush Brugge 5-1
Clinical Benfica thrashed shell-shocked Club Brugge 5-1 with two goals from striker Goncalo Ramos to knock the Belgian side out of the Champions League and reach the quarter-finals 7-1 on aggregate at the Estadio da Luz on Tuesday.
Led by a tireless Joao Mario, who netted a late penalty, and the in-form Ramos, Benfica showed exactly why they are seen in Portugal as the country’s best side since Jose Mourinho’s Porto were crowned European champions 19 years ago.
“We have one objective and it’s winning every game we play going forward,” Rafa Silva, who had opened the scoring late in the first half, told Eleven Sports.
Benfica took control from the start as they pressured their rivals in the heavy rain that poured down in Lisbon.
Joao Mario had goal ruled out by VAR in the first minute for an offside in the build-up and Benfica then wasted several clear chances as the visitors looked well out of their depth.
Struggling in the Belgian league, Brugge were coming off an embarrassing 3-0 loss to lowly Oostende at the weekend and are currently languishing fourth in the standings, having now won only two of their last 15 matches in all competitions.
They were outclassed by a well organised Benfica side who remain unbeaten in this season’s Champions League and have lost only two competitive games this term, both to Braga and one of those on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the Portuguese Cup.
They are on a seven-game winning streak in the Primeira Liga in which they have scoring 18 goals and conceded one.
It was only a matter of time until they took the lead against Brugge with the goal coming in the 38th minute through Rafa Silva, who dribbled past two defenders and fired a left foot strike into the net after a counter-attack.
Ramos then scored either side of the break, the first coming after a brilliant individual effort in which he dribbled past three players inside the box before slotting the ball home.
In the 57th minute, he extended the lead with a first-time shot from Alex Grimaldo’s clever low cross.
Joao Mario scored the fourth from the spot in the 71st after a foul by Abakar Sylla and seven minutes later found substitute David Neres who netted the fifth before Bjorn Meijer struck a brilliant consolation goal for Brugge three minutes from time.
“Things are going well because the team is working hard,” added Rafa Silva, whose side are top of the Primeira Liga.
“We will go game by game, first think about what is next in the Portuguese league on the weekend and winning it. That’s what matters now and we will think about the (Champions League) quarter finals when the time comes.”