Chelsea overturned a one-goal deficit from the first leg to advance to the quarter-final of the Champions League at Borussia Dortmund’s expense.
After a ten-minute delay to kick-off, goals from Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz secured an impressive 2-0 victory for Chelsea, who could have easily had a few more goals on another night.
Sterling got through on goal after the first 90 seconds but, when presented with the chance to chip goalkeeper Alexander Meyer, the England international appeared to lose all confidence and will have been thankful to see the offside flag spare his blushes.
Meyer had to get down well to deny Joao Felix soon after, before Havertz struck the side netting in an energetic start from Chelsea.
Kepa Arrizabalaga was the next goalkeeper to step up, extending to keep out an excellent free-kick from Marco Reus as Dortmund started to enjoy more possession.
Chelsea nearly took the lead on the half-hour mark as Havertz’s half-volley beat Meyer but struck the post and fizzed across the goal-line and away. The German had the ball in the back of the net ten minutes later but another offside flag came to Dortmund’s rescue.
The best chance of the half came soon after as Ben Chilwell’s crossed free-kick found Kalidou Koulibaly unmarked at the back post, but the centre-back got his feet all wrong and managed to clear the ball when it looked easier to score.
The Blues’ well-deserved opener finally came shortly before the interval. Chilwell’s cross found Sterling who mis-hit his first effort, but he regained his composure and thundered through a crowd to tie things up on aggregate at the break.
Another fast start to the second half saw Chelsea awarded a penalty after just a few minutes. Chilwell’s cross struck the arm of Marius Wolf and VAR urged the awarding of a spot kick, but Havertz’s effort crashed back off the post. However, encroachment saw the German handed a second chance, and this time, he made no mistake.
Dortmund nearly profited from some penalty-box chaos as Jude Bellingham tapped agonisingly wide from just a few yards out, reminding Chelsea that this tie was not yet over.
Conor Gallagher had the ball in the back of an open net with 15 minutes to go but the offside flag was Chelsea’s nemesis once again, with assister Sterling once again deemed to have gone too early.
It was a nervy end to the game for Chelsea, who were regularly pinned back in their own box, but the Blues never really looked troubled as they held on for what could be an enormous victory in the Graham Potter era.
Chelsea player ratings (3-4-3)
GK: Kepa Arrizabalaga – 6/10 – A nice save from Reus’ free-kick in an otherwise comfortable evening.
CB: Wesley Fofana – 7/10 – Another composed defensive showing. His recovery pace was crucial to Chelsea’s entire setup.
CB: Kalidou Koulibaly – 8/10 – Would have had a higher rating if he hadn’t fluffed his glorious chance in the first half. Was a real monster in the air.
CB: Marc Cucurella – 7/10 – Cucurella’s best showing in a Chelsea shirt without question. Defended on the front foot and played like he had a point to prove – which he absolutely did.
RM: Reece James – 7/10 – Looked a little scared of Guerreiro early on but gradually grew in confidence. Chelsea looked a different side when he woke up.
CM: Mateo Kovacic – 7/10 – A quality showing in midfield. Great press resistance as Dortmund tried to fight their way back into the game.
CM: Enzo Fernandez – 7/10 – A bit slow to start the game but relished the ugly side of things when he was outnumbered against Dortmund’s three-man midfield.
LM: Ben Chilwell – 8/10 – A constant threat down the left wing. Some excellent deliveries which could have easily earned him a handful of assists. Really impressive defensively as well.
RW: Raheem Sterling – 8/10 – After fluffing the first effort for his goal, Sterling flashed his composure to thunder home the opener. Could have had a few more but struggled to beat the offside trap.
ST: Kai Havertz – 8/10 – Excellent. Some brilliant work to link midfield and attack, ripping Dortmund’s defence to shreds with his selfless movement. Unfortunate to see two strikes hit the post but deserved the good fortune that came with the retake of his penalty.
LW: Joao Felix – 7/10 – Buzzed around with real energy to combine with Havertz and Sterling. Not as impactful as the other two but still managed to cause plenty of problems.
Conor Gallagher (67′ for Felix) – 7/10 – Roared around with brilliant energy to disrupt Dortmund’s attempts to get back into the game.
Christian Pulisic (82′ for Sterling) – N/A
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (82′ for Kovacic) – N/A
Deniz Zakaria (87′ for Fernandez) – N/A