Mourinho magic dazzles kings of Europe

Chelsea 3 Porto 1
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The Independent Online

So much for Jose Mourinho's assertion that this Champions' League group match against the team he led to the trophy last season would be an emotionless experience.

So much for Jose Mourinho's assertion that this Champions' League group match against the team he led to the trophy last season would be an emotionless experience.

For all his pre-match sang-froid, the Chelsea manager gave every impression of being deeply thrilled by a win which leaves his team just three points away from qualification for the knock-out stages, and his feelings were amply reflected by the bulk of the 39,237 crowd.

Naturally enough, not everyone present was thrilled, and Mourinho was spat upon by one away fan even before the match had begun. "I couldn't see it, but I could understand it," he said. "Some people love me, some people don't love me so much. That's football. That's life."

But by the end of an evening on which an effervescent Chelsea performance had raised home hopes of improving on last season's feat of reaching the semi-finals, the majority of those present felt positively about the man in charge at Stamford Bridge ­ even the bulk of the Porto fans, who accepted the result with placid sportsmanship.

"The mentality of my players is absolutely fantastic," Mourinho said. "We play as a team, every minute, every second of the game.

"In most of the big teams in Europe, where the big players are, they think a little bit more about themselves," he added. "What is amazing is the way my big players played as a unit, for the result. That is the reason why we have played nine matches and not been beaten. We have the right personalities and characters.

"We have beaten the European champions, who were unbeaten in the competition for 12 matches. Also, we had not won in the Champions' League for four games at home, so we have broken through a few barriers," he said. "We are in fantastic condition. The result is great. We have six points and we are in a fantastic position to go into the next round."

On a night when Ricardo Carvalho received an award as the European Defender of the Year from the England coach, Sven Goran Eriksson, Chelsea's manager might have been the second former Porto employee to receive a piece of silverware given that, according to the programme notes, he was due to be honoured for guiding his former club to their European Cup triumph.

Mourinho decided that such a ceremony would detract from the occasion. It took only six minutes, however, to demonstrate that this occasion was in no need of outside assistance, as Chelsea took the lead with a goal of outstanding technical assurance.

Damien Duff, still seeking to establish himself as a regular choice at Stamford Bridge, did his cause no harm at all as he cut in from the left and then deliberately lifted the ball over the head of the covering right back, Bosingwa, to allow Eidur Gudjohnsen to get behind the defence and flick over a cross with the outside of his right boot. Aleksei Smertin drove it home with a low half-volley from just inside the box.

It was a first goal for Chelsea from the man who spent last season on loan at Portsmouth, and it set the match up to confirm Mourinho's hopes of "a beautiful football night".

Didier Drogba, who had claimed two goals in Chelsea's 3-0 away win at Paris St-Germain in their opening group match, produced a third five minutes into the second half following a free-kick which he had earned himself after Ricardo Costa had prevented him from following up his own cheeky backheel flick.

Duff's delivery from the right caused confusion with Jorge Costa slipping over, and Drogba took advantage to nod the ball unchallenged past the stranded goalkeeper.

The arrival of two substitutes, Carlos Alberto and South Africa's Benni McCarthy, just before the hour, re-energised the flagging Porto challenge, and they combined to pull a goal back for the visitors after 66 minutes as Alberto's 35-yarder deflected off John Terry's head and was only punched out by the Chelsea goalkeeper, Petr Cech, to McCarthy, who drove the ball home.

Porto's revival lasted less than three minutes, however, as Terry's diving header at the near post from Lampard's free-kick on the right restored the Chelsea margin.

Chelsea (4-4-2): Cech; Ferreira, Carvalho, Terry, Gallas; Smertin, Makelele, Lampard, Duff (Tiago, 65); Drogba (Geremi, 88), Gudjohnsen (Kezman, 79). Substitutes not used: Cudicini (gk), Johnson, Cole, Huth.

Porto (4-1-3-2): Baia; Bosingwa, Jorge Costa, Pepe, Ricardo Costa; Costinha; Maniche, Diego, Quaresma (McCarthy, 57); Luis Fabiano (Carlos Alberto, 57), Derlei (Postiga, 79). Substitutes not used: Nuno Santo (gk), Emanuel, Leal, Areias.

Referee: H Fandel (Germany).

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