Posted by News Express | 10 December 2015 | 3,192 times
It was a big relief last night for under-fire manager Jose Mourinho as his struggling Chelsea side sparkled brightly at Stamfod Bridge, beating visiting Porto of Portugal 2-0, with Willian sealing victory as the Blues topped Group G of the 2015 UEFA Champions League.
Arsenal, Dynamo, Gent and Roma also went through as the group stages came to an end.
A visibly relieved Mourinho effusively praised his Chelsea players for being “brave to accept the challenge” of going for victory against a Porto side who found elimination tough to take.
He said: “What I am particularly happy about is the fact that we only needed one point to qualify but the players accepted the challenge of playing to win. That is not easy when the moment is bad and the results are so negative, when the pressure is so high; they were brave to accept that challenge.
“What gives me confidence is we have played OK in the last couple of months; the results are not as good as the work we do every day or the way the players play. When we score that first goal the picture is different, we are more calm, more relaxed, more in control of the game, and the situation for Porto becomes more difficult.”
Arsenal – thanks to Olivier Giroud’s hat-trick – completed a memorable night for English football by taking one of the last five round of 16 berths after hammering hosts Olympiacos 3-0.
Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Barcelona
Lionel Messi’s 80th UEFA Champions League goal – leaving him eight behind Cristiano Ronaldo – was cancelled out by Javier Hernández as the holders, already assured of top spot, dropped points in Group E for the second time.
Roma 0-0 BATE Borisov
The Giallorossi could not find a breakthrough and picked up just one win in the section but nevertheless advanced with a joint-record low of six points.
Giroud relieved to qualify
Olympiacos 0-3 Arsenal
Olivier Giroud’s first hat-trick for the club gave the Gunners the result they needed to leapfrog their hosts and qualify for the last 16 for the 16th season running. Arsène Wenger's side had no points after their first two fixtures.
Dinamo Zagreb 0-2 Bayern München
Robert Lewandowski's double moved him into outright second place – albeit four behind Cristiano Ronaldo – in the race to be seasonal top scorer, Thomas Müller later missing a penalty. Bayern were already group winners.
Mourinho: Win good for Chelsea pride
Chelsea 2-0 Porto
Iván Marcano’s own goal and Willian's fifth strike of the campaign secured the Blues’ progress as Group G winners, eliminating manager José Mourinho's former employers in the process.
Dynamo Kyiv 1-0 Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Dynamo are though to the last 16 for the first time since 1999/2000, Denys Garmash’s solitary effort enough to clinch the win required for a top-two finish.
Gent 2-1 Zenit
Gent march into the knockout stage in their debut season in the competition proper, Danijel Milicevic's decider also preventing Zenit from becoming only the seventh team to win all six group games.
Valencia 0-2 Lyon
Valencia suffered defeat in Gary Neville’s first match in charge – Maxwel Cornet and Alexandre Lacazette on the mark for already eliminated Lyon – to finish four points behind Gent in the race for second.
•Photo shows Chelsea players celebrating a goal . . . last night at Stamford Bridge, England.
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