At the risk of disrespecting Porto and their achievements this season, especially in knocking Juventus out in the last round, the Portuguese club was the one everyone wanted in the quarter-final draw for the Champions League.
That honour was bestowed upon Chelsea as, at around 11:15 UK time, former Bayern Munich and Turkey star Hamit Altintop selected Thomas Tuchel’s side to face Porto in the last eight with the winners then meeting Liverpool or Real Madrid in the semi-finals.
Among bookmakers, Porto have the longest odds of the teams remaining in the competition and, quite simply, aren’t of the same level as the powerhouses of holders Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City, despite their largely underwhelming record in this competition.
But Sergio Conceicao’s side, equally, are at this stage on merit, having stormed to second place in a top-heavy group featuring Man City with their only defeat in the tournament (inside 90 minutes) being against Pep Guardiola’s side on October 21 in matchday one.
However, while Blues fans were celebrating an agreeable path to the final in Istanbul, several supporters were keen to point out the potential parallels with the 2012 Champions League-winning vintage.
That season Roberto Di Matteo’s Blues met Benfica in the last eight, defeating them 3-1 on aggregate, before then drawing a Spanish team in the next round, defeating Barcelona 3-2 and then Bayern in the final; a route that can be replicated this term.
In a more tangible sense, with the way Tuchel has Chelsea set up in terms of their defensive organisation, with an attacking unit packed with talent, supporters have good reason for optimism that they can go all the way, as you can see by the examples below.
Porto in the QF and then Real or Liverpool in the Semis. We couldn't have dreamt of an easier road to Istanbul. Tuchel's JuJu is at it again
— . (@ForeverBlue_07) March 19, 2021
Start the season with a young manager, who left out older players, is sacked and replaced by manager who brings those players back in. Round of 16 against a side with one of the best strikers in the World, who is Uruguayan. Quarter final against a portugese side. Sound familiar?
— Dan Reason (@DReason13) March 19, 2021
— Ruayer (@Ruayerovic) March 19, 2021
It’s happening pic.twitter.com/TdKIWkIFqy
— Stephanie🦋 (@Stephanieh_29) March 19, 2021
Chelsea also played a Portuguese team in the 2012 UCL quarter finals pic.twitter.com/syAatB1en4
— Lefty (@CFCLefty) March 19, 2021
Chelsea won the Champions League the last time we played a Portuguese side in the quarter finals… pic.twitter.com/1s83ysG1XI
— TuchelBall (@TuchelBallCFC) March 19, 2021
— C O O L AY (@Kulay1) March 19, 2021
We played a Portuguese team in the quarter final of 2012 a Spanish team in the semifinals than German team in the final, guess what it’s happening again 💃💃
— IFEANYICHUKWU (@agu_i) March 19, 2021
Elsewhere in the competition, Liverpool will meet Madrid, Man City take on Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich have been drawn with PSG in a repeat of last season’s final, for which Tuchel was at the helm of the Ligue 1 giants.
Chelsea’s matches against Porto will be played on April 6/7 and April 13/4, with the first leg scheduled for Stamford Bridge.