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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at Stamford Bridge

Sterling untangles his feet in time to set Chelsea on the road to last eight at Dortmund's expense

Champions League Round of 16 2nd leg

Chelsea (1) 2 Sterling 43, Havertz pen 53

Borussia Dortmund (0) 0

Aggregate: 2-1

Raheem Sterling shook off an uncertain start to blast home the goal which got Chelsea back on track as they overcame a first leg deficit to reach this year’s Champions League quarter-finals.

Having looked low on confidence and untidy in his touch and decision-making, the striker brought a great release of tension to the stadium when his initially fluffed attempt ran kindly for him to round a defender and gobble up the second bite of the cherry.

The Blues had missed many good openings, but that goal proved the catalyst for Chelsea to seize control of the tie and when VAR called in a handball early in the second half, the tide turned completely.

When Ben Chilwell’s cross from just outside the box struck Marius Wolfe, it looked a little harsh to give a spot-kick as the player had his arms by his side and was not far from the wing-back.

But Dutch ref Danny Makkelle was convinced it should be given after being asked to check the monitor.

Kai Havertz put the kick away at the second attempt. His first kick came back off a post, but a retake was ordered because of encroachment by Dortmund players.

The second one was hit to the same corner – the keeper’s left – but this time, was just inside the upright.

Dortmund arrived late - their coach held up in traffic - causing the kick-off to be delayed by 10 minutes. And it looked as if they were not quite match ready in minute one as Chelsea shot out of the traps impressively - suggesting they meant business.

Even the normally taciturn Graham Potter looking animated on the touchline as the Blues began at pace and with intensity.

This was always going to be a big night for the Chelsea boss. He needed this. Defeat might even have prompted the hierarchy to consider dispensing with his services – such are the demands and expectations at this club.

Dortmund, defending the Shed End, where the fans had let off yellow flares to leave the ground encased in canary-coloured smoke, were lucky not to concede when Joao Felix got around a defender and forced keeper Alexander Meyer into a smothering save.

Havertz almost found the target after a Felix lob over the last line of defence left the German with a clear run on goal. But he flashed his final shot wide.

He came even closer to opening the scoring with a left foot drive against the base of Meyer’s left-hand post – the ball bouncing back across the face of goal with no-one around to apply a finishing touch.

The Bundesliga side – on a fine unbeaten run in their homeland, where they remain in contention for the title – were by no means trapped in their own half and a period of assertion ended with Marco Reus sending a free-kick arrowing towards Kepa Arrizabalaga’s right hand post and it needed a flying save from the keeper to preserve the stalemate.

But the Blues always carried the greater threat. Former Hammer Sebastien Haller did not get a sniff of a chance while England midfielder Jude Bellingham struggled to impose himself.

Chelsea: (3-4-3) Kepa – W Fofana, Koulibaly, Cucurella – James, Kovacic (Loftus-Cheek 83), Fernandez (Zakaria 87), Chilwell – Sterling (Pulisic 83), Havertz, Joao Felix (Gallagher 67)

Dortmund: (4-1-4-1) Meyer – Wolf, Sule, Schlotterbeck, Guerreiro – Emre Can – Brandt, Bellingham, Ozcan(Byone-Gittens 64), Reus – Haller (Malen 77)


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