While You Were Asleep: Chelsea beat Dortmund 2-0,Benfica rout Brugge in Champions League and AZ Alkmaar rally to beat Lazio in Europa Conference League

Maybe this will be the turning point for under fire Chelsea manager Graham Potter.

He went into Tuesday’s game against Borussia Dortmund with questions hanging over his future. Now he has the Champions League quarterfinals to look forward to.

Kai Havertz’ twice-taken penalty secured a 2-0 win in front co-owner Todd Boehly at Stamford Bridge to ease the pressure on Potter and spark celebrations inside the stadium rarely seen during such a troubled campaign.

Chelsea advanced 2-1 on aggregate after having trailed 1-0 from the round-of-16 first leg in Dortmund last month.

“We have been through a tough period and this competition means a lot for us,” Potter said. “We wanted to progress and get into the last eight and it sets us up for the next few weeks.”

There certainly were positives for Potter to take from the most important win of his early reign.

Not only did his team show the character to recover from losing the first leg, it did so by scoring two goals in a game for the first time in 2023.

Benfica routs Brugge, reaches Champions League quarterfinals

Benfica made it look easy again.

The Portuguese team continued its good run with a comfortable 5-1 win over Club Brugge on Tuesday to seal its spot in the quarterfinals of the Champions League for the second straight season.

It advanced 7-1 on aggregate following its 2-0 win in the first leg in Belgium.

Rafa Silva, João Mário and David Neres scored a goal each, and Gonçalo Ramos found the net twice for Benfica, which hadn’t made it to the last eight in consecutive seasons in more than five decades. It was eliminated by eventual runner-up Liverpool last year.

“The team has been working hard and things have been going well for us,” Silva said.

Brugge, making its debut in the knockout stage of the Champions League, plunged deeper into crisis under coach Scott Parker. The team has won only twice in 12 matches since the English manager took over in December.

AZ Alkmaar rallies to beat Lazio in Europa Conference League

Dutch club AZ Alkmaar rallied from a goal down to upset Lazio 2-1 in their Europa Conference League round-of-16 first leg on Tuesday.

Lazio, which beat Serie A leader Napoli last weekend, took the lead in the 18th minute with a strike from former Spain forward Pedro Rodríguez, playing in a face mask after breaking his nose.

The visitors, who have lost just one of their last 12 games in all competitions, recovered from a slow start and Vangelis Pavlidis netted the equalizer shortly before halftime.

Defender Milos Kerkez scored in the winner in the 62nd minute.

“This was a bit of a fluke result because we created a lot of chances and conceded from both of theirs,” Lazio coach Maurizio Sarri said. “The string of missed chances tonight is too long.”

AZ coach Pascal Jansen added, “I’m not surprised because I know what my team can do.”

The rest of the matches in the third-tier Europa Conference League will take place on Thursday with the return leg on March 16.

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