Chelsea stunned Manchester City 1-0 to be crowned European Champions for a second time.
Kai Havertz’s 42nd minute strike was the difference in a great performance from Chelsea to win the Champions League for a second time in the clubs history on Saturday evening.
Both teams came into the fixture well prepared with Thomas Tuchel’s side winning the last two encounters against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the FA Cup Semi-Final and in the Premier League.
Pep Guardiola was coming into the fixture having already won the Carabao Cup and Premier League this season and was looking to add to this double by winning his third Champions League trophy as a manager and Manchester City’s first in their first appearance in the final of the competition.
Chelsea were going into their third Champions league final after losing their first to Manchester United back in 2008 on penalties. Four years later in 2012, they would go onto win their first Champions league trophy after beating Bayern Munich in Munich on Penalties.
Thousands of Man City and Chelsea fans had traveled out to Porto with around 6000 tickets being allocated for each team with many more fans deciding to travel out to Portugal even without a ticket to the final to soak up the atmosphere and to support their team. Fans of both teams filled the streets of Porto in Restaurants and Pubs in preparation for the big game.
When the team news was announced, Many Manchester City fans were confused to see no Fernandinho or Rodri in the starting lineup as Pep decided to change his tactics once again by not starting with a holding midfielder in the game. Raheem Sterling also started the game in a front three for City with many fans skeptical over Guardiola’s decision to start the out of form winger.
Chelsea on the other hand lined up as many expected in a 3-4-3 formation with Edouard Mendy and N’golo Kante fit to start with Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner leading the line for Chelsea in attack.
The first half began with Man City dominating the ball and pushing Chelsea back with the opening chance coming to City in the 7th minute when a ball was played over the top to Raheem Sterling who had run in behind past Reece James but the Chelsea fullback managed to get a touch on the ball with Sterling being unable to convert the chance and coming of Mendy for a corner.
Even with Man City having more of the ball Chelsea started to create the more clear cut chances with Havertz crossing the ball into Werner’s feet but he miss hit his shot and it was cleared. Chelsea came back at City again through Kai Havertz after receiving the ball from Ben Chilwell on the left, after managing to get past a City challenge he passed the ball into Timo Werner who was free in the box, but his off balanced and weak shot was collected easily by Ederson in goal.
Man City then started to come back at Chelsea with Phil Foden having a glorious chance to put the first time finalists 1-0 up but Rudiger’s goal saving block kept the game at 0-0. In the 39th minute, Thiago Silva looked as if he was unable to continue the game after pulling his groin and was substituted for Andreas Christensen.
Three minutes later, in the 42nd minute, Chelsea made the breakthrough with Mason Mount playing a lovely weighted pass into the path of Kai Havertz who was in on goal with the young German international taking the ball around Ederson who managed to get a slight touch on it and then putting the ball into the empty net to make it 1-0 to Chelsea at Halftime.
The second half started in the same fashion as the first with Man City having more of the ball and looking for an equaliser. However it got worse for City when in the 58th minute Kevin De Bruyne collided with Antonio Rudiger head first and had to be substituted due to a nose fracture and orbital bone fracture which saw him replaced with Gabriel Jesus.
Straight after De Bruyne went of, the City players and fans were furious and appealing for a penalty after the ball appeared to hit Reece James’ arm from a shot from outside of the box. However, the referee was adamant that the ball hit Reece James’ chest which subsequently bounced onto his arm. There was a VAR check on the incident but it was ruled as no penalty and the game went on.
City continued to push for an equaliser when in the 73rd minute, Kante won the ball for Chelsea which started a counter attack which was led by Kai Havertz. He slipped the ball into substitute Christian Pulisic who had the chance to bury the game but his dink over Ederson went wide and was a huge let of for Man City.
Chelsea were sat back deep in there own half and defending like there lives depended on it for the last part of the game. Manchester City’s pressure was relentless and time was running out. In the 96th minute of 7 minutes of added on time, they thought they had found the equaliser when Kyle Walker’s long throw in into the box was cleared out by Chelsea’s defence and landed to Mahrez who took his shot quickly which left Mendy stranded in goal and just clipped the top of the bar and went over.
The full time whistle went and Chelsea had won the Champions League for the second time. The Players, Manager Thomas Tuchel and the back room staff could not hold back their emotions and ran onto the pitch in celebration. The atmosphere was electric amongst the Chelsea supporters with the fans overjoyed with the result and they were singing loudly and proudly after the game with celebrations continuing into the night in Porto and back in England.
Manchester City were very disappointed after underwhelming performance in their first champions league final. Some fans and players were in tears including Sergio Aguero who was distraught after the loss after playing his final game for the club and Oleksandr Zinchenko who was at fault for Chelsea’s goal. Many of the City fans and football pundits felt that Pep Guardiola got his tactics wrong ahead and during the game which played a big part in his side coming up short in the final.
Chelsea lifted the Champions league after an amazing performance and well deserved victory on a momentous and unforgettable night for the club, which saw Thomas Tuchel win his first trophy as Chelsea boss and ended a 3 year period without a trophy. The club have a young team and after winning the best club competition in world football, they will look to build on their success which should see Thomas Tuchel’s contract extended and look to push for more silverware next season. The skies the limit for this Chelsea team.
Manchester City on the other hand, after having a successful season with a disappointing end will look to go again next season after the Euro’s and with a top manager in Pep Guardiola and a fantastic squad, they will continue to be on the hunt for silverware and hope that they can reach the promise land once again and come out on top next time round.