Chelsea wins the UEFA Champions League final
The huge sums paid to the ex-Bayer Leverkusen forward, seemed to have paid off for as the German who started the season on a sluggish note, ended up the architect of his side being crowned the European champions.
In the presence of just 16,500 fans at the Estadio do Drago in Portugal, the proceedings got off to a brisk start and it was Pep Guardiola’s men who created the first opportunity to score. Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson, an expert at delivering long balls, essayed one such over the top for Raheem Sterling just inside the left of the box but the Englishman’s touch was not clean, hence allowing Reece James to get back and force Sterling away from the goal. Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy dove quickly to block any attempt the City forward intended to make from a tight angle.
Guardiola’s showed all intents of playing an attack-minded game that at times left spaces for Chelsea to counter quickly on the break. Chelsea missed two good chances both falling to Timo Werner. The first was when he took a huge empty swipe in the front of the goal after being put through by Havertz and the next was an effort that went straight to Ederson.
Kai Havertz’s first-half goal bags seals a second Champions League crown for Chelsea
City threatened at the other end when De Bruyne laid a tempting ball for Phil Foden, but the 21-year-old midfielder was thwarted in the nick of time by a brilliant sliding tackle from Antonio Rudiger before he could get his shot away. Chelsea suffered a blow at the back when Thiago Silva was forced off six minutes before the interval with a groin injury and was replaced by Andreas Christensen.
Thomas Tuchels’s Blues shrugged off Silva’s departure at the back by going ahead in the 42nd minute. Mason Mount’s brilliant high through pass cut open the City defense and released Havertz. Ederson rushed to meet Havertz at the edge of the box, but the tall German easily evaded the City custodian and coolly rolled the ball into the empty net much to the delirium of the few thousand Chelsea fans present at the stadium.
In what looked to be a promising start to things in the second half, City’s hopes of clawing back into the game were dealt a blow just on 60 minutes when star playmaker De Bruyne was forced off the field after a clashing of heads with Rudiger. Christian Pulisic then squandered a golden opportunity from one of Chelsea’s fast breakaway moves to put his side two ahead when his chipped ball over Ederson luckily went wide of the far post.
Guardiola brought in his all-time highest goalscorer Sergio Aguero with 15 minutes remaining and that seemed to have some salutary effect in the dying stages of the game. The Citizens came to within inches during the seven minutes of injury time when Riyad Mahrez’s strike left Mendy stranded, but the ball went narrowly over as the final whistle arrived to put paid to Guardiola’s dream of winning a Champions League for City.
Tuchel’s achievement was barely imaginable when he arrived in January to take over reigns from a beleaguered Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge but now Chelsea are champions of Europe for a second time after 2012.
It is a huge personal triumph for the German coach, who already had notched up wins against Guardiola’s City in the FA Cup semi-final and in a critical Premier League clash at Etihad Stadium leading up to this game. It was the sort of confidence and self-belief those victories generated that were very much on display as Chelsea played with a fearless attitude that never allowed their rivals to settle at Porto on the day of the final.
Manchester City starting XI in a 4-3-3 formation:
Ederson (goal), Walker, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko, De Bruyne (Gabriel Jesus 60), Gundogan, Bernardo Silva (Fernandinho 64), Mahrez, Sterling (Aguero 77), Foden.
Chelsea starting XI in a 3-4-2-1 formation:
Mendy (goal), James, Thiago Silva (Christensen 39), Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell, Mount (Kovacic 80), Havertz, Werner (Pulisic 66).
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