Kai Havertz’s first Champions League goal saw Chelsea become champions of Europe for just the second time in their history last night. The Londoners beat Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City 1-0 at Porto’s Estádio do Dragão as Chelsea’s German wide man collected from Mason Mount and slotted home past Ederson on the stroke of half time in front of 16,500 fans in attendance.
A game of end-to-end action, last ditch tackles and missed chances, Chelsea’s five at the back ultimately proved effective as City were largely kept at bay by Thomas Tuchel’s Blues.
Leaving out holding midfielders Rodri and captain Fernandinho for only the second time in 61 matches, eyebrows were raised as Guardiola decided against utilising a defensive midfielder.
Opting for an all-out attacking starting eleven, the consequence of a changed system resulted in the likes of Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne looking uncertain in their roles.
Tuchel kept his team mostly alike from the line-up who beat Real Madrid in the second leg of the semi-final. Making only the one change from the Stamford Bridge victory, Reece James started ahead of Andreas Christensen.
James proved important for Chelsea, keeping pace with an off-beat Raheem Sterling on the left and making the most tackles of anyone on the field.
Guardiola knew that Chelsea would play with Mount and Havertz on the outside behind Timo Werner. By selecting Gundogan, the Spaniard presumably believed that the German’s creativity would cause problems. The Mancunians, however, were left open and vulnerable, with City’s high press flawed as Havertz stopped Oleksandr Zinchenko pushing on to James down the right.
The only goal of the evening was well worked by Chelsea as City were tactically outwitted. Havertz cut inside Zinchenko, with Ruben Dias dragged away by Werner who created the space for Mount to slot a beautiful ball to his history making colleague. Even when City were in possession, the goal maker and scorer occupied the City full-backs for the majority of the tie.
Opening up the game, Guardiola changed a winning formula and welcomed counter attacks, wide play and N’Golo Kante to run the show. Originally an injury doubt, the World Cup winner brushed off a hamstring problem and played an integral role as City lost for a third consecutive time to Chelsea. The Man of The Match, Kante broke up play, intercepted passes and made it look as though there were three of him playing.
City lacked fluency and Chelsea seized on their uncertainty.
Injuries for Kevin De Bruyne and Thiago Silva
City lost star man De Bruyne as Antonio Rudiger left him with a fractured nose and eye socket with half an hour left to play in Portugal’s ‘Second City’.
The 29-year-old was replaced by Gabriel Jesus in the 60th minute and tweeted: “Hi guys just got back from the hospital. My diagnosis is Acute nose bone fracture and left orbital fracture. I feel okay now. Still disappointed about yesterday obviously but we will be back.”
It is unknown whether the midfielder will be fit for Belgium’s first Euro’s match against Russia in St Petersburg on 12th June.
Chelsea defender Thiago Silva appeared to suffer a groin injury in the 36th minute as Christensen replaced him.
His 390th Manchester City appearance, Sergio Aguero was unable to end a hugely successful decade with the club on a high. The Barcelona-bound forward concluded a glittering City career by failing to deliver on his promise of winning the Champions League before leaving the club.
Named on the bench and introduced with just under 15 minutes to go, the Argentine failed to find an equaliser as the Sky Blues turned to their star man for a moment of magic in his last game for the Premier League champions.
- Chelsea became the third English side to win the Champions League on two occasions.
- Guardiola has lost more matches against Chelsea in all competitions than against any other club as City boss (eight).
- Tuchel is the third different German manager to win the Champions League in the last three seasons.
- City became the ninth different English team to reach a European Cup/Champions League final.
- Chelsea's Havertz became the first player to score his first Champions League goal in the final since Gundogan in 2013.
- The defeat was Guardiola’s first cup final loss as City manager.