Chelsea became champions of Europe for the second time ever after defeating Manchester City 1-0 in the 2021 Champions League Final. Kai Havertz scored the all important winning goal for Thomas Tuchel’s men to ensure it ended Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea.
The match got off to an entertaining start with the Blues having the better share of chances as Timo Werner came close to scoring on a few occasions but was unable to find the back of the net. However, it was to be Chelsea that broke the deadlock on 42 minutes as Mason Mount played the ball through to Kai Havertz, who got the better of Ederson and slotted home for 1-0.
After the restart, Manchester City improved and looked more likely to threaten in front of Chelsea. However, they had been unable to break down a stubborn Blues defence, who had made some important interceptions at times to keep the City attack at bay. The Blues had a great chance to make it 2-0 as substitute Christian Pulisic struck an effort just wide. However, despite a very nervy ending to the game, Chelsea held on to win the Champions League Final.
Thomas Tuchel made two changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Aston Villa on the final day of the Premier League. N’Golo Kanté came back into the starting eleven in place of Mateo Kovacic as the Frenchman partnered Jorginho in central midfield. Meanwhile, the second change in attack as Christian Pulisic dropped to the bench with Kai Havertz taking his place.
Edouard Mendy started in goal with a back three of captain Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva and Antonio Rüdiger whilst at wing-back, Reece James was on the right and on the left was Ben Chilwell. Finally, the front three was in the form of Mason Mount, Havertz and Timo Werner, who spearheaded the attack.
As for Manchester City, two changes were also made by manager Pep Guardiola from the 5-0 victory over Everton that saw City lift the Premier League title after the match. Midfielder Fernandinho surprisingly started on the bench as German international Ilkay Gündogan took his place in the defensive midfield role.
City’s starting line-up involved no recognised striker where Gabriel Jesus had to settle for a place on the bench where Bernardo Silva came into the side. Ederson was the man in between sticks with a back four of Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, John Stones and Olexandr Zinchenko. Kevin de Bruyne, Silva and Gündogan were the three in midfield whilst the attacking three was Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden.
Both Manchester City and Chelsea looked to settle into the match in the opening stages as neither carved out an opportunity early on. However, on seven minutes, City had the first chance of the match as Ederson pinged the ball through to Raheem Sterling as Reece James made a brilliant last-ditch tackle before ‘keeper Edouard Mendy did just enough to put him off.
Up the other end, the Blues looked to break the deadlock as Kai Havertz squared the ball into the middle to Timo Werner but the German mis-kicked the ball which was a relief for Ederson in the City goal. Straight after the chance, Man City broke away on the counter attack before Ben Chilwell was on hand to make a vital block. On 14 minutes, Chelsea had arguable the biggest chance of the final as Mason Mount played the ball to Werner in an excellent position but Ederson collected with ease. The German came close just moments later but missed again as his shot hit the side netting.
The Blues continued to knock at the door of the City goal as Ben Chilwell crossed the ball into the area where N’Golo Kante rose the highest out of everyone but headed off target. Chelsea had settled well into the game over the two sides and would’ve been disappointed not to have taken the lead. Nonetheless, there was still a long way to go in the final and it was perfectly poised at 0-0 on 25 minutes.
With 27 minutes gone in Porto, the ball was slid through to Phil Foden in a very good position but Antonio Rüdiger was on hand to make a superb last minute tackle. City had a chance to go in front again as Kyle Walker did well to hold off Ben Chilwell before playing it to Riyad Mahrez, who was unable to get a good enough connection on the ball. Thomas Tuchel was forced to make his first change of the night as Thiago Silva hobbled off with an injury as Andreas Christensen took his place in defence.
However, with three minutes before the break, Chelsea made the all-important breakthrough in the final. Mason Mount played an outstanding ball through to the path of Kai Havertz, who got the better of the onrushing Ederson before slotting the ball into an empty net. A huge goal from Havertz to make it Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea.
That goal put the Blues in front at the break in what was an entertaining first half in the Champions League Final. However, Tuchel’s men had the crucial goal heading into a crucial second half at the Estádio do Dragão.
HT: Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea
Manchester City started the second half with more attacking intention than in the first half and looked to press Chelsea. The ball was played into Kevin de Bruyne on the edge of the area but Kanté was on hand to make a terrific tackle. City made their first substitution of the night as de Bruyne’s night was over following a nasty clash with Rüdiger as Gabriel Jesus was brought on.
With an hour played. Pep Guardiola’s men felt as though they should have had a penalty after James looked to handled in the area. However, the appeals from the City players were waved away by the referee. Both sides made their second change of the final with Bernardo Silva making way for Fernandinho whilst Christian Pulisic came on in place of Timo Werner as he became the first American to play in a Champions League final.
City continued to hunt for a leveller as Mahrez spotted Ilkay Gündogan in the middle but Cesar Azpilicueta made a vital clearance. With 18 minutes to go, the Blues should have doubled their advantage as Havertz broke away before passing to the substitute Pulisic but struck wide of the target. A huge opportunity missed by the American. Not long after, Mount came close to finding the back of the net but drilled the ball off target.
For the final time in a Manchester City shirt, Sergio Aguero entered the fray in the final as he came on in place of Sterling. Meanwhile, Mount’s night was over having provided the assist to the Havertz goal with Mateo Kovacic coming on in his place. Heading into the closing stages of the match, City had created the better chances and looked to threaten Edouard Mendy but had been unable to do much.
The fourth official indicated a minimum of seven minutes of stoppage time which was to be the longest seven minutes of the season for any Chelsea supporter. In the final minute of added time, City had a huge chance to equalise as the ball fell to the path of Mahrez whose volley was inches over the bar. However, the referee at last blew the whistle full time as Chelsea were European Champions for the second time in their history! The match ended Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea.
FT: Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea
Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson (GK); Walker, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko; Gündogan, De Bruyne, Silva; Mahrez, Sterling, Foden
Subs used: Jesus (for De Bruyne, 60 mins), Fernandinho (for Silva, 64 mins), Aguero (for Sterling, 77 mins)
Chelsea (3-4-3): Mendy (GK); Azpilicueta (c), Silva, Rüdiger; James, Kanté, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Havertz, Werner
Subs used: Christensen (for Silva, 39 mins), Pulisic (for Werner, 66 mins), Kovacic (for Mount, 80 mins)
Goals: Havertz (42 mins)
Manchester City vs Chelsea Post Match Thoughts
Champions of Europe, it never felt so good! A brilliant performance from the whole team tonight as Chelsea won their second Champions League title in nine years, adding to the 2012 victory. Kai Havertz proved to be the hero on the night, scoring the winning goal in the first half which brings an end to his first season as a Chelsea player with him lifting the biggest trophies in world football.
Ever since Thomas Tuchel’s appointment back in January, the Blues have been outstanding, achieving top four, reaching an FA Cup Final and now winning the Champions League. This season has been a rollercoaster of emotions to say the least with plenty of highs and lows but the 2020/21 campaign ends in style by lifting the Champions League. WHAT A SEASON!
Written by Matt North (@MattNorth_)
Edited by Rob Pratley
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