Chelsea won the Champions League for the second time with a fully deserved victory over Manchester City in the all-Premier League confrontation in Porto.
Thomas Tuchel got the better of his Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola for the third time since succeeding sacked Frank Lampard in January to bring European club football’s biggest prize back to Stamford Bridge for the first time since 2012.
Kai Havertz, blossoming after a slow start to his Chelsea career, got the winner three minutes before half-time when he collected a defence-splitting pass from Mason Mount to round City goalkeeper Ederson and score.
It leaves City still searching for the Champions League, the trophy that has always eluded them, and Guardiola cannot escape scrutiny for his part in this defeat after taking a tactical gamble which backfired.
Guardiola surprisingly decided against utilising either Rodri or Fernandinho as a defensive midfielder, leaving City with a muddled game plan that reduced their effectiveness and rarely presented Chelsea with any problems.
Chelsea had the better opportunities throughout, Timo Werner wasting two good chances before Havertz struck and substitute Christian Pulisic squandering another in the second half.
City, who lost Kevin De Bruyne to injury midway through the second half, threw on Sergio Aguero for his final appearance but there was no fairytale ending for the club’s greatest goalscorer as Chelsea closed out the win.
And for Tuchel it was elation after the disappointment of losing last year’s final as manager of Paris St-Germain.
Tuchel trumps Guardiola again
Tuchel made it three out of three against Guardiola by producing a fiercely disciplined, positive Chelsea performance that has brought a season that was shrouded in uncertainty to the most glorious conclusion.
The German has transformed Chelsea since his arrival in January, making significant changes by restoring the towering Antonio Rudiger in central defence and playing the magnificent man-of-the-match N’golo Kante in the position in which he is quite simply a world-class operator.
Kante controlled everything from his position in midfield, the complete player giving a breathtaking performance.
Chelsea needed to be defensively perfect but this was no smash-and-grab result. It was a front-foot display to take the initiative away from City in the first half.
They then held firm in the second with very few anxious moments.
They even survived the first-half loss of the experienced Thiago Silva to injury and carried on in the same measured, committed fashion.
It is a huge personal triumph for Tuchel, who already had victories against Guardiola in the FA Cup semi-final and in the Premier League at Etihad Stadium going in to this game.
And the confidence and self-belief those victories brought was in evidence as Chelsea played with a fearless attitude that never allowed City to settle and sparked wild scenes of celebration among players, staff and the fans inside Porto’s Estadio do Dragao.
The scale of Tuchel’s achievement is that this night was barely imaginable when he arrived in January but now Chelsea are champions of Europe for a second time.
More to follow…
- 3Rúben Dias
- 20Bernardo SilvaSubstituted forFernandinhoat 64′minutes
- 8GündoganBooked at 34mins
- 17De BruyneSubstituted forGabriel Jesusat 60′minutesBooked at 88mins
- 7SterlingSubstituted forAgüeroat 77′minutes
- 9Gabriel Jesus
- 6Thiago SilvaSubstituted forChristensenat 39′minutes
- 2RüdigerBooked at 57mins
- 19MountSubstituted forKovacicat 80′minutes
- 11WernerSubstituted forPulisicat 66′minutes
- Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
Match ends, Manchester City 0, Chelsea 1.
Second Half ends, Manchester City 0, Chelsea 1.
Attempt missed. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.
Foul by Rúben Dias (Manchester City).
Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Rúben Dias (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Kai Havertz (Chelsea).
Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).
N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City).
Kai Havertz (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt blocked. Phil Foden (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Riyad Mahrez.
Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Christian Pulisic (Chelsea).
Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City).
Kai Havertz (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).
Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt missed. Jorginho (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Reece James following a set piece situation.
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