Manchester City was beaten by Chelsea for the third consecutive time as Thomas Tuchel's team won their second UEFA Champions League tournament title.
Chelsea won their second Champions League title after beating Manchester City 1-0 at Porto. Kai Havertz’s lone strike in the 42nd minute was enough to give Chelsea the title after nine long years. The all-English final was a tactical battle between Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel. Tuchel kept things simple and played to his teams strengths. Guardiola, on the other hand, overcomplicated his plans in the final.
Both sides started brightly. But, as the game progressed, Chelsea slowly started controlling the game and created better chances. Three minutes before the interval, Mason Mount’s defence-splitting pass from the half-way-mark found Havertz just outside the penalty area. The German rounded the City goalkeeper Ederson and slotted the ball into an empty net to give the lead to Chelsea.
Pep Guardiola’s decision to play without a defensive midfielder backfired. Chelsea was easily pulling the strings from the midfield and consistently delivered attacking passes. Timo Werner and Mason Mount combined to open up the City defence. But, the German striker’s shot from inside the box was comfortably saved. Werner and Mount combined again. But, Werner’s shot side-netted.
Manchester City was able to create only half chances. Ederson’s long ball found Raheem Sterling’s run but Reece James did well to neutralize the threat. The English winger was kept quiet by Chelsea wing-back James. Sterling didn’t have the best of games and was substituted in the second half. Antonio Rudiger made an excellent block to deny Phil Foden from close range.
City started with four attacking midfielders – De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Ilkay Gundogan. They often looked confused and failed to break the opposition play. Top scorer for City this season, Gundogan struggled as a make shift defensive midfielder.
Thiago Silva got injured in the first half. But that didn’t affect Chelsea as they stood firm to deny the English Champions. In the second half, Chelsea decided to sit back and hit the opposition on the counter. That nearly paid off as substitute Christian Pulisic’s attempt following a breakaway move went just wide of goal. Defensive midfielder Fernandinho’s introduction in the second half gave City a bit more fluidity in attack but failed to open up the Chelsea defence.
City captain Kevin de Bruyne was substituted with Gabriel Jesus after his collision with Rudiger. As a desperate attempt, Guardiola introduced their all-time leading goal scorer Sergio Aguero for his last game in the Manchester City jersey. Five minutes into injury time, Kyle Walker’s long throw from the right side fell to Riyad Mahrez just outside the box. The Algerian’s shot went agonizingly close to the crossbar. That summed up City’s night as they managed only a solitary shot on target in the entire game.
Thomas Thuchel’s side displayed a very professional game to win Europe’s Elite club competition. N’Golo Kante was once again excellent in the middle of the park alongside Jorginho. Wing-back’s James and Ben Chilwell kept Sterling and Mahrez in check for most part of the game. Mount, Werner and Havertz successfully penetrated the City defence. Rudiger, Christensen and Azpilicueta displayed a strong defensive game at the back.
It was the German coach’s third consecutive victory against Manchester City. The 49-year-old, who took charge of the West Londoners in January has successfully turned their fortunes in less than six month.