Manchester City 0, Chelsea 1 (Champions League Final)
Record signing Kai Havertz scored the winner to land Chelsea their second Champions League title at the expense of Manchester City.Embed from Getty Images
City were caught napping after boss Pep Guardiola decided to omit both defensive midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri from his starting line-up – a move that had only happened in one of City’s 60 previous games this season before tonight – and City subsequently could not deal with the counter attacks from the Londoners.
And they wilted at the end of the first half when City’s defence was split by a pass from Mason Mount and the £89m signing kept his cool to slot past Ederson.
Chelsea’s defence proved difficult to breach and things got worse for City after they lost Kevin De Bruyne with an eye injury during the second half.
City ended the game with just one shot on target, while Chelsea had just two but crucially scored the winning goal and saw out the second half comfortably to lift their second Champions League title as Pep Guardiola lost only his second major final in 16.
It was the third meeting in six weeks between the teams and initially one of the more exciting Champions League finals of recent years before Thomas Tuchel’s team put on another superbly organised performance to win all three.
Pep Guardiola opted for Oleksandr Zinchenko over Joao Cancelo but dropped a managerial curve-ball by choosing neither Rodri or Fernandinho as a genuine holding midfielder – he opted for Raheem Sterling to give City some counter attacking prowess while asking Ilkay Gundogan, who recovered from a knock in training yesterday, to sit deeper.
In a move which will in hindsight be seen as more Guardiola ‘overthinking’ City found it hard to create chances while leaving themselves open to counter attacks.
Chelsea looked the more dangerous from the kick off but Raheem Sterling nearly got on the end of a great pass from Ederson and instead won a corner off Reece James after a poor first touch took the ball away from him – James mainly won the battle with the out of sorts winger for the rest of the night.
Timo Werner miskicked a prime chance for himself while Ben Chilwell cut out a Sterling cross for Riyad Mahrez as both sides traded early blows.
Werner’s runs were constantly worrying John Stones, whose early slip could have cost City but they recovered from the error to clear the threat.
Chilwell’s dangerous cutbacks found Werner again and Ederson saved well before the German rippled the side netting.
N’Golo Kante headed over as both sides counter attacked well but City were finding it hard to create chances while Chelsea were at least coming up with chances but finding it hard to finish them in the opening quarter of the game.
Kante was fouled by Ruben Dias in a dangerous position for a free kick which City cleared.
Foden was tackled by Antonio Rudiger as he lined up to shoot after a cross by De Bruyne as the chances started to come.
Walker’s cross was just too far in front of Mahrez who couldn’t reach the ball with his outstretched leg after the England right back had beaten Chilwell.
Zinchenko robbed Havertz as Chelsea were still dangerous on the break while Mahrez rushed his cross into the arms of Edouard Mendy.
Chelsea were forced into an early change when Thiago Silva went off with a groin strain and Andreas Christensen was sent on in his place just before half time.
City pushed up as they looked to find a gap to exploit but Chelsea ended up hitting them on the break with Mason Mount finding Kai Havertz with the German leaving the napping Zinchenko in his wake before finishing past Ederson who could have been sent off but his desperate attempt to challenge the German outside the box didn’t connect and he handled the ball into the bargain before Havertz saved the City keeper from a red card by scoring.
It was his first ever Champions League goal for the Chelsea player – and the first player to hit his first Champions League goal in the final since Ilkay Gundogan in 2013.
Werner hit the side netting as his goal radar continued to be off target.
Chelsea remained comfortable against a predictable pair of balls into the box while Kante effortlessly tackled De Bruyne as he tried to take the ball closer to the Mendy’s goal – a sign that City might have made an error in team selection.
Gundogan conceded a free kick with a foul against Havertz while Rudiger brought down De Bruyne by blocking the Belgian’s path.
Kevin De Bruyne taken off with eye injury after toothless Manchester City unable to breach Chelsea defence
Gabriel Jesus was brought on for the Belgian who was developing a serious looking black eye and was brought off in tears.
There was controversy right afterwards as Sterling’s fierce shot came off the midriff of James before going onto his arm – referee Antonio Lahoz waved away appeals for handball and VAR ratified it.
Fernandinho was next to come on to lend City some much needed steel in midfield, replacing Bernardo Silva.
Christian Pulisic replaced Werner after 66 minutes for Chelsea who freshened up their side with a second change.
Gundogan was denied a tap-in when Cesar Azpilicueta cleared a cross from Mahrez over the Chelsea bar with City returning to something like the team that had been expected to start the game.
Pulisic dragged a 73rd minute chance to finish City wide after Havertz put him clean through on another break for Chelsea.
Jesus missed a chance to back heel an equaliser after Sterling cut the ball back to him from the byline, with Chilwell making the clearance.
With City needing a goal the stage was set for Sergio Aguero for his 390th and last City appearance, and the Argentine replaced Sterling with 13 minutes to go.
Chelsea responded by sending on Mateo Kovacic for Mount as they signalled their intention to run the clock down.
Aguero tried to chip Mendy at the near post from wide on the left but the tall Chelsea keeper was ready for it after James had been left behind by the Argentine striker.
And both he and Foden too far behind a brilliant cross by Walker as time ran out.
Dias’ cross into the six yard box got to Mahrez but Chelsea cleared as the game went into seven minutes of added time.
There was a final chance for City as Mahrez screwed a chance over the bar with Mendy rooted in the 97th minute, and with that City’s hopes, and Aguero’s fairy tale finish, came to a disappointing end in Porto.
GOAL – Manchester City 0, Chelsea 1 (Champions League Final)
Man City 0, Chelsea 1: 42. Kai Havertz rolled the ball into an empty net after he was sent clean through by a Mason Mount though ball and left Oleksandr Zinchenko in his wake.
MATCH STATS – Manchester City 0, Chelsea 1 (Champions League Final)
Man City: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko, De Bruyne (Jesus 60), Gundogan, Bernardo Silva (Fernandinho 64), Mahrez, Sterling (Aguero 77), Foden
Man City subs not used: Steffen, Carson, Ake, Laporte, Rodri, Torres, Mendy, Cancelo, Garcia
Bookings: Gundogan 35 (foul on Mason Mount); Jesus 88 (foul on Kai Havertz)
Chelsea: Mendy, James, Thiago Silva (Christensen 39), Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell, Mount (Kovacic 80), Havertz, Werner (Pulisic 66)
Chelsea subs not used: Arrizabalaga, Caballero, Alonso, Zouma, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, Ziyech, Gilmour, Emerson
Booking: Rudiger 57 (obstruction on Kevin De Bruyne)
Goal: Havertz 42
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz