Manchesterfootball.info joins 4,000 Manchester City fans at the Academy Stadium to watch the club’s first-ever Champions League final appearance against Chelsea on a giant screen.
MAN CITY 0, CHELSEA 1
The biggest night in Manchester City’s 141-year history ended in pain and disappointment as they lost to Chelsea in the final of the Champions League.
After winning the Premier League and Carabao Cup, City’s quest to complete a treble ended in failure in the Portuguese city of Porto.
For Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel it was a third straight win against Pep Guardiola in less than six weeks.
After Chelsea’s win in the semi-finals of the FA Cup against City and their league victory at the Etihad came their own treble as Tuchel has clearly got the measure of his managerial rival.
Pundit Rio Ferdinand described it as a “tactical masterclass” from Tuchel who lifted the Champions League in only his 30th match as Chelsea manager.
And it was a special moment for Tuchel, beaten by Paris St Germain in the last season’s final of the Champions League.
Chelsea nullified City to such a degree they managed only one shot on target as Kai Havertz was the matchwinner as the Pensioners were crowned champions of Europe for a second time.
City failed to scale the heights they have reached in 2020-21 when they were the outstanding domestic team.
And they conquered all before them in Europe before falling at the final hurdle.Embed from Getty Images
Guardiola said: “It has been an exceptional season for us. It was a tight game. We had chances. We were brilliant in the second half. We were brave and we could not convert the chances as they were so strong. The players were exceptional.
“I did what I thought was best and decided to play quality players who have been brilliant for us. They did everything they could to win the game which was exceptional.
“It was a tight game but in the second half we deserved to score. We played 62 games and 61 before we arrived for our final game.
“We have won the Premier League and done incredibly well. We come back maybe one day again!
“The ambition now is to rest and go home to see my family for one or two weeks as I haven’t seen them for a long time, but then prepare for the next season.
“It was the first time we were at this stage. Hopefully we will be here again in the future.”
Tuchel said: “To share it with everybody is incredible. We made it. Wow. I don’t know what to feel.
“I was so grateful to arrive a second time [in the final]. I felt different. You could feel it getting closer.
“The players were determined to win this. We wanted to be a stone in their shoe. We encouraged everybody to step up and step out, to be m brave and create dangerous counter-attacks.
“It was a tough physical game. We had to help each other out.”
Mason Mount added: “I can’t put it into words. It’s impossible. I just mentioned then that I’ve played in two finals for Chelsea, and we lost them both and that hurt. It’s all I’ve dreamt winning a trophy with Chelsea.
“To go all the way in the Champions League. We played some tough teams. We are in a final and we won it. It’s such a special occasion. At this moment in time, we’re the best team in the world. You can’t take that away from us!
“What a team Manchester City are. You have seen what they did in the Premier League. It was such a tough game. We got a goal and defended the whole game. We left everything on the line, and we won. What can I say? It is unbelievable. My dad has just come down from the stands. I burst into tears seeing him. I thank my family for everything.”
City made two changes from the side that rounded off their championship winning season with a 5-0 win against Everton as both Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan returned as Brazilians Fernandinho and Gabriel Jesus dropped to the bench.
Chelsea’s one change from their Premier League finale against Aston Villa was N’Golo Kante replacing Mateo Kovacic.
It had the makings of an interesting match-up, City’s adventurous, attack line-up against Tuchel’s more defensive-minded side.
Yet in the opening period it was Chelsea who had the better of the chances.
Raheem Sterling got behind the Chelsea defence early, but his effort was deflected off Reece James for a corner.
But Timo Werner could have scored a hat-trick in the opening 15 minutes, but the lack of a finish epitomised his debut season in the Premier League, one of struggle.
First there was an air shot, then a routine save for Ederson and an effort deflected into the side netting.
Phil Foden had a chance for City, but German defender Antonio Rudiger made an important block and then Riyad Mahrez, sliding in, just failed to connect with a Kyle Walker cross.
Chelsea suffered a blow six minutes before the break when Brazilian centre back Thiago Silva limped off with a groin strain and was replaced by Andreas Christensen.
The breakthrough came in the 42nd minute through’s Havertz’s first-ever goal in the Champions League, the first time that had happened since Ilkay Gundogan opened his account in the 2012 final.
It was a terrific move starting from goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and involving Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount whose slide-rule pass released German Havertz as the £71 million signing from Bayer Leverkusen rounded Ederson to slot home his ninth goal of the season.
City fans, who had been bouncing throughout the opening period, were silenced and you could almost hear a pin drop when Havertz found the net.
City were forced to make a change on the hour when Kevin De Bruyne went off with concussion after being body checked by Rudiger who was also hurt but picked up a yellow card. Jesus came off the bench.
That was soon followed by a second switch by Guardiola as Bernardo Silva was replaced Fernandinho.
Chelsea ought to have sealed victory in the 73rd minute when substitute Christian Pulisic, who had only been on the field for seven minutes, had a glaring miss.
Put clean through by Havertz’s perfect pass, Pulisic dinked the ball over Ederson, but it went wide.
Legend Sergio Aguero replaced Sterling in the 77th minute, his last-ever game for City, as Guardiola went for broke.
City had one last chance in the last of seven added minutes when Mahrez saw a shot flash past the angle of post and upright.