UEFA Champions League Final: Havertz strike helps Chelsea edge out Man City
UEFA Champions League Final: The breakthrough, which looked so likely throughout the first-half, came in the 42nd minute as Havertz converted after latching on to a brilliant pass from Mason Mount.
Chelsea FC edged out Manchester City by a solitary goal in a pulsating all-English final at Porto, to win the UEFA Champions League title for the second time in their history. Kai Havertz's 42nd minute strike was the difference between the two teams, but Chelsea were by far the better team as Pep Guardiola's men fluffed their lines in their maiden European final.
Just days after pocketing yet another English title, City were expected to be the team to beat, but it was Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea who made a great start to the summit clash.
The match got off to a lively start with both teams looking to make an early impact. Both Chelsea and Manchester City made a couple of very promising forays into the opposition's box, in the opening 10 minutes, but the attacks lacked the final touch, which was needed for either team to find the opening goal.
Chelsea's German striker Timo Werner was causing a lot of problems for Manchester City's defence with his pace and he got a clear opportunity inside the box in the 14th minute, but the strike was disappointingly weak and straight at goal-keeper Ederson.
Chelsea's bursting pace on the counter meant City were on the backfoot early on and did not get a chance to settle down to their passing rhythm.
Manchester City came extremely close to breaking the deadlock in the 27th minute as Kevin De Bruyne's inch perfect centre found the ball at the feet of Phil Foden, who looked certain to score, only for Antonio Rudiger to produce a sliding challenge that put his feet in the path of the ball and the goal and that thwarted the danger for Thomas Tuchel's team.
The frenetic pace of the match was stopped momentarily as the players were allowed to take a drinks break due to the soaring temperatures in Porto. Chelsea found themselves with another chance immediately after restart as Ngolo Kante launched a counter attack and relayed the ball to Kai Havertz, who's attempted trickery inside the City box was taken care of by Zinchenko, much to Pep Guardiola's relief.
In a big blow for Chelsea, the mainstay of their defence, Brazilian veteran Thiago Silva, had to be substituted in the 39th minute due to a groin issue. Andreas Christensen came on to the field in place of Silva.
But the breakthrough, which looked so likely throughout the first-half, came in the 42nd minute as Havertz, who timed his run perfectly, converted after latching on to a brilliant pass from Mason Mount.
It was a great move which started with goalkeeper Mendy passing the ball wide out left to Ben Chilwell, who passed it to Mount. The enterprising mid-fielder looked up and found Havertz with a perfect pass. The German's brilliant touch helped him get past the on rushing Ederson before he coolly converted into an empty net.
The second half started at a much slower pace as Manchester City tried to dictate terms through possession football. But they failed to trouble Chelsea's defence. A collision with Rudiger in the 57th minute ended De Bruyne's ineffective spell in the final as he had to be substituted, which saw the entry of Gabriel Jesus.
City had a big shout for a penalty as Raheem Sterling's strike hit Reece James on the upper part of his right hand but the appeals were turned down after a VAR check.
Guardiola decided to make a tactical change thereafter as he brought midfield general Fernandinho on to the pitch in place of Bernardo Silva. It led to a change in the momentum of the match as City commanded more possession and started pressing for an equalizer.
It almost came in the 69th minute as Mahrez's centre all but found Gundogan for a tap in, but a sliding Cesar Azpilicueta denied them.
Chelsea got a great opportunity to all but seal the game in the 73rd minute as Havertz made a great solo run and then passed the ball to Christian Pulisic, but the American failed to hit the target.
Guardiola brought on outgoing club legend Sergio Aguero in the 77th minute as he desperately tried to find the equalizer. City pressed hard for the all-important goal in the seven minutes of injury time but Chelsea held on resolutely to seal the title.