Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea: Havertz seals second Champions League triumph for Blues

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 29 May 2021

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Kai Havertz scored the only goal of the game as Chelsea won the Champions League for a second time by beating Manchester City 1-0 in an all-English final in Porto.

Chelsea forward Havertz saved his first Champions League goal for the biggest stage at Estadio do Dragao on Saturday, opening the scoring late in the first half.

Thomas Tuchel’s hugely impressive, well-drilled side held on to break City hearts, denying the Premier League champions a treble in their first Champions League final.

Tuchel had suffered the agony of defeat in the biggest game in European club football last year as Paris Saint-Germain boss, but his fellow German Havertz ensured he got the better of Pep Guardiola for a third time in just over a month.

City, surprisingly starting without both Fernandinho and Rodri for only the second time this season, had the first chance when Ederson sent Raheem Sterling clear with a brilliant pass, but the forward’s poor touch allowed a combination of Reece James and Edouard Mendy to advert the danger.

Timo Werner’s intelligent runs and pace was unsettling the City defence, but he missed his kick when Germany team-mate Havertz picked him out before finishing tamely after Mason Mount presented him with a glorious chance.

A magnificent tackle from Antonio Rudiger denied Phil Foden when he looked set to open the scoring and it was Chelsea who took the lead after Thiago Silva had limped off.

Mount was the architect, spotting a huge hole at the heart of the City defence and threading a pinpoint throughball for Havertz, who rounded Ederson and slotted home three minutes before the break.

City suffered another big blow early in the second half when a tearful and shaken Kevin De Bruyne was forced off with a black eye following a collision with Rudiger, who was shown a yellow card.

The verdict from referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz and the VAR was no penalty when City thought James had handled before Fernandinho replaced Bernardo Silva.

Substitute Christian Pulisic spurned a golden opportunity to give Chelsea breathing space 18 minutes from time, failing to hit the target after Havertz played him in on a blistering break.

Guardiola sent on Sergio Augero for his final City appearance but there was no dream swansong for City’s record goalscorer, Riyad Mahrez slicing a shot just wide deep into seven minutes of stoppage time as Chelsea held on to be crowned champions of Europe.

What does it mean? Thomas has the magic Tuch

Tuchel only replaced Frank Lampard as Blues boss in January and four months later he has won the biggest prize in European club football.

Guardiola’s decision to put Fernandinho and Rodri on the bench raised eyebrows and will be questioned, but Chelsea were outstanding and City only registered only one shot on target.

Chelsea deservedly ended a nine-year wait for a second Champions League triumph, with Guardiola unable to end a wait of a decade to win the famous trophy since his last success with Barcelona.

While City celebrated winning the Premier League and EFL Cup this season, European glory continues to elude them.

Havertz silences the doubters

Havertz did not hit the ground running in England after becoming Chelsea’s club record signing from Bayer Leverkusen at the age of 21 last September.

There has never been any doubting the Germany international’s talent, though, and he finished clinically when Mount picked him out for the decisive goal.

Havertz also made two key passes as he probed in behind the lively Werner along with Mount, who was also outstanding with an assist and a game-high three chances created.

Nightmare for De Bruyne

De Bruyne was unable to stamp his authority on the game as N’Golo Kante and Jorginho bossed the midfield battle.

It was a sad sight to see the Belgium playmaker come off, with concerns he may have suffered concussion on a painful night against his former club.

Key Opta Stats: Chelsea thrive in finals

– Chelsea have lifted the trophy in six of the seven major European finals in their history – with this their fourth success in the Roman Abramovich era alone (x2 Champions League, x2 Europa League).
– They are the third English side to win the Champions League on two occasions, after Liverpool (2004-05 and 2018-19) and Manchester United (1998-99 and 2007-08).
– Guardiola has lost more matches against Chelsea in all competitions than against any other club (8), losing his last three in a row against the Blues.
– The only other sides that Guardiola has lost three in a row against in his managerial career are Real Madrid (2012-14) and Liverpool (2018).
– Tuchel is the third different German manager to win the Champions League in the last three seasons (Jurgen Klopp 2019, Hansi Flick 2020). 
– City became the ninth English team to reach a European Cup/UCL final, at least three more than any other nation (Germany & Italy, 6).
– Only one of the last 11 teams competing in their first final have won (Borussia Dortmund vs Juventus in 1997).
– Guardiola has lost his first cup final as Manchester City manager, with this loss only his second major cup final defeat of his managerial career (along with Copa del Rey in 2010-11).
– Following Havertz’s goal in the 42nd minute neither Manchester City or Chelsea managed to land a single shot on target during the rest of the match.
– Havertz scored his first ever Champions League goal and became the first player to score his first goal in the competition in the final since Ilkay Gundogan in 2013. 
– Mendy kept nine clean sheets in 12 games in this season’s Champions League – no keeper has ever kept more in a single campaign in the competition.
– Silva (36y 249d) became Chelsea’s oldest player to appear in a major European final, overtaking Claude Makelele versus Manchester United in the 2008 UEFA Champions League final (35y 93d).

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