Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea: Kai Havertz Bags Winner to Seal Champions League Triumph

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Chelsea are champions of Europe again after defeating Manchester City 1-0 on Saturday evening.

A sundrenched Estádio do Dragão in Portugal was the venue for an epic all-England clash that will go down in the club's folklore, joining 'that night in Munich' as a historic victory for the Blues.

After an end-to-end first half in which both sides had glorious chances, it was Kai Havertz who was the man of the moment in the 42nd minute. The German met Mason Mount's world-class searching pass and rounded Ederson to send the travelling fans into raptures.

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The second half was as nervy and as tense a second half that any Blues fan could suffer - penalty shouts, last ditch interceptions and the final bow of Sergio Aguero to name but three trials Chelsea had to overcome.

But overcome they did, and in the final analysis it was maybe as relatively comfortable a final that the Pensioners could have hoped for. To a man, each Chelsea player rose to the occasion, snuffed out any danger and put in a performance deserving of lifting Ol' Big Ears nine years after legends like Didier Drogba and Petr Cech did so for the club.

It's a remarkable end to a topsy-turvy season for Chelsea Football Club. Thomas Tuchel and his men have cemented themselves into the history books, and the scenes at the final whistle will be savoured by millions of Blues fans around the globe.


From the off it was apparent that Manchester City had come to defend from the front, relentlessly pressing the Blues in the early stages and looking to impress their game plan with immediacy.

The obvious trade-off with this strategy is that Chelsea would be able to get in behind - Timo Werner doing so just a few minutes in and finding Kai Havertz, who could only find Ederson's clutches with his ball across.

Alarm bells started to ring in the 7th minute when a sublime long ball from the Citizens' goalkeeper found Raheem Sterling bearing down on goal. Reece James did well to track back, and between him and Edouard Mendy they managed to deal with the danger.

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The Pensioners were next to try their luck. Nice interplay between Mason Mount and Havertz saw the latter square for Werner to find himself unmarked from six yards out, only for the former Leipzig man to fluff his lines.

Werner would be presented with two further chances in quick succession in the 13th minute. A superbly constructed Chelsea counter attack drew a comfortable Ederson save, before the German smashed the ball into the side netting.

The box office Blues were breaking with regularity - another sublime passage of play saw N'Golo Kanté of all people rise highest to head just wide. Thomas Tuchel will have been pleased with what he saw from his side in the first quarter of regulation time, but there was a sense that Chelsea had to take one of these chances sooner rather than later.

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Chelsea had the lionhearted Antonio Rüdiger to thank for keeping the scorecards level in the 27th minute. Kevin De Bruyne's cute threaded ball was met by Phil Foden, who seemingly only had Mendy to beat in a one on one before Rüdiger's unbelievable recovery block.

City were looking dangerous again just two minutes later, with Riyad Mahrez just inches away from meeting a driven ball across the Chelsea bow with his toe.

A bitter blow to the Blues was to arise with ten minutes of the half to go. The ever dependable and experienced Thiago Silva had to leave the field after picking up an innocuous groin injury. On came his able deputy Andreas Christensen, who had huge boots to fill.

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Disappointment was followed by jubilation. Mason Mount's sensational through ball on the turn found Chelsea's £72m man Havertz, who curved his run excellently and prodded past the onrushing Ederson. The Brazilian keeper seemed to handle the ball outside of the box, but his efforts were to no avail in any case as the former Leverkusen man stroked it home into the empty net.

It was the last notable action of a scintillating first half, with the Blues full value for the lead and just 45 minutes away from the joint greatest night in the club's illustrious history. 

The job was far from done, however. Unsurprisingly, the Manchester City onslaught started in earnest, with the Citizens stepping up further after the break and looking to press the issue. Chelsea, also unsurprisingly, were more than happy to sit back and soak up the pressure in their compact shape.

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After Thiago Silva's departure in the first half, there was cause for concern ten minutes into the second period when Rüdiger and De Bruyne collided hard, leaving both men down dazed. Chelsea's German centre-back is simply built different, but De Bruyne didn't beat the count. He made way for Gabriel Jesus.

A huge City penalty claim was to follow as Raheem Sterling drilled the ball towards goal, but referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz was convinced that it hit Reece James' midrift instead. A VAR check confirmed the referee's suspicions. Foden fired well over not long afterwards.

Both teams looked to the bench for further inspiration. Fernandinho came on for a quiet Bernardo Silva in the 64th minute, with Christian Pulisic introduced to the fray for Timo Werner two minute later. The former Borussia Dortmund prodigy became the first American to play in a Champions League final.

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Chelsea's skipper César Azpilicueta showed his experience to prevent a certain Ilkay Gündoğan tap in at the back post in the 69th minute, scooping it over the bar from what was no more than six yards out.

It was almost game over for Manchester City a short time after. A beautiful break ended with the immense Havertz playing in the newly introduced Pulisic, who scooped it over Ederson and saw the ball flie agonisingly wide at the far post.

Desperate times for the de facto home side called for familiar measures. Sergio Aguero took to the field for his final bow as a Manchester City player in the 77th minute. It was time for the Alamo at the back for the Blues, and Tuchel responded by subbing the Croatian dynamo Mateo Kovacic on for Mason Mount.

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Aguero was almost the hero when the ball landed at his feet in the box, but he elected to try and chip the ball over to teammate Foden and it was meat and drink for the Senegalese giant in the Chelsea goal.

Inexplicably, seven minutes were added on in injury time to prolong Chelsea's valiant defensive efforts. City threw the kitchen sink and all of the plumbing at the Blues' backline, pumping ball after ball into the box. Thomas Tuchel was playing cheerleader for the fans on the touchline - the German manager must be exhausted with how much energy he spent running up and down the touchline tonight.

What will make those aches sweeter is going to sleep knowing that he has come in and masterminded a quite simply extraordinary Champions League campaign for Chelsea. From 9th in the Premier League in January to European champions in May - it's a Chelsea thing.


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