Porto, Portugal, May 29 (EFE).- Kai Havertz’s goal with three minutes left in the first half proved to be all Chelsea would need here Saturday to defeat Manchester City 1-0 and win the Champions League for the second time in their history.
For Blues coach Thomas Tuchel, who was at the helm of Paris Saint-Germain when they lost the 2020 final to Bayern Munich by the identical score, the result represented vindication.
Fired by PSG last year amid conflict with management, the German took charge in January of a Chelsea side that had dropped to the middle of the Premier League title and led them to two finals – they lost the FA Cup to Leicester City – and a fourth-place finish.
City’s Pep Guardiola, meanwhile, will have to wait at least another year to add to the pair of Champions League titles he collected a decade ago as boss of Barcelona.
The Cityzens won the Premier League for the third time in Pep’s tenure at the Etihad and claimed their fourth straight triumph in the Carabao Cup, but the losses to Chelsea in the FA Cup semifinal and in Porto shattered their dream of the quadruple.
Though the Manchester club were playing in the final for the first time and Chelsea had two under their belt, Guardiola’s squad were seen as the favorites.
City, who would end the contest with 61 percent possession, created the first chance of the night in front of 14,110 spectators in the stands as Porto’s Do Dragao stadium.
Goalkeeper Ederson found Raheem Sterling deep in Chelsea territory with a great ball over the top and the forward forced a save from Edouard Mendy in the 8th minute, two minutes before the Blues’ Timo Werner squandered a fine opportunity.
Werner threatened again in the 14th minute, only to fire straight at Ederson and put the ball in the side-netting in the following minute.
Blues defender Antonio Rüdiger did well to block a shot by Phil Foden in the 27th minute.
Tuchel had to make a change at the back in the 39th minute, sending on Andreas Christensen when Thiago Silva – who was with PSG for last year’s final – realized he couldn’t continue after suffering what appeared to be a groin injury.
The match was in the 42nd minute when Chelsea’s Mason Mount released Kai Havertz with a brilliant pass and the German bore down on the City goal.
With no defenders to help him, Ederson came way off his line, but Havertz eluded the keeper and scored into the open net, his first Champions League goal for Chelsea.
The outlook grew more complicated for Manchester City following a collision between Rüdiger and all-world playmaker Kevin de Bruyne that saw both men go down holding their heads in the hands.
Rüdiger was able to carry on, but the Belgian left the pitch right before the hour mark with a bruised eye and what seemed to be an issue with his neck.
Pep tapped Gabriel Jesus to replace De Bruyne and swapped out Bernardo Silva for Fernandinho a few minutes later.
With 24 minutes left in regulation, Tuchel pulled Werner in favor of United States international Christian Pulisic, who became the first male footballer from his country to play in a Champions League final.
Foden and Riyad Mahrez combined to get the ball into the box in the 68th minute and Jesus was poised at the far post to knock it in until Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta intervened at the last second to clear the ball over the cross-bar.
Pulisic sent a shot just wide of the post on a counter in the 73rd minute.
As the match entered the final stretch, Guardiola replaced Sterling with City all-time scoring leader Sergio Agüero, making his last appearance with the team, and the Argentine striker forced a stop from Mendy in the 84th minute.