Chelsea won a thoroughly deserved second Champions League title as they edged out Manchester City 1-0 at the Estadio de Dragao in Portugal.

 

Heading into the game, Manchester City were probably viewed as the favourites, but that became more clouded upon the release of the team sheets an hour before kick-off.

 

For Manchester City, Olexander Zinchenko was preferred to Joao Cancelo at left-back, whilst Fernandinho and Rodri were both left on the bench, with the Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola opting for an attacking midfield trio.

 

Whilst the teamsheets suggested goals, it was in fact goalless until deep into the first half. Timo Werner missed two glorious chances when well-placed in front of goal, whilst only a brilliant Antonio Rudiger block prevented Phil Foden from finishing off a slick Manchester City move.

 

Despite his misses, it was a brilliant run from Werner that created Chelsea’s opener, and what turned out to be the only goal of the game. Drawing Ruben Dias out of position, The German’s movement allowed Mason Mount to find Kai Havertz running into the space left in between Dias and Zinchenko. Slipping the ball under the onrushing Ederson, Havertz was left with an empty net to tap into, and celebrated in front of the jubilant Chelsea supporters.

 

Manchester City emerged for the second half in much the same way that they ended the first, lacking ideas to break down a stubborn Chelsea defence, and were dealt a further blow when midfield maestro Kevin De Bruyne was forced off following a cynical foul by Rudiger.

 

The Premier League Champions continued to pile on the pressure late into the game, but failed to provide any cutting edge, with balls across the box meeting either empty space or Chelsea defenders. Even though the introductions of Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho encouraged more attacking verve from the Citizens, they were ultimately forced into long balls and long throws, demonstrating the effectiveness of Tuchel’s side defensively.

 

Tuchel gets another one over Guardiola:

Three times now the two sides have faced each other since the German manager took over Chelsea, and this was the third and most important victory of the three. Tactically out-thought, either by Tuchel or himself, Guardiola now has serious questions to answer about his Manchester City side.

His gamble not to play a defensive midfielder backfired spectacularly, while Sterling flattered to deceive upon his return to the side. Phil Foden and Kyle Walker looked bright, but they lacked support, and ultimately were not able to change the course of the game.

 

It proves to be a bitter blow for Manchester City, who remain unable to claim a Champions League trophy despite dominating English football.

 

For Chelsea, however, it is dreamland once again.

 

By Scopie

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