Chelsea clinched the Champions League title on Saturday after beating Manchester City 1-0 in the all-English final.
A first-half goal from summer signing Kai Havertz, the most expensive player in Chelsea’s history, was enough to earn Thomas Tuchel’s side victory in front of thousands of fans at Porto’s Estadio Dragao in Portugal.
Meanwhile, Manchester City’s wait for European glory continues after making its first final in this season’s competition.
Chelsea, which last won the Champions League in 2012, was worthy of the win having executed a perfect game plan masterminded from Tuchel, who took over from club legend Frank Lampard in January.
The former boss of Paris Saint-Germain, who lost to Bayern Munich in the final last season, was an animated figure throughout, conducting the 16,500 fans present and urging his side to a famous win.
“They (the players) were determined to win this. We wanted to be a stone in their (Manchester City’s) shoe,” an emotional Tuchel told BT Sport after the game.
“We encouraged everybody to step up and step out, to be more brave and create dangerous counterattacks.”
Both teams had chances throughout but it was Havertz who kept his calm, latching onto a wonderful through ball from Mason Mount to round the goalkeeper and pass into an open net moments before half-time.
*City’s wait goes on
Both sides lost key players during the final. Chelsea’s veteran defender Thiago Silva picked up an injury in the first half and City captain Kevin De Bruyne had to be subbed off in the second half after colliding with Antonio Rüdiger.
But even before losing its talisman, City looked short of quality and couldn’t cope with the constant pressure from Chelsea, led by man of the match N’Golo Kante.
Despite dominating domestically, the Champions League has been the thorn in Manchester City’s side in recent years.
Manager Pep Guardiola, widely considered one of the greatest managers of all time, has not won the title since leaving Barcelona in 2012.
Three seasons came and went at Bayern Munich without European glory and he had failed to get past the quarterfinal stage during his first four years at City.
He has sometimes been accused of overthinking his tactics when it comes to crunch time in the Champions League, often to the detriment of his own team, and it seems he suffered a similar fate on Saturday.
Guardiola opted for an attacking lineup without a single holding midfielder and his side failed to dominate proceedings as it normally does.
Despite the disappointment, City still finishes the season as the Premier League and League Cup champions.
“It has been an exceptional season for us. It was a tight game. We had chances,” Guardiola told BT Sport after the match.
“We were brilliant in the second half, we were brave and we could not convert the chances as they were so strong. The players were exceptional. We come back maybe one day again!”
In truth, Chelsea could have scored more. Striker Timo Werner missed two glorious opportunities in the opening stages and Christian Pulisic shot wide in the second half.
Despite missing his chance, Pulisic made history. When he was subbed on for Werner in the second half, he became the first American male to play in a Champions League final and became the first American on a Champions League winner as well.
Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy made history as well, becoming the first African goalkeeper to play in a Champion’s League final.
Mendy’s clean sheet is his ninth in 12 Champions League matches this season, the most ever in a single campaign.
The 22-year-old Mount, who came through the academy at the club, struggled to contain his emotions after the final whistle.
“To go all the way in the Champions League. We played some tough teams. We are in a final and we won it,” he told BT Sport.
“It’s such a special occasion. At this moment in time, we’re the best team in the world. You can’t take that away from us.”
Whilst Chelsea celebrated with fans inside the stadium, groups of supporters gathered back in London to watch their side win European football’s biggest competition for a second time.
-By Ben Church, CNN