The “Blues” in jubilation. Chelsea won their second Champions League, beating favorite Manchester City (1-0) in the final thanks to Kai Havertz (42e), Saturday in Porto, a symbolic title for his trainer Thomas Tuchel, licensed from Paris SG at Christmas.
The German technician and the London club have lived together the upheavals of a unique season, turned upside down by the Covid-19 pandemic. Seventh in the Premier League when Swabia arrived in mid-January, Chelsea players had a season of ups and downs, which made them the underdogs against the recent champion of England.
But in a singular year, a surprise winner: the “Sky Blues”, put into orbit by the colossal investments of their rich Emirati owner, will have to wait before registering their name on the charts.
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Like Tottenham in 2019 and PSG in 2020, they lost their first C1 final, proof that the flagship competition does not allow itself to be seduced by newcomers, as attractive as they are.
“For a first final, we played a very good match, we showed courage. We will learn “, analyzed their coach Pep Guardiola, crowned twice on the Barça bench.
While he tried a tactical blow by starting Raheem Sterling in place of Fernandinho, Guardiola could not find the key against Tuchel, who beats him for the third time in a month and a half (after the Cup and the Championship ).
The German, like Chelsea, experienced a painful apprenticeship in the finals, with the one lost last August in Lisbon against Bayern (1-0) with PSG, who sacked him four months later, against a backdrop of disagreement on the proposed game.
N’Golo Kanté, the man of the match
In London, his players went to the end of his idea, with solidarity in defense and a constant commitment. “It’s a strong group, an ambitious club that suits me perfectly”, remarked Tuchel, who greeted the “Collective performance”.
One man nevertheless stood out: N’Golo Kanté. The French international made a match in his image, being tireless when it came to pressing, and impactful when he had the ball. His teammate with the Blues, Olivier Giroud, remained on the bench all match.
The presence of 14,110 spectators at the Dragon stadium gave life to this final, also English in the commitment made by the two teams. So noisy “Thiago Silva” accompanied the outing (39e) of the Brazilian defender, hit in the thigh, who had difficulty in hiding his depression.
But, in this theater that came back to life thanks to the fans, the sequences were linked, and with tears succeeded the joy, when Havertz opened the scoring three minutes later.
After a last strike from Mahrez (90e+7), Chelsea fans let their joy explode. At the same time, the announcer urging them to keep their masks and to remain seated in their seats. The last image of a season like no other.