The goal of the German striker Kai Haverz in the 42nd minute brought Chelsea a surprisingly comfortable 1-0 victory against Manchester City in Porto in the third all-English final of UEFA on Saturday.
That the last game of the club season, heavily influenced by the coronavirus pandemic, was decided in order for Havertz to feel fit, as he was suffering severely after falling ill in the middle of his first year at the club by signing a nearly $ 100 million.
He recovered to play a big role at the end of the Chelsea season, and showed why the club made him the centerpiece of their $ 300 million spending last offseason by the way he came across a ball from Mason Mount, rounded goalkeeper Ederson Moraes and rolls the ball into an empty net.
“I really don’t know what to say,” Havertz said. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.
As for his German counterpart Tuhel, he had to wait only one season to overcome the disappointment of losing the final in 2020, when he was in charge of Paris Saint-Germain. Dismissed by PSG in December, he was hired by Chelsea a month later to resuscitate a team that had lost its way – and dropped to ninth place in the Premier League – and secured the Champions League title four months later.
It was declared a tactical match between Tuchel and Guardiola, two of the most innovative coaches in the world, and had a clear winner.
Guardiola will certainly regret going crazy with a settled team that had swept City to its first Champions League final and on the verge of another triple high after winning the Premier League and the English League Cup.
It was expected to start without a striker – Guardiola preferred this in knockout matches in the Champions League, but without a specialist who holds a midfielder in Fernandinho or Rodri, it was a big surprise and destabilized City.
The city lost its shape and its famous tranquility. In his quest to win the Champions League for the third time as coach and first since 2011, Guardiola was guilty of rethinking his tactics in a big game – as he was for City’s quarter-final eliminations at the hands of Lyon, Tottenham and Liverpool over the past three years.
“I did what I thought was the best solution,” Guardiola said.
However, this decision went wrong. Ilkay Gundogan, City’s top scorer this season and a revelation in his role as an attacking midfielder, eventually dropped out as a midfielder and he struggled to defend City’s defense.
In fact, for Chelsea’s goal, Mount had so much time and space to pass from the inside half through City’s center of defense – which was opened by Timo Werner’s lure – to Hawtz.