Evening all and welcome to Sports Mole
's live commentary of the 2021 Champions League final between Manchester City
from the Estadio do Dragao in Porto. What a setting and what an occasion; it should be a fascinating battle between the two Premier League clubs. Stay tuned!
MAN CITY: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Stones, Zinchenko; Gundogan, De Bruyne, Bernardo; Mahrez, Sterling, Foden
CHELSEA: Mendy; James, Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Werner, Havertz
That City XI, wow. Few would have expected that both Fernandinho and Rodri would be left out of the starting side but that is indeed the case. It is an incredibly attacking selection from Pep Guardiola
, with Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne lining up as the midfield three.
In truth, it is not a surprise that both Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus have been left out of the City XI, but it is somewhat of a surprise that Raheem Sterling is included. Who plays through the middle for Guardiola's side? It could be Sterling, but it could also be De Bruyne, with Foden dropping back.
As for Chelsea, Reece James will seemingly play in the back three alongside Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger, with Cesar Azpilicueta operating as the right-sided wing-back. N'Golo Kante and Jorginho, meanwhile, are the midfield two, with Ben Chilwell given the nod over Marcos Alonso on the left.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel
also had big decisions to make in the final third of the field, and Kai Havertz
has been given the nod over Hakim Ziyech. Timo Werner appears to be going through the middle with Havertz and Mason Mount operating in the deeper positions for the Blues.
Man City will enter this match off the back of a thumping 5-0 win over Everton in the Premier League, and the Citizens already have two trophies in the bag, having won the Premier League and EFL Cup. The Manchester giants are now going in search of their first ever Champions League title.
Man City and Chelsea are certainly no strangers in domestic football, but tonight's clash will be the first time that the two teams have met in Europe for 50 years - when they locked horns in the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, with Chelsea recording a 2-0 aggregate success.
Man City hardly needed to break a sweat in the group stages of this season's Champions League, as they breezed into the knockout round, winning five and drawing one of their six matches to collect 16 points, which ultimately left them three points clear of second-placed Porto at the summit.
Borussia Monchengladbach were not expected to provide a particularly stern test for Man City in the round of 16 and that ultimately proved to be the case, with the English side running out 4-0 winners on aggregate, before Borussia Dortmund were beaten 4-2 over two legs of the quarter-finals.
Paris Saint-Germain were waiting in the semi-finals and took the lead in the 15th minute of their first leg in Paris at the end of April, and it would be fair to say that the French champions were enjoying themselves in the early exchanges. De Bruyne scored a crucial equaliser for Man City in the 64th minute, though, before Mahrez's left-footed free-kick handed the English side a 2-1 advantage in the first leg.
PSG were crucially missing Kylian Mbappe through injury for the second leg on May 4, with the attacker ultimately an unused substitute, and it was a comfortable return clash for Man City, as Mahrez scored twice in a 2-0 win to make it a 4-1 aggregate success over Mauricio Pochettino's side.
Man City have only conceded four times en route to the final – the same as Chelsea – which is the lowest total for two finalists since 2006, suggesting that tonight's match will be a close affair. However, one look at the Man City XI and it is difficult to imagine this being a low-scoring contest!
Chelsea, who last won the competition in 2011-12, have actually lost three of their last four matches, including a 1-0 defeat to Leicester City in the FA Cup final in the middle of May. As Manchester United found against Villarreal in the Europa League final, performances cannot be turned on like a tap.
Tuchel's side also lost 2-1 to Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday, but Leicester City's 4-2 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on the same afternoon meant that the club still managed to sneak fourth spot in Premier League table, meaning that they will be in the Champions League next term.
It would have been a shock had Chelsea not managed to qualify from Group E, with Sevilla, Krasnodar and Rennes making up what was a kind section for the Blues, who ultimately topped the group; the Premier League club posted four wins and two draws from six group-stage fixtures to collect 14 points.
Atletico Madrid had been tipped to do some damage against Chelsea in the round of 16, but it never quite happened for Diego Simeone's side, who were incredibly disappointing, with the La Liga champions suffering a 3-0 aggregate defeat, and the last-16 tie will be remembered by Olivier Giroud's stunning overhead kick. As expected, Giroud is on the bench for Tuchel's side this evening.
Porto were Chelsea's opponents in the quarter-finals, but a poor performance in the first leg ultimately cost the Portuguese outfit, with Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell on the scoresheet in a 2-0 success for Tuchel's side. Porto, who beat Juventus in the round of 16, actually won the second leg 1-0, but it was not enough to advance, with Chelsea marching into the final four of the competition.
Real Madrid were then dispatched in the semi-finals, with Chelsea playing out a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Spain before recording a 2-0 victory on home soil. Indeed, Werner scored in the 28th minute to send Tuchel's side ahead, before Mount made sure of the victory late on, as Chelsea advanced to their first Champions League final since 2012. Can the capital outfit win the competition for a second time tonight?
Guardiola and Tuchel will be locking horns for the eighth time in their respective careers tonight, and there have been some fascinating battles between the two managers. The head-to-head record is led by Guardiola, who has won four of the contests to Tuchel's two, while there has also been one draw.
Guardiola enjoyed the success in Germany, but Tuchel has now secured back-to-back wins over the Spaniard since arriving in the Premier League, and he will be desperate to land his first European Cup as manager tonight. Kickoff in Porto is now less than 15 minutes away, and the atmosphere is electric!
Tuchel and Guardiola's first clash in England came in the FA Cup semi-finals, with Chelsea running out a 1-0 winners courtesy of a strike from Ziyech. As mentioned, Ziyech is on the bench tonight, with Havertz and Mount joining Werner as part of a front three. It is a huge, huge game for Werner.
A reminder of the two teams for tonight...
MAN CITY: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Stones, Zinchenko; Foden, Gundogan, Bernardo; Sterling, De Bruyne, Mahrez
CHELSEA: Mendy; James, Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Werner, Havertz
De Bruyne through the middle, then? Well, it looks that way for now. Foden in midfield alongside Bernardo Silva and Gundogan, with Rodri and Fernandinho on the bench. It is an incredibly attacking Man City XI, that is for sure. Can Chelsea find a way to pick the Citizens off tonight?
Here we go then; less than five minutes until kickoff in Porto. The two teams will soon enter the field to a wonderful reception, and the sensational Champions League anthem will soon be underway.
PREDICTION! Man City. I am expecting this to be a very tight match, potentially 1-0, or it could even go to penalties. But Guardiola's side should just edge this contest, in my opinion.
It must be said that the atmosphere inside the stadium is electric; what a treat to have some fans back. It is Man City against Chelsea, Guardiola against Tuchel. Kickoff is now just moments away here.
KICKOFF: Man City kick things off in Porto...
Man City have come out flying here, and De Bruyne is the one playing through the middle. Foden is in midfield, meanwhile, but the England international is more advanced than Gundogan. Not too much from Chelsea in the early exchanges, with the Citizens very much on the all-out attack.
As for Chelsea, Werner is through the middle, with Havertz off the right. Havertz has just been involved inside the Man City box, but the attacker's cross is into the arms of Ederson. Another point on the Chelsea side, it is Azpilicueta playing in the back three and James operating as the wing-back.
No chances to report inside the first seven minutes, but the early signs are good. Chelsea are on the front foot at the moment, and it does appear that both sides will be going after each other here.
CHANCE! Big moment for Man City early on as Ederson's long pass releases Sterling inside the Chelsea box, but the attacker's touch is poor, which allows James across to make the challenge.
CHANCE! Big chance for Chelsea this time as Havertz breaks down the left before delivering a low cross into Werner, but the Germany international cannot make contact.
Man City break straight down the other end and Sterling delivers a low cross towards Mahrez, but Ben Chilwell is across to make an excellent challenge. What a wonderful opening 11 minutes here.
It would be staggering if this game finished goalless, as both sides are on the front foot. Man City are so dangerous going forward, but Chelsea are also committing plenty of numbers to each attack.
CHANCE! Wonderful chance for Chelsea to score as Chilwell finds Werner inside the penalty box, but the forward just fires his effort straight at Ederson. Incredible chance for the German here!
SHOT! Werner has one deflected into the side netting this time as Chelsea threaten again.
CLOSE! Kante heads a cross from Chilwell wide of the post, with the midfielder somehow making contact ahead of the Man City defenders. Chelsea have had some excellent moments in the early stages.
Man City are finding it difficult to work the space at the moment, with Chelsea tight at the back. The Blues are then breaking with pace and purpose, and Werner could have scored twice here.
Pass, pass, pass from Man City as they look to work a route through the Chelsea defence. The tempo here is quite staggering; it is almost like a basketball match. Wonderful to watch. De Bruyne just had a low cross turned behind for a corner, but the Belgian was ultimately flagged offside.
Chilwell delivers another excellent low cross into the Man City box, but Dias is on hand to make the clearance. Chelsea are finding so much space in the final third of the field here.
De Bruyne has not had much change out of Chelsea's defence thus far tonight.
James delivers a dangerous cross into the Man City box, but Dias manages to make the clearance. Dias has been everywhere for the Citizens on the opening 27 minutes, and he has needed to be.
CHANCE! Big moment for Man City as Foden finds himself free inside the Chelsea box and pokes the ball towards goal, but Rudiger comes from nowhere to make a wonderful block.
Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining here, and it has absolutely flown past. Both sides have had chances, but Chelsea really should be ahead, with the Blues having the better moments.
Walker powers his way past Chilwell before delivering a low cross towards Mahrez, but the attacker cannot make contact. Incredible pace and strength from the Man City right-back there.
Chelsea work the ball along the Man City box, but Guardiola's side are resolute and manage to snuff out the danger. Still goalless as we head for the final stages of the opening 45 minutes here.
YELLOW CARD! Gundogan is shown a yellow card for a poor challenge on Mount.
Both sets of players have come across to have some water, as Thiago Silva limps off. It does not appear that the centre-back will be able to continue tonight due to a possible groin issue.
Thiago Silva is back on and fine to continue, for now.
De Bruyne has not really been able to get into this match thus far, and the Belgian has just lost the ball, which allowed Chelsea to break, but Havertz was dispossessed inside the penalty box. Mahrez then works the space before delivering a cross into the arms of the Chelsea goalkeeper.
Thiago Silva is down again, and he will have to be replaced here.
CHELSEA SUB! Thiago Silva is replaced by Andreas Christensen.
Little under five minutes of the first period remaining, and it is still goalless. The opening 41 minutes have flown past, and Chelsea have been the better side and have also had the better chances.
GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 0-1 CHELSEA (HAVERTZ)
Chelsea make the breakthrough in the 42nd minute of this match as Havertz collects a fine pass from Mount before rounding Ederson and stroking the ball into the back of the net.
Chelsea deserve to lead this match, there is no question about that. Man City's formation and choice of players just simply has not worked, and Guardiola might be regretting his team selection.
We are into the first of three additional minutes at the end of the first period.
SHOT! Chelsea continue to work the ball forward, and Werner strikes wide of the post from a narrow angle. Man City have not managed to launch any kind of response since falling behind here.
HALF TIME: MANCHESTER CITY 0-1 CHELSEA
Well then! What a first 45 minutes here; there is plenty of work to do for Man City, as Chelsea have a one-goal lead courtesy of a well-taken goal from Havertz, who collected a pass from Mount before rounding Ederson and finishing into the back of the net. Guardiola's team selection has not worked!
Man City have had 65% of the possession to Chelsea's 35%, but Tuchel's side have had five shots to Man City's three. There has also been just the one shot on target from Guardiola's team, while Chelsea have managed two. There is no doubting that the London club deserve to be ahead in Porto.
Man City have so much talent on their bench, with Aguero, Cancelo, Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres all capable of making a difference going forward. Chelsea have already been forced into a change, with Christensen replacing Silva, but the likes of Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, Kovacic, Pulisic and Ziyech remain in reserve for the Blues, who could have scored twice in the early exchanges of the contest through Werner.
The second half is just moments away here, and it does not appear that there are any changes from either manager. How long will Guardiola leave it if the score stays 1-0?
KICKOFF: Chelsea resume the action in Porto...
De Bruyne has the chance to deliver a free kick into the Chelsea box, but it is poor from the Belgium international, with Kante making a comfortable block. Man City really must improve here.
Man City are on the front foot here, with Chelsea dropping into a deeper shape. But the Citizens are not really creating much, with Walker just delivering a low cross straight into the arms of Mendy.
No chances to report in the early stages of the second period, but Man City are still dominating the ball, and Chelsea just need to be careful that they do not spend long stages camped outside their box.
Chelsea almost manage to break clear through Werner, but Dias is across to make a wonderful challenge. Man City continue to work the ball in the final third, but they are finding it difficult to create space. Surely changes will have to enter Guardiola's mind in the next 10 minutes or so.
Bit of concern for De Bruyne here, as the Belgian has clashed heads with Rudiger, who is also on the ground. The two players just ran into each other, and it looked to be a nasty one.
YELLOW CARD! Rudiger is booked for his part in the clash with De Bruyne.
De Bruyne is still down here, and it does not look great for the attacker.
MAN CITY SUB! Gabriel Jesus is on for De Bruyne, who has a black eye. What a blow for the Citizens, who have lost their most influential player in the Champions League final.
PENALTY APPEAL! Man City want a penalty as Sterling strikes the ball towards James.
No penalty. The ball struck James in the chest.
SHOT! Foden fires harmlessly wide of the post as Man City attempt to force the issue.
Little over 25 minutes of the second period remaining, and Chelsea still lead 1-0. The Blues are not too interested in attacking at the moment, but Man City are struggling down the other end.
MAN CITY SUB! Fernandinho replaces Bernardo Silva.
CHELSEA SUB! Christian Pulisic replaces Werner for Chelsea.
There are challenges flying in all over the place at the moment, and it would not be a surprise to see a yellow card arrive in the coming minutes. Man City have just delivered a free kick into the Chelsea box, but the danger is cleared once again. Will Aguero be used at some stage tonight?
Wonderful defending from Azpilicueta to clear a low cross from Walker, who looked to have picked out Gundogan. Excellent work from the Spaniard, with Chelsea still ahead in the 69th minute.
Man City continue to move the ball in the final third of the field, but no real chances for the Citizens at the moment. Sterling just cannot negotiate his way past James, who has been exceptional.
Man City are expected to sign a new striker this summer, and they certainly need one. The Citizens have not had a shot on target since the eighth minute, which is absolutely staggering it must be said.
CHANCE! Incredible chance for Chelsea to score a second as Havertz finds Pulisic inside the Man City box, but the attacker somehow chips his effort wide of the post. Stunning opportunity for the Blues!
CHANCE! Sterling manages to pull the ball back towards Gabriel Jesus inside the Chelsea box, but the Brazilian cannot make contact. Sergio Aguero is about to enter the field for Guardiola's team.
SHOT! Mount fires one harmlessly wide of the post from distance.
MAN CITY SUB! Aguero replaces Sterling for Man City.
Little over 10 minutes of the second period remaining, and Chelsea still lead 1-0. Man City are very much on the front foot, though, and there could well be some late drama in this match.
CHELSEA SUB! Mateo Kovacic is on for Mount here.
Chelsea are around 10 minutes away from winning the Champions League for a second time, while Man City's wait is set to continue, as it stands. Still all Man City in terms of possession, but Guardiola's side are just not creating anything of note in the final third. Aguero couldn't, could he?
The clock ticks on and on for Man City. And for Chelsea, who continue to defend their lines. Man City just need one moment, but Mendy is a spectator between the sticks and has been for some time.
Aguero beats James to a long ball and delivers into the Chelsea box, but Mendy is on hand to make the claim. Little under five minutes of the 90 remaining here, and Chelsea still lead 1-0.
Walker delivers a wonderful long ball towards Foden, but the England international just cannot make contact. Chelsea just need to be careful that they are not sinking deeper and deeper here.
YELLOW CARD! Gabriel Jesus is booked for a poor challenge on Havertz.
We are into the final minute of normal time. How many will be added?
Wonderful block by Christensen as Man City have their best moment for a while; the ball stays in and around the penalty area, with Dias delivering a low cross, but Chelsea clear their lines.
We are into the second of SEVEN added minutes here!
All Man City, as expected, but Chelsea continue to clear their lines. Walker delivers a long throw into the penalty box, and Chelsea thump it clear through Chilwell. Still a few minutes to play here.
Man City just look so short of ideas, and they now look short of energy. Chelsea are heading towards the title, with Havertz's goal the difference. But there is still time for some late drama here.
SHOT! Mahrez's effort just misses the post, with Mendy rooted to the spot!
FULL TIME: MANCHESTER CITY 0-1 CHELSEA
And there is the full-time whistle! Chelsea win the Champions League courtesy of that first-half effort from Havertz. What a night for the Blues, who have landed this famous trophy for the second time.
It just did not happen for Man City, who never got going in the final third. Guardiola's team selection did not work, but the Spaniard's key players also did not turn up. The celebrations are in full flow in Porto, with Chelsea players flooding all over the pitch. What an incredible night for the capital club.
James was exceptional for Chelsea at the back, while Kante put in a masterclass in the middle of the park. Man City? It just did not happen. Guardiola has been left with plenty to ponder here.
And that is about it for us tonight! Congratulations to Chelsea, what a performance from the Blues. Havertz's goal is the difference in Porto, and the celebrations are in full flow here. Thanks very much for joining Sports Mole for our live coverage, and we will see you again very soon!