Chelsea pulled off the upset in the 2021 UEFA Champions League final, beating Manchester City 1-0 in a tense yet entertaining all-English matchup. It’s the club’s second Champions League trophy and first since 2012.
Chelsea’s Kai Havertz picked a fine time to score his first-career Champions League goal, running onto an inch-perfect pass into space from Mason Mount, rounding the ‘keeper and depositing into the back of the net three minutes before halftime.
It was the only goal Chelsea needed, frustrating Manchester City with strong defensive play in the second half — typical of the approach under coach Thomas Tuchel. They would hold the defending English Premier League champions to just one shot on goal the entire match.
American Christian Pulisic also became the first U.S. national team player to feature in a Champions League final when he entered in the 66th minute for Timo Werner. Just minutes after coming in, he narrowly missed a golden opportunity, hitting wide of the target.
”It’s incredible. I have no words, I’m so proud,” Pulisic told a pool reporter after the match. “I knew I was going to have to put in the hard work defensively. I wish I put away the chance I had. I didn’t quite get under it like I wanted. But in the end, this team we were always going to win this game. I’m just so proud of them.
“I’m just so proud to be here. It’s been a difficult road for me. I couldn’t imagine winning the Champions League ever in my life and now I’m here. It’s just crazy.”
Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola introduced a surprise lineup, with central holding midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri starting on the bench. Whether it was the unusual lineup or Chelsea’s play, the Citizens never looked settled in the first half and Chelsea had several looks at goal before the Havertz opening strike.
Man City was dealt a tough blow to start the second half when captain Kevin De Bruyne was forced out of the game with a head injury after a collision with defender Antonio Rudiger. It was an uphill battle without their best attacking player. Guardiola brought on forwards Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, but they couldn’t help their goal-challenged team.
It was the third straight win by Chelsea over Manchester City after winning their final Premier League showdown and the FA Cup semifinal.