Chelsea won the 2021 UEFA Champions League title on Saturday, beating fellow English club Manchester City in the final, 1-0. The Blues got a goal in the first half from Kai Havertz, and City couldn't respond as superstar Kevin De Bruyne left in the second half due to injury. The Blues controlled the match from the beginning and used their patient, organized defense to hold City's attack at bay for the majority of the match as Pep Guardiola's men rarely looked like a threat going forward.
Guardiola brought on Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, but the tinkering with his starting XI did not work out as his surprise inclusion of Raheem Sterling resulted in very little. Thee Londoners claimed their second ever UCL crown, and their first since 2012. Chelsea's Christian Pulisic made history as the first USMNT player to appear in the Champions League final, though he was unable to convert on a goal-scoring chance off the bench.
Here are three takeaways from Saturday's final in Porto:
Chelsea set the tone early
Everybody knew this game was going to be defensive. Chances were also going to be hard to come by, and I'm not counting the ones that Timo Werner shanks from point-blank range. The first and probably best chance City got came in the first half from Phil Foden as he was shifted to striker by Guardiola.
So, when De Bruyne played him cleanly through, the opener looked on the verge of falling... until Antonio Rudiger got involved. The German, who made quite an impact in this match, delivered a perfectly timed tackle that set the tone for his team throughout the match. Take a look:
The confidence, the cohesion and the belief all grew from that moment on for Chelsea.
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Sensational Mount is the real MVP
Nobody lovess Havertz more than me. I have said in the past when he was in the Bundesliga, that he should be mentioned in the same conversation as the likes of Erling Haaland. He proved his worth by stepping up in the biggest game, but a lot of the credit has to go to another young superstar: Chelsea's Mason Mount. His through ball to set up Havertz was absolutely tasty, taking advantage of Ruben Dias holding the German on. Take a look:
The young superstar didn't have a lot of chances to make an impact, but when he did, he delivered a smooth ball to the perfect spot, forever cementing himself as a Chelsea legend.
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KDB injury was final blow
Rudiger certainly didn't mean it, and it wasn't dirty, but his collision with De Bruyne altered the game big time. City weren't looking all that dangerous with De Bruyne, but without him? Even less so. City lost their best player for the last 30 minutes after he ran into Rudiger and had to come off the pitch. City barely knocked on the door after that. All Rudiger was trying to do was slow KDB down, but in the the end the challenge killed any chance City had of coming back.