The Champions League Final is the most exciting match of the year, and the anticipation of seeing which team will hoist the cup is only heightened when you know that the winning team will be guaranteed a place in next year’s Champions League.
Chelsea’s journey to the Champions League final was a rollercoaster ride over 120 minutes. In total, the Blues have been on the back foot for almost the entirety of the match. The Blues have been the better side and looked set to take a draw until a penalty was awarded. As a result, Chelsea’s joy turned to despair and the blues are now heading to penalties.
Since the team is still playing, many SL fans are still waiting to see if Chelsea will score a goal. Some are betting on the team to be the first to score in the Champions League final, which is a very difficult thing to do. Being the first team to score in the Champions League Final is a very hard thing to do. Watching the game, it looks like Chelsea is going to score the goal.. Read more about 2008 champions league final and let us know what you think.
Here’s what you need to know:
Pulisic stands next to the fourth official. It will begin at the next kickoff.
Fernandinho will play anyway: He replaces Bernard Silva and will take his usual place in defense.
Everyone else, one would assume, will be asked to move up a bit, knowing he can take on defensive duties for the back line.
City shouted handball, but the referee noticed the incident and ruled – correctly – that Reece James’ shot in front of the Chelsea goal hit him first in the chest and then in the arm. No hand play because of this contact with the bong.
De Bruyne can’t continue. He walks away in tears, visibly stunned. Terribly sad for him, for City and perhaps also for Belgium, who are counting on him at the European Championships this summer.
But his day is over. Gabriel Jesus comes on as a substitute.
Kevin De Bruyne (right) could not continue after his collision with Antonio Rudiger.Credit…Carl Recine/Pool, via Reuters
A hard collision leaves Rudiger and De Bruyne on the pitch after the former uses his body to stop a pass from the latter in midfield. De Bruyne lingers for a moment, looking genuinely bemused.
Rüdiger was also hit hard and received a yellow card for his foul. He will need to be careful, but for now City are worried about their playmaker lying on the pitch near the centre circle.
Kante sneaks up on De Bruyne and takes him down with a perfectly timed fall. The French midfielder is one of the most tireless, efficient and valuable players in world football – a man whose engine never stops, with unusual instincts and timing.
This game is perfect for him to become a star. Just be yourself.
Kai Havertz with Alexander Zinchenko.
Play resumes and City need less than a minute to take a dangerous free kick. But the Chelsea backline push in just before the kick is cleared and City’s effort lands in Kante’s lap. He’s cleaning up.
credit Susana Vera/Pool, via Reuters
Chelsea’s goal confirmed the main lesson of the first half: Manchester City are too easily attacked from behind.
For all the midfielders Pep Guardiola mentioned, none of them came close to Mason Mount when he took the ball from him in his own half. Timo Werner’s clever running opened up the defense, and the Mount had all the time and space it needed to get past Havertz. The goal was the first for the young German in the Champions League. It’s not a bad time to score.
Expect City to come to Chelsea with plenty of momentum in the second half. But that creates an extra risk, because Tuchel’s team looked very dangerous on the counter today. This first half was a lot of fun. The second is perfectly prepared to be better.
Credit…Jose Coelho/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images
Stunned. Kai Havertz collected a beautiful through ball from Mason Mount, broke through the City defence, took the ball and put Chelsea ahead.
An amazing turnaround, especially after losing a key defender just before half-time, when City should have been gloating about their chances.
Instead, Chelsea warmed them up with a goal. Guardiola seems dizzy.
After a few minutes our Spanish referee blew the whistle for half-time. City’s defenders begin to wonder how this could have happened, and Chelsea fans sink into their seats in relief.
The second half could be fun.
Thiago Silva covered his face when he was replaced.Credit…Susana Vera/Pool, via Reuters
Thiago Silva, who returned to the final a year after losing to Paris Saint-Germain with Chelsea, is absent. A few minutes ago he went to the sideline for help and now he’s down again. In the 38th. His day is over in the 11th minute and he looks downcast.
Andreas Christensen, who hasn’t played for three weeks, came on as a substitute. His mission to stop the attack on the city, which had already smelled of blood several times, was not the most fun to be given all at once.
Finals involving teams from the same country don’t usually attract much interest. The teams know each other too well. The stakes, if any, are too high. Judging by the first half hour, this match will be an exception, on par with the all-German match in 2013. She was exciting, adrift and incredibly open.
Of course this was to be expected from City after seeing Pep Guardiola’s team, but Chelsea responded in kind. In fact, it was more likely that she would take the lead. Only Timo Werner had three. For anyone who has seen him this season, it’s no big surprise that he hasn’t scored a single goal.
City, for her part, seemed nervous. Not in a misguided and cautious way, but in a furious and frenzied way. Everything is happening too fast, too fast. Raheem Sterling, a surprising acquisition, brings the most danger, but needs more running ability and less speed. City’s success this season has been based on patience and composure. It won’t hurt to touch him here.
Ilkay Gündogan is shown his first yellow card of the match for an untimely high foul in midfield.
Chelsea centre-back Thiago Silva, meanwhile, limped to the bench to have his thigh checked. It could make a big difference, he controls Chelsea’s back line.
credit Susana Vera/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images
Watching Raheem Sterling and knowing he’s about to turn the corner and run away from you has to be one of the scariest feelings in football. Chelsea right-back Rhys James almost took advantage, but he was able to pull back and push the ball away as Sterling stormed into the penalty area.
Guardiola, meanwhile, is already looking for solutions, changes, ways forward. He ordered Phil Foden to put pressure in the middle of the field.
However, City were the dominant force throughout; whenever Chelsea gave the ball away, City’s attackers took full advantage.
Those were the first three chances for Timo Werner, who was surprisingly active and, perhaps unsurprisingly, more threatening than really dangerous. This has been the sticking point with Werner since the beginning of the season: He has plenty of chances, but he takes too few. This theme continues to this day.
Timo Werner (left) got behind John Stones several times early in the game.
City are proving that they are dangerous and can attack from any position on the pitch. Their goalkeeper Ederson cut down all the players in front of him with a long ball over the head for the speedy Raheem Sterling.
But Sterling’s first ball contact failed and the first really dangerous chance was missed. But we suddenly go from end to end.
City’s forward line showed patience in the opening minutes. They will want to give Chelsea a run for their money, and the Blues know that. They held back as best they could in the early stages of the game, putting pressure on the full-backs and trying to keep the ball in City’s half rather than their own.
Manchester City start the match in their traditional light blue shirt with white pants. Chelsea in royal blue.
And in a continuation of a moment that has been going on since the beginning of the season, the teams knelt before the game to continue their commitment to social justice.
Credit…Jose Coelho/Pool, via Reuters
Manchester City fans’ resentment of UEFA was not assuaged by reaching the Champions League final, despite the budding peace between the club and the organisation after City helped abolish the Super League.
As the tournament song sounded, cheers erupted in the area where the City fans were.
Raheem Sterling’s first chance was saved by Edouard Mendy.Credit…Pierre-Philippe Marcou/Pool, via Reuters
If Pep Guardiola wants to win, he will clearly do it his way. The Manchester City team is pure Guardiola, the essence of what he considers the highest form of football: a team made up almost exclusively of attacking midfielders.
At the back there is an attacking midfielder on the left, three attacking midfielders where you would expect them to be – in midfield, and two more attacking midfielders in attack. This means there is no room for Fernandinho, so often a calming influence on this team, or his replacement Rodri. Guardiola has chosen to look forward rather than back, to trust his players, who can hurt Chelsea more than Chelsea can hurt them.
This isn’t the first time he’s done this: Guardiola’s selection for Barcelona in his first final in 2009 also raised questions. That night in Rome, he played Lionel Messi as a false nine and at a stroke moved the Overton window of football. It wasn’t the first time Messi had played it – and Messi wasn’t the first player to take on the role – but by doing it on such a stage, he confirmed that it was no longer a gimmick, nor an option, nor an experiment. It was a commitment to his principles.
This choice may have the same effect. This could be the culmination of the third iteration of Guardiola’s vision of how the game should be run. If City win, of course.
And therein lies the risk: Guardiola’s experience of changing his approach in the Champions League has been mixed, to say the least. His players have suggested that now is not the time to test out new ideas, to make bold leaps into the future. City have to do better than Chelsea. Asking players to familiarize themselves with a new system in the best game of all time can – and I stress the word can – spoil the experience somewhat. It’s a brave time to take risks. But, that’s the Guardiola way. And he always does it his way.
Timo Werner (left) was part of the Chelsea team. Tammy Abraham, one of the team’s top scorers this season, wasn’t even on the bench.Credit…Michael Steele/Getty Images
Manchester City, no doubt keen to get going as soon as possible, have revealed their squad ahead of schedule.
Manchester City XI: Ederson; Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, John Stones, Alexander Zinchenko; Ilkay Gündogan; Kevin De Bruyne (K), Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden
The only thing that can be considered a surprise is that midfielder Fernandinho, who so often plays up front in City’s midfield, will start the match on the bench. The same goes for Sergio Aguero, who plays his last game for the club.
XI | Ederson, Walker, Diaz, Stones, Zinchenko, Gundogan, De Bruyne (C), Bernardo, Mahrez, Sterling, Foden
Steffen, Carson, Ake, Jesus, Agüero, Laporte, Rodrigo, Torres, Mendy, Fernandinho, Cancelo, Garcia
#ManCity | https://t.co/axa0klD5re pic.twitter.com/APXPDXtXTk
– Manchester City (@ManCity) 29 May 2021
Chelsea followed a few minutes later, and here’s the news: Thomas Tuchel starts the match with Timo Werner, supported by Mason Mount and Kai Havertz. Christian Pulisic, a midfielder who is expected to be the first American to play in the final, fell in as a substitute.
It was a difficult decision to leave him in reserve, said Tuchel, who added that he had warned his players that there would be many such options today. But he’s very strong on the bench.
Chelsea XI: Edouard Mendy; Cesar Aspilicueta (C), Thiago Silva, Antonio Rüdiger, Rhys James; Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Ben Chilwell; Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Mason Mount
The best team on the market. Well, she and the others are playing today. linked to credit pool photo by Dave Thompson
Ask any English – or European, for that matter – football fan the first word that comes to mind about today’s finalists, and you’ll probably get the same answer: Money.
But while money is certainly one of the reasons why these teams are in this final – and why this may not be the last time we see them here in the near future – turning away a team because it has a lot of it doesn’t give a fair idea of what they’ve created.
Manchester City recently won its third Premier League title in four years and has been setting new standards in England and beyond for a decade (though certainly not in the Champions League).
Most City non-fans scoff at the club’s success, seeing it (perhaps jealously) as the result of the seemingly bottomless wealth of Gulf owners who have poured billions into the team. But many teams have wealthy owners. Valencia has one. Newcastle United too. Just like the New York Jets. Ask the fans of these teams how they are doing.
The Champions League trophy, up for grabs…Credit…Patricia De Melo Moreira/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images
The difference with Manchester City is not just that they buy well – stars like Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Ruben Dias – and buy in bulk. The thing is, he bought with a plan. Gasoline and ideas, Arsene Wenger, the former Arsenal manager, once said of how City had risen from underdogs to champions. Money and quality. There was one last hurdle to overcome that defined his entire mission. And preferably before his Qatari-backed rival Paris Saint-Germain knocks him out of the race for the prize.
Chelsea is also made for days like this. The Blues, who have become five-time champions of England under Russian owner Roman Abramovich, finished fourth in the Premier League this season. Under German coach Thomas Tuchel, who was appointed in January, the team has lost just five games since mid-April, beating Manchester City twice.
Chelsea have made some good purchases too. The company took advantage of the uncertainty surrounding last year’s pandemic to buy $260 million worth of new players: $51 million for Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyeh; $68 million for German striker Timo Werner; and another $63 million for Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell. Thiago Silva, the Brazilian former defender, has been snatched away by other bidders and amidst all this, Chelsea have convinced Bayer Leverkusen to part with 21-year-old striker Kai Havertz for a fee that could reach up to $90 million.
The ambition is as great now as when I became the owner, Abramovich said. I hope you can see that in the work we have done on and off the field over the past 17 years.
The squad he has assembled with his fortune, even the best he has bought, are struggling to find a foothold in a squad so deep that he has a World Cup-winning striker and a goalkeeper who was the most expensive goalkeeper in the world when we signed him three years ago sitting on the bench.
But this time Chelsea have coach Tuchel, who almost won this game last year and knows how to lead a deep and talented (and expensive) team at crucial moments.
Can he or his colleague Pep Guardiola tip the scales in the battle for the budget?
Christian Pulisic in training on Friday. But what role will he play in the final? Credit…Manu Fernandez/Associated Press
There is an American present at today’s game. In fact, there are two.
Christian Pulisic is expected to play for Chelsea, but from the bench, which is a highlight of the American’s journey to Europe.
Another American, Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen, is likely to be a spectator in Porto unless an emergency arises in his team’s camp. The consolation for Steffen is that he is already the first American to win the Premier League.
But for most fans in the US, Pulisic will be the main topic of conversation today. He has already struggled to find his place in London and in his team since his $73 million switch from Borussia Dortmund to Chelsea FC in 2019 caused confusion on both sides of the Atlantic.
Chelsea and their fans have little to complain about his play.
Just last month, he scored a goal in the semi-final against Real Madrid to earn a precious point.
A week later, he showed the same composure when setting up Mason Mount for the goal that ended Madrid’s match.
But constant competition for places in Chelsea’s star attack is never easy. A year after bringing in Pulisic in a team where Mason Mount was already playing a similar role, Chelsea have bought German strikers Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.
Injuries have also been a constant problem for Pulisic, and that could be part of the reason why Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel sees him as a great second-half substitute rather than a player who will play 90 minutes in the team.
But has that impression changed his performance against Real Madrid and other strong matches this spring? No. He will start on the bench as usual, but said this week that he will be ready if called upon.
I’ve learned a lot, I’ve come a long way, Pulisic said this week in an interview with CBS Sports. I have experienced beautiful moments, but also difficult ones. I’m happy with my form now. I’m happy with how I feel. I have faith in myself.
The Champions League final is the most prestigious prize in European football, but today’s finalists, Chelsea and Manchester City, have virtually no experience of the game that rewards it.
Here’s what you need to know about the game now].
Chelsea have only been to the final twice. In 2008, he lost the Premier League final to Manchester United in Moscow on penalties. Four years later, he finally won the trophy by beating Bayern on penalties.
Manchester City are in the final for the first time after a string of very disappointing finals in recent years, including quarter-finals against Lyon (2020), Tottenham (2019) and Liverpool (2018). Last year, even the club’s players openly questioned whether they and their coach could ever win a trophy.
As Premier League champions with a world-class player (and a world-class reserve player) at almost every position on the pitch, City are nevertheless favourites with bettors.
I never thought I would ever play in the Champions League. ….. To see teams take over and now, of course, to be able to play it, it’s special.
John Stones on what it means to play in #UCL pic.twitter.com/lj7DIO5Jo0
– Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) 29. May 2021
This is the essence:
What time is the game? The match starts at 3pm. Easter at the Porto Estadio do Dragan stadium.
How can I see? The game will be broadcast in the United States by CBS Sports and on the Paramount+ streaming app. If you prefer commentary in Spanish, visit the Univision website or the TUDN app. If you are located elsewhere in the world, a full list of local broadcasting partners can be found on the UEFA website.
Will the V.A.R. be used in the Champions League? Yes. So get ready and set your hot cans on fire. This may become a factor at some point.
Will Christian Pulisic start? (This question is primarily for US readers.) The lineups will be announced about an hour before kickoff. UPDATE : No.
Many fans travelled to Porto on the day of the match for various reasons, looking for the quickest route into the city to get to the airport in the morning.
Credit…Miguel Riopa/Agence France-Presse – Getty ImagesCredit…Pedro Nunes/Reuters
But this year, another step was required to get permission to enter the country: a test for the coronavirus.
linked to credit Pedro Nunes/Reuters.
After being let in, the fans arrived late and joined their compatriots in the city centre. Hours before dusk, thousands of people poured out onto the boardwalk, where the sun shone and the beer flowed.
linked to credit Pedro Nunes/Reuters.
credit Luis Vieira/Associated Press
credit linked Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters
Credit…Patricia de Melo Moreira/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images
The security police kept an eye on the crowd. But there was a relaxed atmosphere between the City fans, who had travelled for their club’s first Champions League final, and the Chelsea fans, who were eager to get back into the game.
Our colleague Tariq Panja met Nigel Holland, 63, and Paul Hart, 67, from Manchester. Each of them has guided the city for more than half a century. We’ve had a few dark days in Division III, so we’re taking advantage of that, Holland said.
Others were just eager to get to the Estadio do Dragao and start the game.
Don’t look at him. Pretend it’s not there. Pretend you don’t see it. Credit…Photo of Carl’s resin reserve
Pep Guardiola of Manchester City won the Champions League as a player and as a manager. But not with Manchester City.
Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel was involved in the Champions League final last season when he coached Paris Saint-Germain. His central defender Thiago Silva started the match that day.
But although Manchester City and Chelsea participate in this competition every year, they (perhaps surprisingly) have no direct or even recent experience of the final. It featured City player Ilkay Gündogan. Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic watched the match from the bench. Twice.
But perhaps no one in contemporary football is more associated with this title than Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager who won it twice as a player and won it twice in spectacular and memorable fashion as coach of Barcelona. People forget that despite his (near) total success at Bayern and City, Guardiola hasn’t played in a final since his last win with Barcelona in 2011.
This week Rory Smith talked about his ambitions, his mistakes and why this weekend was so long in coming.
All is quiet in Porto ahead of the Champions League final. But the authorities don’t want to take any chances. A last-minute raid on local police and their British counterparts. They’ll be looking for known bullies. They have lists of names and faces they are looking for pic.twitter.com/jZMYcikcIp
– tariq panja (@tariqpanja) May 29, 2021
City fans with blue smoke bombs loved by Chelsea.Credit…Patricia De Melo Moreira/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images
The president of Europe’s football body has confirmed a report in The Times this week that the organisation is considering merging the semi-finals and final of the Champions League into a week-long football festival, rather than a single day.
Personally, I would like to see that happen, president Alexander Ceferin told French sports magazine L’Equipe ahead of Saturday’s final in Portugal. This could be great. And effective in terms of sales if done right.
While Ceferin expressed support for the idea, he also said there was still time to discuss it with clubs, partners and broadcasters.
There is no emergency, he said. We can solve this problem in a year. According to the Times, the changes won’t happen until 2024.
Last summer’s Champions League knockout round was a rushed event, organised with fingers crossed before the pandemic in Europe had even subsided. The schedule has changed. A new owner has been found (Lisbon). A bubble has formed.
But then something amazing happened: Everyone seemed to like it. Quarter-finals and semi-finals with only one game – instead of the usual home and away games – were a great success, created more drama and attracted spectators.
Last year, Bayern won the title when the arena was empty, but that did not dampen their joy. Credit…Photo of the pool by Manu Fernandez
These changes are so popular with Champions League organisers that they are seriously considering making some of them a permanent part of the Champions Week concept, with both the semi-finals and final held in the same city and complemented by concerts, matches and other events.
This proposal would create a concentrated drama similar to the final weekend of a major tennis tournament or the Final Four in basketball, and would turn club soccer’s most important game into something more akin to the Super Bowl.
Sponsors will love it, says Tim Crow, a consultant who has advised several large companies involved in events such as the World Cup and the Olympics. The Super Bowl model is such that it’s not about the game, it’s about the week.
The short answer to the above question is: Yes. The causes are more complex and, like many things these days, are related to the coronavirus.
The final of the Champions League will be held in Portugal for the second consecutive year. Like last year, this time the decision came too late and had to be approved in both cases by Turkish officials, who have now lost the chance to host the final two years in a row.
A waterfront in Istanbul earlier this week. Credit…Emrah Gurel/Associated Press
The decision earlier this month to move the final to Istanbul, which was recently closed again due to a virus, came after negotiations between European football leaders and British government officials failed to move the match to London due to disagreements over quarantine and testing, among other issues.
When these talks failed, the Portuguese Football Association raised its hand and offered to become a safe haven again. From my colleague Tariq Panj earlier this month:
Discussions about the move were quickly concluded. With City and Chelsea set to play the English final and a change of venue, Tiago Craveiro, head of the Portuguese Football Association, has contacted UEFA. Football officials were shocked that day by the surprise announcement of severe restrictions on all travel to Turkey for British travellers. This has created a crisis that goes far beyond fan access.
The players of both teams have been threatened with 10 days’ solitary confinement on their return to the United Kingdom, thereby jeopardising their participation in the European Championship, a competition organised by UEFA for national teams which is rivalled in size and importance by the World Cup.
As Portugal is on the UK’s green list, meaning it is subject to much less stringent travel rules, Mr Craveiro suggested that the final could take place as soon as possible. Porto was chosen because it was denied the chance to host Champions League matches last year, when the competition was held in Lisbon.
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