Chelsea must entrust Tuchel with their future after European triumph


he Estadio do Dragao was silenced for what felt like an eternity.

There may have only been a crowd of 14,110 inside the stadium in Porto – but it felt like 10 times that number, such was the noise created by the raucous Chelsea and Manchester City fans.

Still – deep into seven minutes of added on time a hush descended as Riyad Mahrez’ shot left Edouard Mendy motionless, pure anticipation hanging in the air.

But as the ball whistled past the bar, sheer relief washed over Chelsea’s supporters – for City, resignation.

Their fight was just about done.

Riyad Mahrez goes agonisingly close to an equaliser deep into injury time

/ POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Had it found the back of the net it would have been a reprieve scarcely deserved, given Chelsea’s superiority.

The Premier League champions may have dominated possession, but it was their opponents who created the clearer chances throughout 90 minutes and should have had the final wrapped up much earlier than this.

Substitute Christian Pulisic somehow fired wide with just Ederson to beat – adding to two gilt-edged opportunities squandered by Timo Werner in the first half.

It was Kai Havertz – rounding Ederson three minutes before half-time – who provided the decisive goal. But this was a personal triumph for Thomas Tuchel, who tactically out-thought Pep Guardiola for the third time in succession since taking over at Stamford Bridge in January.

It will go down as another occasion when City’s manager got his lines wrong on the biggest stage – but credit must go to his counterpart, who got all the big calls right.

Namely, going with Havertz over Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech.

Reece James at wingback was also outstanding in keeping Raheem Sterling quiet, while K’Golo Kante was without equal on the pitch.

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