Chelsea finally returns to the Champions League final after a nine-year absence. This feat was made possible following a convincing 2-0 win over the Galacticos.
The 3-1 aggregate victory over Real Madrid was much closer than it should have been, but the real story of the tie – and almost the entire last four months – was the wide holes created by Thomas Tuchel’s blue arrows, who left so many white shirts in the dust.
The 2-0 victory on a night should have been a 6-0, and it is Chelsea’s third Champions League final, making it an all-English showpiece for the third time. This victory will see Chelsea up against Manchester City at Instanbul in May.
They have no fear of Manchester City, having just defeated them in the FA Cup, and will face them again on Saturday at the same venue.
Pep Guardiola’s team will believe they have a sense of destiny this season, but the truth is that Chelsea will win.
When Chelsea split, Madrid seemed to be on the verge of collapsing, which acted as a symbolic example of the sides’ profile differences.
There were simply holes emerging everywhere, through which blue shirts poured. Before the first goal, Madrid had been given a warning, with the ball in the net but Timo Werner straying offside.
After initially causing panic, Kante played a one-touch one-two with Werner, which was made all the more amazing by the way the German peeled off.
Kante then set up Kai Havertz for what may have been one of the best semi-final goals of all time. His deft chip was only a smidgeon too far, but not quite enough to push him over the edge. Werner had the easiest op because the ball bounced off the bar.
It might not have been the best goal Chelsea has ever scored, but it was still priceless. It was the insurance target that ensured every Madrid strike didn’t have the same paralyzing risk.
That was, assuming they could conjure one. Both of their best first-half efforts were more speculative than expected or manufactured.