Chelsea secured their first piece of silverware under head coach Thomas Tuchel on Saturday evening, defeating Manchester City 1-0 in the final of the UEFA Champions League at the Estadio do Dragao.
After getting the better of Real Madrid at the semi-final stage, Chelsea completed the most memorable of journeys in style thanks to Kai Havertz’s first half goal.
The Germany international, who joined the Blues from Bayer Leverkusen for a club-record fee less than 12 months ago, chose the perfect time to score his first-ever Champions League goal, coolly knocking the ball past Ederson and then into the back of the net after latching onto Mason Mount’s expertly-weighted through ball.
But whilst it was Havertz who took the headlines for being the match-winner, Chelsea, to a man, were excellent and fully deserved the victory. From Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta performing heroically at the back to N’Golo Kante bossing the show in midfield, Chelsea were excellent, as they kept a star-studded City side at bay.
Pep Guardiola opted to go with a very bold and daring attack-minded line-up, with the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne all starting.
When the team news was confirmed, Chelsea shot-stopper Edouard Mendy must have been fearing the worst. However, aside from being called into action to make one or two routine stops, the Senegalese international, who joined the Blues from French outfit Rennes last September, had a relatively easy night’s work.
Mendy featured in 12 of the Blues’ 13 Champions League matches this season, conceding just three goals.
As well as that, Mendy also became the first shot-stopper since Marc-Andre ter Stegen in 2015 to win the Champions League in their debut campaign in the competition.
Mendy has become an instant hit with the Chelsea supporters and is adored by those who work with him at Stamford Bridge, including former Blues No.1 Petr Cech, who waxed lyrical about the 29-year-old prior to the semi-final second-leg win over Real Madrid.
Cech said: “With Edouard Mendy behind, he’s been absolutely outstanding so far, so altogether it came to the point where the team is defending well and don’t give away many chances.
“It’s his first campaign in the Champions League, but he’s at a good age for a goalkeeper and the way he is, his personality, he’s very calm and he wants to be better every day.
“He works every day, it’s a key for him and I think the team around him, Willy Caballero, Kepa, they help him as well – they push him, try to make sure he’s always ready and on his toes.
“I think so far it’s been a great campaign from him.”