Pep Guardiola’s hounds ate Carlo Ancelotti’s charges for dinner on Wednesday night, helping themselves to a 4-0 win against a tame Real Madrid to cruise to Champions League final against Italy’s Inter Milan, which had seen off rivals AC Milan 1-0 the previous evening.
Mesmeric Manchester City produced what is billed as their best performance of the Pep Guardiola era to set up arguably the biggest game in their 129-year history. Their second Champions League final will not only present them with the opportunity to lift the trophy for the first time, but they could also leave Istanbul having won a historic treble.
The three points they require to successfully defend the Premier League title will need to be won before then, and there is the small matter of a FA Cup final against Manchester United to negotiate as well.
Yet, if City perform anything like they did against 14-time European champions Real Madrid at the Etihad between now and 10 June, then they will have every confidence of finishing the job against Inter Milan. Man City will face Inter Milan in the Champions League final after humiliating 14-time winners Real Madrid.
Man of the Match Bernardo Silva inspired his side to a 4-0 victory, Madrid’s joint-worst in the competition’s history. This is the story of City’s greatest European victory to date, in the words of those who were there to witness it.
After the match, Man City manager Pep Guardiola revealed how the Noisy Cityzens achieved the feat. He said, “We spoke just before we went to the pitch. We said, ‘Do you want to play against Inter or not? Do you want to play against Inter? Ask yourself. If you play 90 minutes thinking, I want to play against Inter, you will beat Madrid.’ They played in that spirit.”
Th statement was corroborated by centre-back Manuel Akanji, who explained, “He talked to us about winning the game. It’s not about doing anything crazy. It’s only one game that we need to win, we should play our game, we shouldn’t be scared.”
Man-of-the-match Silva anchored Man City’s win from a corner kick. The Portuguese had time and space to pick the corner-kick after a brilliant piece of play and gave City a well-deserved opener after 22 minutes of trying.
Silva then doubled their advantage as he guided a header from a loose ball into the net after Ilkay Gundogan’s goal-bound shot was blocked on 37 minutes.
Real Madrid’s shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois had earlier denied 52-goal Haaland twice with two absolutely stunning saves that might have left City thinking it wasn’t going to be their night. But once Silva broke their last line of defence, it was game over as the dominance continued well into the second half.
With Kyle Walker completely shutting down Madrid’s danger man Vinicius Jr, Carlo Ancelotti seemed bereft of ideas, and was soon punished for it. An Eder Militao own goal with 14 minutes to play ensured the comeback kings were well and truly put away, and there was even time for icing on the cake.
Man City were superb as they hammered Real Madrid 4-0 in the second leg and 5-1 on aggregate to book their place in the Champions League final.
After Bernardo Silva’s two goals, Eder Militao turned the ball into his own net before Julian Alvarez added a fourth late on as City summed up their dominance, which they hope to put on show again against Inter Milan.
Madrid’s Toni Kroos did hit the woodwork when the scoreline was 1-0 but it was a rare bright moment from a Real team that was simply overwhelmed. The win was sweet revenge for City after defeat at the same stage last season and the upcoming final against Inter Milan could now be the crowning glory of a magnificent treble.
Football365 reports that the hosts made a blistering start and soon established a dominance that lasted for almost the entirety of the game.
“They controlled possession for large spells early on in the first leg too but this time they were more dynamic and, unlike last week in the Bernabeu, Madrid looked far from comfortable. Kyle Walker fired a warning shot over the bar after three minutes before Erling Haaland rounded Thibaut Courtois but could find nobody in front of goal.”
Rodri beat two defenders to shoot across goal and John Stones drove wide before Courtois produced two superb saves to keep out Haaland headers. Consequently, it was no surprise when the opener came as Kevin De Bruyne slipped in Silva and the Portuguese flicked a left-foot shot inside the near post from eight yards.
In the preceding 23 minutes, Real had hardly touched the ball, let alone got out of their half, and their struggles continued as Haaland flashed another effort wide. Eventually the visitors did enjoy some possession but Walker comfortably dealt with a Vinicius Junior break.
‘Kroos stunned the raucous Etihad crowd into silence when he thumped a long-range shot against the bar, almost completely out of the blue, but City soon reasserted themselves. Jack Grealish jinked into the area and fed Ilkay Gundogan and, although his shot was blocked by Militao, it looped up nicely for Silva to plant home a header and double the lead,” reports Football365.
The attacks continued until the interval with Manuel Akanji having an effort blocked and Real left the field at the break looking completely flat. Ederson was tested early in the second half when he palmed over a David Alaba free-kick but City continued to control the majority of possession.
As Real began to get stretched, Haaland was inches away from adding a third when his shot bounced up off Courtois’ leg and struck the bar. Real were beaten soon after, however, as De Bruyne swung in a free-kick from the left and Akanji’s glancing header was deflected past Courtois by Militao.
Substitute Dani Ceballos forced a late save from Ederson as Real searched for a consolation but Alvarez wrapped up a memorable victory in stoppage time with a neat finish.
- A Tell report