Manchester City destroy Real Madrid to keep treble hopes alive
Pep Guardiola's men book second final appearance in three years
On a night when Carlo Ancelotti became the manager with most games in UEFA Champions League history, Manchester City and Pep Guardiola handed his Real Madrid side an unforgettable thrashing at the Etihad Stadium. The scoreline was not the spectacle, but how the English champions went about their business.
After a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Madrid, both sides faced each other with a place in the final against Inter Milan on the line. The home side took control from the first blast of the whistle, leaving the champions chasing shadows as they executed their game plan to perfection.
Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was at his best as he denied Erling Haaland from point-blank range to keep the game scoreless. There was, however, nothing the Belgian goalkeeper could do when Kevin De Bruyne picked out Bernardo Silva in the box, and the diminutive winger slammed an effort into the roof of the net at the near post in the 24th minute.
City were in total control of proceedings and looked at times to be toying with Los Blancos, who had less than a quarter of the ball as the helf went on. With eight minutes of the first half left, Silva doubled his and his team’s advantage. The Portuguese star reacted quickest to head the ball into the far corner after an effort from Ilkay Gundogan had been blocked in the box.
The Citizens emerged for the second half with the same energy as they ended the first, but they had work to do at their end of the pitch. Ederson pulled off an important save following a David Alaba free-kick to keep his side in control of the tie. At the other end, meanwhile, Courtois tipped a goalbound effort from Haaland onto the woodwork to keep the scoreline respectable.
With 75 minutes on the clock, City found a third goal in fortuitous circumstances. A free-kick delivery grazed the head of Manuel Akanji before Eder Militao put the ball past his own goalkeeper to compound the champions’ woes in Manchester.
Manchester City rounded off the scoring in added time when two substitutes combined. Phil Foden played a brilliant pass to send Julian Alvarez through on goal, allowing the Argentine striker to slide home a clinical finish before wheeling away in celebration.
Manchester City claimed a completely dominant 4-0 win to go through to the final by a 5-1 aggregate scoreline. Guardiola’s men have the chance to win the treble as they are in pole position in the Premier League and face Manchester United in the FA Cup final. They will face Inter Milan in Istanbul on June 10th looking to banish the ghosts of the 2021 final against Chelsea.