Manchester City are celebrating their return to the Champions League final after delivering one of the most remarkable performances in the club’s history by crushing reigning champions Real Madrid.
Under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, who is pursuing a historic treble, City dominated the 14-time European champions with an emphatic 4-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday. This resounding win secured their spot in the highly anticipated Istanbul final, with an aggregate scoreline of 5-1.
The victory was thoroughly deserved, as City’s relentless pace and power proved too much for Madrid to handle. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois’s heroics prevented an even more significant goal margin for the English side.
Bernardo Silva paved the way for City’s triumph with two first-half goals, followed by an own goal from Eder Militao and a late fourth from Julian Alvarez.
Now, City sets their sights on lifting the coveted trophy and seeking redemption for their defeat in the 2021 final. With the possibility of achieving a glorious treble, their upcoming final clash against Inter Milan holds immense significance for the club.
The first of those trophies could come on Sunday if they beat Chelsea to clinch the Premier League with the FA Cup final against Manchester United on June 3.
City manager Guardiola said: “In the Premier League we are close, we know we need one more game.
“We play against our neighbours and against an Italian team in the finals. The season is really, really good. Now we have to lift it. We are close and of course we are going to try.”
Last week’s semi-final first leg against Madrid in the Bernabeu Stadium had been an even contest.
City dominated possession for large spells but Real were more incisive on the counter-attack.
This time City refused to allow their opponents to sit back and feel comfortable soaking up pressure. They were far more dynamic and the Spanish giants could not handle their speed and movement.
The resounding win made for sweet revenge for City’s heartbreaking loss to Real and the same stage last season.
Guardiola said: “It was really tough losing the way we lost. In that moment we had to swallow poison but football and sport always gives you another chance.
“When the draw was Madrid, I said, ‘yeah I want it’.
“Everything was there – the energy we had from a year of being criticised as players for not having character when we lost.”
Carlo Ancelotti, coach of the dethroned champions, could not begrudge City their victory.
“I think that Manchester City deserved to win because they played better than us,” the Italian said.