Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City has been doing what it does best- decimate teams with a ruthless, yet graceful style of football. Be it at the domestic level or in Europe, the Citizens have reigned supreme at every level.
After winning the Premier League and the FA Cup, City has the chance to equal rival Manchester United’s record of being the only English team to win the treble (Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League) as it faces Inter Milan in the final.
Ahead of the final on June 10 at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul, let us recap Man City’s run leading up to the final match.
Man City was allotted in Group G in the UCL 2022-23 draw and paired alongside Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Copenhagen.
Among the six matches played, City won four and played out a goalless draw in two against Copenhagen and Dortmund, respectively. It scored 14 goals in the group stages and conceded just two on its way to qualifying for the knockout stages.
Group stages results
Round of 16
Man City was drawn against RB Leipzig in the Round of 16.
In the first leg, City played out a 1-1 draw. Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring in the 27th minute but a Josko Gvardiol header in the 70th minute levelled the score.
The second leg at the Etihad Stadium started with the aggregate scores level, but the match turned out to be a bloodbath for Leipzig.
City thrashed Leipzig 7-0, with Erling Haaland, Ilkay Gundogan, and Kevin De Bruyne getting on the scoresheet. Haaland scored five goals in the match, making him only the third player after Lionel Messi and Luiz Adriano to find the net five times in a single UCL match.
Aggregate score: Manchester City 8-1 RB Leipzig
City got a challenging team in the quarter-final in Bayern Munich. The Bavarians weren’t enjoying their usual dominance in the Bundesliga, but the Champions League is always a different ballgame.
The first leg was at the Allianz Arena. Man City drew first blood after Haaland scored in the 57th minute. City would have almost clinched an away win, but Bayern were given a penalty in the 87th minute because of a handball by Manuel Akanji.
In the second leg, it was predicted that Bayern would give City a tough match at the Etihad, but the proceedings were completely the opposite as Guardiola’s City cruised to a 3-0 win. Rodri, Bernardo Silva and Haaland were the goalscorers.
Aggregate score: Manchester City 4-1 Bayern Munich
By the time City reached the semifinal, the momentum was clearly visible among the team. But, in the semis, they were facing the competition’s most successful team in history. It is a known fact that Real Madrid becomes a whole new team when it comes to Europe’s premier club competition. Domestic form isn’t a metric for the 14-time champion.
Therefore the only team which could stop the City onslaught was Madrid.
The first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu finished in a 1-1 draw, but both the goals were top-notch strikes from distance. While Vinicius Jr opened the scoring in the 36th minute by waltzing inside the City final third and picking his corner from distance, De Bruyne’s equalised in the 67th minute by dispatching a shot that was nothing less than a bullet. Aiming low and hard, it was a strike of sheer power that gave Courtois no chance of making a stop.
But, the second leg was all too similar in terms of how other knockout matches had panned out for City. Jack Grealish had issued a warning after the first leg, saying that City is unstoppable at home. Their performance backed his statement. Seldom has Madrid ever been dominated like it was by City at the Etihad Stadium.
The Premier League and FA Cup champion notched a 4-0 win with Bernardo grabbing a brace, along with Manuel Akanji and Julian Alvarez grabbing a goal each.
Aggregate score: Manchester City 5-1 Real Madrid
If City wins the final against Inter, it would win its first UCL title without losing a single match throughout its campaign.
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