Manchester City progress through to the UEFA Champions League 2022-23 final
The Cityzens steered by the home crowd reserve seats for the UCL finals against the Inter Milan
Pep Guardiola went into the game with 99 UCL wins and the 100th becomes part of Manchester City’s history as they finally defeated Los Blancos. Etihad was all pumped to give the second leg tie a home advantage. Early on in the game, Grealish from left set up Haaland, that might have got in. But last years Man of the Match in UCL finals, Thibaut Courtois kept the ball out of the net.
In the early 15 minutes of the second leg UCL tie, Man City kept most of the ball almost every minute of the game. Man City and Grealish seemed to be loving it attacking from the left against Carvajal. Real Madrid were just hanging in there as they continued to defend.
Courtois again denied Haaland’s second attempt of the game. Another head another Courtois reflex in action to keep the 2nd leg tie at 0-0.
Man City finally got the fruit of their efforts in the 22 minutes of the match. Kevin De Bruyne split the defense with a decisive pass that found Bernando on his left foot, who hit at the near post to score and give Pep side a lead early in the second leg. This already felt like the final.
Stones seemed to be everywhere. Right back, centre back, and midfielder as he helped rotate the ball with ease. In the first half, Madrid could only once left Vini lose, who was held back by City’s speedster Walker.
And Madrid’s only first-half effort was Toni Kroo’s vicious strike that shook the woodwork and also the heartbeats of the home crowd for a moment.
Madrid could do this much only as City doubled the lead in 36′ minutes, by the header that Bernardo Silva put away in almost an empty net. The Portuguese Silva who seemed to be linked with a move away to PSG or Barcelona, has lit the Etihad Stadium.
After the first-half riot by Manchester City and Silva, the city went to the Blues tunnels at half time with 3-1 on aggregate. The stats, the crowd everything was in favour of the master tactician from Spain. With 72% possession Pep and co headed back in the dugouts.
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The second half saw Madrid back in the game with more significant possession of the ball. At 62′ minutes, Carlo Ancelotti made a change. He subbed off the 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric with defender Antonio Rudiger. Another Madrid change in the 69 minutes with Kroos taking off for Asensio.
At 72 minutes Courtois again denied Haaland’s efforts. This was the third time he kept out the Premier League‘s record-breaking scorer. Given the undeniable might of Real Madrid’s history in UCL competition, Pep and co can finally rest assured as they put past 3 for the night. Akanji scored from De Bruyne’s delivery from a free kick.
As the crowd was long awaiting, Pep finally made a change by bringing on the Algerian wizard Riyad Mahrez for Gundogan. Ancelotti bought three changes around that time too. The final goal came from 2022 World Cup winner Julian Alvarez, as Guardiola and co celebrate with the home crowd after the dismissal last year around against the same opponents.
The final will be played on Saturday 10 June 2023 at Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium, with the other finalists already decided by the Milan derby. Inter are back on track after their last 2010 hiatus under Jose Mourinho.
Man City on the other hand will be looking to add a Champions League trophy that has eluded them since September 2008, after the takeover by Sheikh Mansour. With an FA Cup final to play for and possibly clinching PL on 21 May at home. Man City might do it so in style, by winning a major continental treble.
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