UEFA Champions League

Manchester City’s route to UEFA Champions League 2022-23 final

Sayantan ChakrabortySayantan Chakraborty

June 9 2023
Manchester City UEFA Champions League

The Citizens are looking to win a treble

Manchester City will look to complete their coveted treble when they take on Inter Milan in the Champions League final in Istanbul. They already won the FA Cup final on the 4th of June last Saturday against bitter rivals Manchester United. Having already beaten Arsenal in the Premier League race to the title, this final represents the Citizens’ chance to become the second English team to win the treble.

Pep Guardiola will be hoping to be lucky this time in the final after losing the UCL final against Chelsea two years ago, in 2021.

Here’s how they’ve reached the final of the Champions League this year:

Manchester City’s progression:

Group G: Table toppers

Manchester City were paired alongside Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, and Copenhagen in Group G and were favourites to go through as group winners. As anticipated, that’s exactly what transpired, as they ended up winning the group unbeaten with 14 points, including four wins and two draws (away at Dortmund and Copenhagen). They only conceded twice (at home vs. Dortmund and Sevilla) while also scoring 14 goals in qualifying for the knockout stages.

Round of 16: 1-8 agg win vs RB Leipzig

Manchester City truly announced themselves as favourites for the Champions League after crushing RB Leipzig in the Round of 16. They were favourites to qualify, especially with their home leg being played second in the tie. RB Leipzig put in a respectable performance and largely restricted the City side at home to a single goal. They’re unable to give themselves an advantage and only took a 1-1 draw away to Manchester courtesy of a Gvardiol header.

However, the second leg turned out to be the Erling Haaland show, as he scored five goals in the match and became the third player after Lionel Messi and Luiz Adriano to score five goals in a single UCL match. Gundogan and De Bruyne were also on the scoresheet, as they finished 7-0 winners and 1-8 on aggregate to reach the last eight stages.

Quarterfinals: 1-4 agg. win vs Bayern Munich

What looked like an even contest on paper turned out to be the most one-sided quarterfinal victory possible for Manchester City. The six-time UCL winners visited Manchester in the first leg under new head coach Thomas Tuchel after Julian Nagelsmann was fired prior to this tie. Pep’s side looked to capitalise on the uncertainty by taking a big lead into the second leg in Munich.

An even game for most of the first half ensued between the two sides as the Germans looked very solid and pressed high up the pitch. However, they couldn’t keep up the intensity as Manchester City opened their account in the 27th minute through a Rodri long-ranger. Bayern capitulated in the second half, conceded two more goals in six minutes through individual defensive errors, and ran away 3-0 winners. Bernardo and UCL top scorer Haaland were on the scoresheet in the 70th and 76th minutes, respectively.

The second leg was a defensive masterclass as the backline of Akanji, Stones and Dias frustrated Bayern for most of the game in Munich. Erling Haaland sealed the deal with a goal in the 57th minute to establish a four-goal advantage and City prevailed 1-4 winners to go through to the semi-final stage.

Semifinals: 1 – 5 agg. win vs Real Madrid

The tie against the reigning European champions was the ultimate litmus test for Manchester City. They’d failed in the same stage last year against the Los Blancos and a rematch awaited them. Similar to the second leg in Munich, City put on their defensive hats and were able to restrict Real to 44% possession and 1 big chance, which turned out to be the goal Vini Jr. scored. However, City also responded with an immense strike from De Bruyne and was able to take a 1-1 stalemate to Manchester in the second leg.

The Etihad Stadium was rocking, and Manchester City produced their most complete performance under Pep Guardiola, completely making Real Madrid toothless and running away 4-0 winners. Bernardo Silva scored twice in the first half, and two more goals by Akanji and Alvarez sealed their path to the final and the jubilation of all City fans.

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