Tuesday, April 16, 2024

UCL: Manchester City beat Inter to complete historic treble

Inter pressed fiercely to contain Pep Guardiola’s team in their first competitive match against the Citizens and on the greatest platform possible.

• June 10, 2023
Manchester city players lift the trophy in celebration of the 2023 UCL final win Photo Credit : @ErlingRole
Manchester city players lift the trophy in celebration of the 2023 UCL final win Photo Credit : @ErlingRole

Manchester City defeated a tenacious Inter Milan side 1-0 to claim their long-awaited UEFA Champions League trophy, becoming the 23rd club to do so and the first English club to do so since Chelsea in 2021.

Inter pressed fiercely to contain Pep Guardiola’s team in their first competitive match against the Citizens and on the greatest platform possible. When Federico Dimarco backed off Bernardo Silva, who strolled into the box and shot wide, there was an early warning of what may happen in the game. Ederson had a few shaky moments, but Nicol Barella’s strike slid wide after the Brazilian’s ball eluded John Stones.

City then produced a stunning play that set up Erling Haaland for a strike that was ultimately saved by André Onana. However, in a heartbreaking replay of the 2021 final, Kevin De Bruyne was pulled off injured, this time with 36 minutes remaining. Even with City’s creator-in-chief on the pitch, Simone Inzaghi’s team had proven difficult to break down, and Inter continued to match their opponent with courageous and organised defending before the break and into the second half.

Inter were dealt a blow when Edin Deko was taken off before the hour mark, but there was a chance for a quick lift when Manuel Akanji and Ederson both dropped Silva’s backpass, but the goalkeeper did well to deny Lautaro Martnez following that initial mix-up. 

Instead, in the 68th minute, Akanji slid through Silva, whose cutback deflected off Francesco Acerbi and stood up invitingly for Rodri to calmly direct iis second-ever Champions League goal after scoring against Bayern Munich.

Dimarco was a crossbar’s width away from equalising nearly immediately, before conjuring a follow-up that frustrated Romelu Lukaku. Phil Foden twisted deftly to generate space for himself as Inter made an effort for an equaliser, but his final effort was cleanly saved. At the other end, Ederson made a spectacular save to deny Lukaku’s header before Rben Dias instinctively nodded the ball wide.

Another stunning Ederson stop with the final touch of the ball from Robin Gosens’ header completed a historic treble for City, who became the sixth English club to win Europe’s top championship. In doing so, they handed Inter their second defeat in the last 13 games and denied them a fourth UCL victory. 

Nonetheless, this night was all about City and the fulfillment of Guardiola’s ambition to capture Europe’s biggest club trophy, which he has chased with zeal since his arrival at the Etihad Stadium, after winning the Premier League and FA Cup.

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