Treble achieved! Man City win Champions League despite tough test from Inter Milan


Manchester City lifted the Champions League trophy with a 1-0 win over Internazionale at Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium.

After a goalless first half in which Kevin De Bruyne exited early with a hamstring injury, Rodri scored the only goal of Saturday’s game as Pep Guardiola’s side completed the treble, having also secured the Premier League title and the FA Cup.

Inter substitute Romelu Lukaku had a golden chance to equalise late on but Ederson somehow got in the way of his header. The Italians pushed for a goal toward the end but City held on to be crowned champions of Europe for the first time in their history.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)


Rapid reaction

1. City complete the treble with Champions League triumph

Manchester City are kings of Europe and treble winners. The Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League all collected in one season write this team into history and earn Pep Guardiola his greatest achievement in an already stellar coaching career.

City were made to work for their narrow victory over Inter in Istanbul. Rodri scored the only goal in a game short on quality and clear-cut chances while City also needed two dramatic late saves from Ederson before lifting the trophy.

For Guardiola, it’s the culmination of a quest for another Champions League medal that has taken 12 years. The question that has dogged his path from Barcelona to Bayern Munich and then to City is whether he could win it without Lionel Messi, and he’s finally answered it. The 1998-99 Manchester United squad were the only English team to win the treble, and the near-25-year wait for another shows you exactly how hard it is.

City have held off Arsenal in the Premier League, beaten United in the FA Cup final and gotten the better of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in the Champions League. They have earned their place as champions of Europe and the best team in the world.

2. Rodri comes up big

Guardiola’s decision to drop Rodri from his team for the 2021 Champions League final against Chelsea is still such a talking point that it was brought up again during a news conference with the City manager last week. Maybe, then, it was destiny that the Spain midfielder would score the crucial first goal against Inter.

Rodri’s first Champions League goal was a big one, coming against Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals, but his second was even more important. He doesn’t score many — just four this season — but he was in the right place at the right time to run onto Bernardo Silva‘s cut-back and pass his finish into the net. It was a rare moment of calm during a frantic game that for long spells felt rushed and chaotic.

City’s season will be remembered for the trophies and also for Erling Haaland‘s goals but Rodri has been one of City’s best players this season. With Fernandinho gone and Kalvin Phillips struggling to adapt following his move from Leeds United last summer, Rodri has had to play almost every game and he has not let Guardiola down once. City only conceded five goals in the Champions League this season and that owes as much to Rodri’s performances as it does to Ederson and his defence.

play

1:32

Michallik on Man City’s UCL win: Sometimes you have to grind it out

Janusz Michallik discusses how Manchester City adjusted in the game after Kevin De Bruyne’s injury.

3. Inter can be proud of final performance

No one had Inter making it to Istanbul and once they did, almost everyone predicted a comfortable win for City. In the end, the result was one many expected but Simone Inzaghi and his players will return to Italy with their heads held high.

Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Arsenal are among the best teams in the world, but they have all been thrashed during City’s charge towards the treble. Not many this season have made them look uncomfortable but Inter’s high, aggressive press seemed to knock City out of their rhythm for large parts of the game.

Lautaro Martinez‘s chance after a miscommunication between Manuel Akanji and Ederson with the score at 0-0 and Federico Dimarco hitting the bar with a header moments after Rodri’s opener were two huge moments for the Italian side that didn’t go their way.

It will be little consolation to Inter after losing a Champions League final but they will have won plenty of fans with their performance. It was predicted to be 90 minutes of one-way traffic but Inter more than played their part in what was a fascinating tactical battle. City and Guardiola were made to work for the Champions League trophy.


Best and worst performers

BEST

Ederson, GK, Manchester City
Made two late saves to win the trophy for City.

Rodri, MF, Manchester City
Composed in midfield and scored the winning goal in the second half.

Marcelo Brozovic, MF, Inter
Inter’s pressing in midfield was high and aggressive and the Croatian international was key to it.

WORST

Romelu Lukaku, ST, Inter
The Belgium striker should have scored with a late header that cannoned off Ederson.

Edin Dzeko, ST, Inter
The former City striker didn’t see much of the ball and was substituted early in the second half.

Manuel Akanji, DF, Man City
Got away with a couple of mistakes in the second half but played his part in Rodri’s goal.


Highlights and notable moments

Not many expected Manchester City to struggle so much on the offensive end throughout the night, and certainly fewer thought that it would be Rodri who would score the eventual winner.

Romelu Lukaku came on as an impact sub and came this close to tying up the match. It was a frustrating performance for the Inter striker.


After the match: What the managers and players said

Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola to BT Sport, on the win: “It was written in the stars. It belongs to us … We weren’t at our best level. After the World Cup the team made a step forward and we were there. It wasn’t our best performance.”

Guardiola, on the upcoming summer: “I don’t have any energy to think about next season, it’s impossible. We need a break, it’s too long … Our players have international games now … The Premier League finished two or three weeks ago, now people have to come back. It’s too much. We will start from zero next season.”

Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne to BT Sport, on his injury: “It has been a hard two months. I had a lot of problems with my hamstring and it snapped.”


Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)

– Manchester City are the 10th different team (and eighth different club) in men’s soccer history to win the European treble (domestic league, primary domestic cup, European Cup). Barcelona and Ajax Amsterdam are the clubs to have done this twice.

– Manchester City join 1998-99 Manchester United as the only men’s English teams to win the European treble.

– Pep Guardiola is the first men’s coach to win the European treble on multiple occasions after initially doing so in the 2008-09 season with Barcelona. He also joins Carlo Ancelotti (4), Zinedine Zidane and Bob Paisley as the only managers with three European Cup titles.

– Italian clubs lost all three European finals this season (Inter Milan in Champions League, AS Roma in Europa League, Fiorentina in Europa Conference League).

– Erling Haaland is the first Premier League Golden Boot winner to also win the Champions League final since Cristiano Ronaldo did it with Manchester United in 2007-08. Haaland is also the first player to win the Champions League Golden Boot twice before turning 23, joining Lionel Messi.





Source link

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

0FansLike
3,912FollowersFollow
0SubscribersSubscribe
- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles