Manchester City Thrash Real Madrid To Reach Champions League Final

Unstoppable Manchester City?

Forward Jack Grealish certainly thinks they are, particularly at home, and it is difficult to argue against it after they swept aside Real Madrid so emphatically at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday to seal their place in the Champions League final.

Pep Guardiola’s side put in an incredible display to win 4-0 against the reigning European champions and progress 5-1 on aggregate to set up a meeting with Italians Inter Milan in Istanbul on 10 June.

It extends their unbeaten run at home in Europe to 26 games – stretching back to September 2018 – and Grealish told BT Sport: “I don’t think a lot of teams would do that to Real Madrid but when we are all together, and especially playing here [at Etihad Stadium], we feel unstoppable.

“I don’t know what it is, whether it is our fans or the pitch, we just feel unstoppable, even in the league we feel no one can beat us. It is unbelievable.”

Last year, it was the Real players who were celebrating a semi-final win at City’s expense, overturning a 4-3 defeat in the first leg to win the second leg 3-1 in Madrid.

It was a defeat City boss Guardiola said his players had lived with until finally banishing that “pain” on Wednesday night.

“I had the feeling that we had one year ago in our stomach – what happened last season [losing to Real Madrid],” the Spaniard said after City reached the Champions League final for the second time.

“I think today everything went out of what we had, it was so painful last season.

“But during one year we showed how special a group of players these are.”

City were utterly dominant from the first minute against Real and only two superb saves by Thibaut Courtois to deny Erling Haaland prevented them from taking the lead earlier than when Bernardo Silva struck in the 23rd minute.

From then on, it felt only a question of how much City would win by and Silva made it 2-0 in 37th minute before second-half strikes by Manuel Akanji and Julian Alvarez wrapped up the emphatic win.

Guardiola said he felt only calmness from his players before the match and former Manchester United captain and BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand revealed that the City boss had expressed confidence that his side would win in the hours before kick-off.

“Pep text me ‘believe me, we beat them two years ago, we will beat them again’, that was two or three hours before the game, that is pure confidence,” Ferdinand said.

“It was like they were stamping on their throat, positioning where they wanted them and then bang, goal.”

He added: “That man is an absolute genius. They have destroyed, battered, pulverised a giant of European football and have done it at a canter, with ease, with loads in the tank, without even sweating.”

Former Blackburn and Chelsea striker Chris Sutton has no doubt that if City can repeat this performance against Inter Milan then they will be crowned winners of the Champions League.

“They displayed real composure, authority and control,” he said on BBC Radio 5 live.

“The Champions League is the one Pep Guardiola and Manchester City want. If they perform anywhere like this in the final, you can only see one winner. One more step is what’s required.”

Is The Treble On?
Manchester City are within touching distance of winning the Premier League after beating Everton on Sunday

City could pick up two trophies before next month’s Champions League final on Saturday, 10 June.

A win against Chelsea on Sunday will seal the Premier League title while they are also in the FA Cup final, where they face Manchester United.

The Red Devils are the only Premier League side to have won the Treble but City have been backed to become the second team to achieve the feat.

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen said on BT Sport: “Everybody is playing at the top level, they have a manager who is a genius. I cannot see anything else than them winning all three trophies.”

Ex-Newcastle and Manchester City goalkeeper Shay Given added: “The Treble is getting ever closer. For me, this was the biggest hurdle to get over.”
When is the Champions League final?

City will play Inter in Istanbul on 10 June at 20:00 BST. BBC

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