Manchester City dominated Real Madrid 4-0 on Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium to advance to the Champions League Final. The hosts were easily the better team on the night, particularly in the opening half. Bernardo Silva scored a first-half brace to set the tone for the Premier League side.
Wednesday’s matchup was particularly massive considering the tie was level after the first leg. The two teams finished 1-1 last week at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid. Vinicius Junior scored for the Spanish giants just minutes before the halftime break. However, City grabbed a goal back in the second half thanks to a strike by Kevin De Bruyne.
City boss Pep Guardiola would name the same exact starting XI as he did during the first leg in Spain. Central defender Eder Militao returned after a yellow card suspension for Real. Carlo Ancelotti elected to bring the Brazilian straight into his starting lineup in place of Antonio Rüdiger.
The hosts dominated the early stages of the first half on Wednesday. In fact, City recorded 80% possession during the opening 20 minutes of the match. They also had all six shots during this timeframe as well. To put Real’s early woes into perspective, Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Federico Valverde, and Dani Carvajal combined to complete just one total pass in the first 20 minutes.
Erling Haaland had two massive early chances to put his team ahead in the tie. Thibaut Courtois made a point-blank save from a Haaland header in the 13th minute. The ball was then cleared off of the line by David Alaba. The superstar striker then saw another header saved by the big Belgian eight minutes later. This block was even better than the first save.
Silva scores twice in 14 minutes to provide lead
City’s domination was able to bear fruit in the 23rd minute thanks to a goal by Bernardo Silva. De Bruyne found the midfielder somehow unmarked inside Real’s box. The Portuguese playmaker cleverly opened his body to make Courtois guess he would go right; however, Silva sent the shot into the opposite side of the goal.
Silva doubled City’s lead in the 37th minute. The goal came moments after Toni Kroos hit Ederson’s crossbar with a vicious long-range strike. After Real’s defense blocked a shot by Ilkay Gundogan, Silva pounced on the rebound to score his second goal of the game. While the midfielder’s first goal was a beautifully-placed shot, his second was a much simpler header from a few yards out.
Manchester City dominates to reach Champions League Final
Despite City’s dominance in the opening period, Real did come out of break much better in attack. Although they really couldn’t have been any worse. Alaba forced Ederson to make a big save from a shot from distance in the 52nd minute. The Brazilian keeper tipped the ball over the bar after the Austrian took a chance from a free kick. Nevertheless, City added another goal to essentially put the game out of reach.
De Bruyne whipped in a dangerous free kick into Real’s box in the 76th minute. Manuel Akanji was then able to get on the end of the pass with a header towards goal. Militao eventually deflected the ball passed Courtois and into the back of the net to add to Real’s misery.
Late substitutes Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez linked up to put the icing on the cake for the hosts. Foden found his teammate with a glorious through ball to cut the opposing defense. The Argentine passed the ball into the back of the net on a one-on-one opportunity with Courtois. City would win the match 4-0 on the night.
The Premier League side will now play Inter Milan for the Champions League title next month. Inter beat rivals AC Milan on Tuesday to qualify for the final. The matchup is set to be played in Istanbul on June 10. City can still win three major trophies this season to complete only the second treble in English soccer history.
PHOTO: IMAGO / PA Images
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