Manchester City narrowly beat Inter on Saturday to collect the previously elusive Champions League title. The triumph completes the team’s treble for the 2022/23 season. City collected the three biggest trophies that they could possibly win during the current campaign, matching the feat of Manchester United in 1999.
The English champions entered the match as clear favorites. After all, they had already secured the Premier League and FA Cup titles in recent weeks. Inter, however, were also hoping to add their third trophy of the season as well. The Italians previously collected the Supercoppa Italiana and Coppa Italia titles.
Relatively even start to the massive match
City appeared to begin to turn the screws on their opposition about halfway through the first half. Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne had two good chances to score in consecutive minutes. Inter goalkeeper Andre Onana, however, made saves from both.
Unfortunately for the English side, De Bruyne went down with an injury soon after. The club’s main creator tried to carry on, but would need to be substituted in the 35th minute. Phil Foden entered the fray in place of the Belgian international.
The two teams would go into the halftime break scoreless. City held a 62% possession advantage at that point of the game and had more shots on target compared to Inter. Nevertheless, the Italian defense seemed to stifle the usually potent City attack for much of this first period.
Inter started to grow into the match a little more to start the second half. Lautaro Martinez was given a glorious opportunity by City in the 59th minute after a defensive error. Bernardo Silva attempted a back pass toward either Manuel Akanji or Ederson, yet neither seemed interested. Martinez eventually had a one-on-one chance with the goalkeeper, yet the Brazilian made a smart save on the shot.
Manchester City grab opening goal from unlikely source
Nevertheless, Manchester City finally got their breakthrough in the 68th minute thanks to a strike by Rodri. After a bit of chaos inside Inter’s box, the defensive midfielder pounced on a loose ball and threaded a guided shot beyond Onana. The ball somehow avoided two different Inter defenders on the way to the back of the net. It was Rodri’s fourth goal of the current season.
Inter nearly grabbed the equalizer within three minutes of the opening goal. Federico Dimarco hit the crossbar with a looping header over Ederson. Substitute Romelu Lukaku then unintentionally blocked Dimarco’s follow up header on the rebound. City somehow escaped the incident before being tested again in the dying minutes.
The Italians had a few decent chances to grab a late goal and send the match to extra time. This included a massive save by Ederson from a close-range header by Lukaku. The Belgian essentially had a free header from about five yards out. However, he sent his effort straight at the Brazilian keeper.
The victory represents Pep Guardiola’s third Champions League title, but his current club’s first in their history. City had previously won practically every other significant trophy possible in recent years. Now the English side finally have the European title the Abu Dhabi project was designed to win.
Photo credit: IMAGO / Sportimage
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