Man City maul Real Madrid to reach Champions League final

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Manchester City are through to the final of the Champions League after a 4-0 mauling of Real Madrid in the second leg of their semi-final secured a 5-1 aggregate win.

Bernardo Silva scored twice in the first half as Pep Guardiola’s side overwhelmed the defending champions. Carlo Ancelotti’s team tried to rally after the break but Eder Militao’s own goal and Julian Alvarez’s stoppage-time finish only reflected the gulf in class.

The fantastic form that has seen City go 23 games unbeaten, winning their last 15 at the Etihad Stadium, was far too good for Real Madrid. It is magnificent Manchester City who will play Inter Milan in the Champions League final in Istanbul on June 10.

Player ratings

Man City: Ederson (7), Walker (8), Stones (7), Dias (7), Akanji (7), Rodri (7), Gundogan (7), De Bruyne (7), Silva (9), Grealish (8), Haaland (6).

Subs: Mahrez (n/a), Foden (6). Alvarez (7).

Real Madrid: Courtois (7), Carvajal (4), Militao (4), Alaba (4), Camavinga (5), Valverde (5), Kroos (6), Modric (5), Rodrygo (4), Benzema (4), Vinicius Jr (4).

Subs: Rudiger (5), Asensio (5), Tchouameni (n/a).

Player of the match: Bernardo Silva

In pictures: The City goals that dismantled mighty Real

How Man City humiliated Real Madrid

One spectacular goal apiece in the Bernabeu last week had left the tie delicately poised and there was quality everywhere you looked. City were looking to reach the final for the second time in three seasons but they were up against the 14-time champions of Europe.

There was an atmosphere to match the occasion. Pyrotechnics as the team bus arrived at the stadium. Boos for the Champions League anthem, of course, but a raucous mood thereafter with supporters desperate to see their side take down European royalty.

What followed was a one-sided game from the first whistle.

Team news

Pep Guardiola made no changes to the Manchester City team that drew in Madrid with Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez among the high-profile substitutes.

Carlo Ancelotti made one change to the Real Madrid team that drew in the Bernabeu with Eder Militao returning in place of Antonio Rudiger.

Erling Haaland had been kept surprisingly quiet by the dogged Antonio Rudiger in the Spanish capital but Militao’s availability saw the Germany international defender drop to the bench. And the job of shutting out the City striker had only been half done.

Inside 13 minutes, he would have put City ahead but for an unlikely stop by Thibaut Courtois with his body. Soon after, Haaland was denied again by the outstretched arm of the Real Madrid goalkeeper. Courtois kept him out again late on but he could not deny City for long.

Guardiola’s side had dominated the early proceedings in the first leg but the lesson of that game had been that appearances can be deceptive. Ancelotti’s team have demonstrated repeatedly that they have the self-confidence to wait for their opening.

There was a warning or two. Vinicius Junior briefly finding space in behind Kyle Walker only for the City defender to show his recovery pace. Toni Kroos came even closer to scoring when striking the crossbar with Madrid’s only attempt of the opening 45 minutes.

But those moments aside, there was no hint of quiet control from Ancelotti’s side. They were not biding their time. They were being swamped. The second goal brought a fairer reflection of the gulf, Silva nodding in after Ilkay Gundogan’s shot was blocked.

Madrid’s best bits were isolated and individual efforts, David Alaba’s wicked shot being tipped over by Ederson. City were slicker, the only surprise being that their third goal was not a thing of beauty. Militao put the ball into his own net from Kevin De Bruyne’s free-kick.

That brought Poznan-style celebrations in the stands that turned into childlike joy when Alvarez slotted in the fourth. These fans expect something to go wrong in this competition. This was a complete performance, maybe even a passing of the baton in European football.

Having already overcome Bayern Munich in the quarter-final, now another heavyweight of the European game has succumbed to this City side. Inter await in Istanbul next month. The likelihood of that being the night they complete an historic treble is increasing.

Carlo: City deserved it | Pep: Three games away

Ancelotti accepted that City were worthy winners. “I think tonight Manchester City deserved to win because they played better than us,” he said. “Last season was different. They were better than us [tonight] as last season we were better than them.”

Asked where he ranks this performance, Guardiola could not have been clearer. “The highest,” he replied. “Considering the opponent, Real Madrid in the semi-final of the Champions League. We had to perform well and we did, especially in the first half.”

He added: “I had the feeling these last days that we had the mix of calm and tension. After 10 or 15 minutes, I had the feeling that all the pain of last season was there today. It was so tough last season … We had to swallow everything.”

That was a reference to the stunning defeat in the Bernabeu at this stage one year ago when City contrived to surrender a two-goal lead with just minutes remaining. His players’ character was criticised. “We accepted defeat and today we were there.”

Guardiola has been reluctant to discuss the possibility of the treble but did concede that it was natural for it to be in the players’ minds as his team close in on an historic achievement for the club. “It is normal,” he said. “We are three games away.”

One more win in the Premier League will retain that title. Manchester United await them in the FA Cup final at Wembley. Secure those results and the treble can be won with victory over Inter. “We are close and of course we are going to try.”

What’s next?

Manchester City face Chelsea on Sunday – live on Sky Sports Premier League – with a win enough to clinch their third consecutive title; kick-off 4pm.

Real Madrid head to relegation-threatened Valencia on Sunday in LaLiga; kick-off 5.30pm.

Man City’s remaining fixtures

May 21: Chelsea (H) – Premier League, kick-off 4pm, live on Sky Sports

May 24: Brighton (A) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports

May 28: Brentford (A) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm

June 3: Manchester United (Wembley) – FA Cup final, kick-off 3pm

June 10: Inter Milan (Istanbul) – Champions League final, kick-off 8pm

Man City’s historic win in stats

  • Manchester City have reached the Champions League final for the second time, previously doing so in 2020-21.
  • Pep Guardiola became the third manager to win 100 Champions League matches, after Carlo Ancelotti (107) and Alex Ferguson (102).
  • This was the joint biggest margin of victory in a single Champions League semi-final match, and Real Madrid’s joint biggest defeat in any round of the competition.
  • Manchester City have scored 31 goals in the Champions League this season, their most in a single campaign in the competition.
  • Bernardo Silva became the third player to score two or more goals in a Champions League semi-final match against Real Madrid, after Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski.
  • Jack Grealish created three chances for Man City, taking his Champions League tally for the season to 35. It is the most of any player this term, and the most on record (since 2003-04) by an English player in a single campaign.
  • Guardiola has reached the Champions League final for the fourth time with Ancelotti the only manager to reach more in the history of the European Cup.

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