Wednesday, June 7, 2023

City’s masterpiece against Madrid took 7 years in the making

Vinicius Junior stood up with his arms outstretched. He used to ask his trainer for instructions.

Carlo Ancelotti, with his hands on his waist, didn’t know what to say.

Barely 23 minutes had been played and Real Madrid had lost to Manchester City in the Champions League semi-final second leg, a tournament dominated by the Spanish powerhouse.

And both the Brazilian player, one of the best in the world and the most decorated Italian tactician in Europe, were desperate.

That’s how good City were that night when Pep Guardiola and his players performed a masterpiece that was almost seven years in the making.

“We feel invincible,” said winger Jack Grealish after the Citizens’ 4-0 win to book a place in the Champions League final against Inter Milan on June 10 in Istanbul.

Madrid saw firsthand how City have taken football to new heights in recent months. His performance this week represented the pinnacle.

Especially in the first half, their football was close to perfection.

Merengues barely touched the ball 10 times in the last third of the field before the break. He only had 28% possession of the ball.

The number of shots on goal is evidence of the extremely small margin: 13-1. If it weren’t for Thibaut Courtois saving a couple of point-blank shots and City missing a few more chances, their first-half lead could have been palpable.

Rio Ferdinand, a former Manchester United defender and current commentator for BT Sport, said he received a text from Guardiola hours before the game.

According to Ferdinand, “Believe me, we will defeat them”, were the words of the Spanish strategist.

As he was leaving the pitch, Guardiola pointed to Ferdinand and shouted: “I told you.”

City not only defeated Madrid but also destroyed it. He had recovered from the pain he had suffered in the semi-finals of the previous edition, when the English team scored in the last seconds of the second leg at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, taking the duel to extra time, where he eventually succumbed.

The club are now in their best form in seven seasons under Guardiola.

When asked how to evaluate the performance, Guardiola said, “Best keeping the opponent in mind.”

The truth is that Citi has been impressing for some time.

He has a 23-match unbeaten streak since 5 February, when he lost 1-0 to Tottenham. They have beaten Liverpool, Arsenal, Bayern Munich and now Real Madrid by a margin of at least three goals.

They beat Leipzig 7–0 and beat Arsenal 3–1 – a result achieved in February that turned the tide of the Premier League title race. It’s just on another level.

Even Guardiola admits that three titles – the Premiership, the FA Cup and the Champions League – is possible. You have it at your fingertips. Another win in each of those competitions would allow City to equal Manchester United’s achievement in 1999.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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