MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Manchester City stormed into the Champions League final for the second time in three seasons after thrashing Real Madrid 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, producing a stunning performance against the competition’s defending champions.
Bernardo Silva’s first-half brace put City in control of the key against the 14-time European champions.
A late Eder Militão own goal and a goal from Argentine forward Julián Alvarez sealed the definition for Pep Guardiola’s side, who avenged last year’s bitter defeat in the semi-finals with a thumping 5-1 scoreline.
With Inter Milan already through to the final, City will be heavy favorites to finally claim the trophy Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour has been craving since buying the club in 2008 after losing out to Chelsea two years ago.
City came out with everything, and Thibaut Courtois saved his team from the fence several times in the first half. His most notable save was against Erling Haaland’s header to the leg.
The pressure from the local crowd was suffocating from the first minute and they never allowed Madrid to settle on the field of play.
Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said after the game, “To think about next season, to learn and get better. Last year we were able to beat them and reach the final, and this year it is Manchester City’s turn.”
City are now unbeaten in 26 home games in the competition. The run was never in danger and Portuguese midfielder Silva opened the scoring after 23 minutes with a shot past Thibaut Courtois. He himself extended the head advantage to 37.
The second half was almost a formality as Madrid, which is bidding to win the trophy for the sixth time in 10 seasons, were outplayed by a relentless City team.
And Carlo Ancelotti’s men Militão didn’t look back after 76 minutes when he scored an own goal from a Kevin De Bruyne free kick.
“I think their start was expected, a lot of pressure, not letting us get off the ball, going into the zone (…) The problem is if we don’t manage to make our game and there is a possibility that they will feel Let’s make it even more comfortable”, Courtois said after the meeting.
Alvarez made it 4-0 in the 91st minute after leaping onto the field of play in place of Erling Haaland, putting the finishing touch on his team’s fine collective play.