Made history. Many believed that Pep Guardiola’s appointment as Manchester City’s manager in 2016 would enable the Sky Blues to capture their first Champions League title. Guardiola delivered a decade later. And it arrived in fine fashion.
The Champions League victory marked City’s third trophy this season in as many weeks. The Sky Blues ultimately won the European championship after finishing just ahead of Arsenal in the Premier League this season and defeating their crosstown rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup. Only Manchester United has ever won the triple crown in English football, and it will be a moment to remember in the city’s blue quarter.
However, it was not effortless. Some believed City would easily defeat Internazionale after dominating RB Leipzig in the Round of 16, Bayern München in the quarterfinals, and Real Madrid in the semifinals. But what actually happened was a pretty defensive game.
City received the opening opportunity in the final in the fifth minute. Rodri passed the ball to Bernardo Silva at the top of the box, and after the latter danced past a few players, he struck. But the ball fizzed wide. Then, in the 27th minute of the game, Kevin De Bruyne skillfully slipped Erling Haland through on goal.
The goal bound attempt by the Norwegian striker was stopped. One minute later, De Bruyne attempted a shot on goal, but it was quickly stopped. The remainder of the first half would be intriguing thanks to Internazionale, but ultimately it would end scoreless.
The most significant event was when De Bruyne suffered an unintentional injury and had to be replaced by Phil Foden. Nerves started to build up during the game, and the commentators wondered if it would be a repeat of Chelsea’s victory over Manchester City in the final during the 2020/21 season.
In the second half, Manchester City dominated Possession
With similar vigor, City dominated possession and productive phases of play to start the second half. When Bernardo and Manuel Akanji miscommunicated at the defense, Internazionale made their first significant attempt on goal. Bernardo passed the ball backwards to Akanji in the 57th minute. The Internazionale striker Lautaro Martnez pounced on the ball as the latter mistakenly thought there was room for Ederson to grab.
The City goalkeeper made a key save to keep the game tied after Ederson forced Martnez wide. City was rewarded for its domination ten minutes later. Unsurprisingly, Akanji and Bernardo were the ones to set the objective. At the top of Internazionale’s box, Akanji would take possession of the ball. After receiving a pass from the center back, Bernardo was able to enter the box unimpeded. When the ball reached the top of the box, he would cut it there, where an unmarked Rodri would score. City had established a significant lead.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) June 11, 2023
Internazionale then increased the pressure, as was to be expected. A few minutes later, the Italians came close to tying the score. Federico Dimarco headed the ball in the direction of the goal following some confusion in the penalty area. Ederson made an attempt to save but fell backward. The ball fortunately bounced off the crossbar for the City goalkeeper.
Dimarco attempted to head the ball once more, but Romelu Lukaku was the recipient. Finally, City eliminated the threat, which was a huge relief for the English team. A few minutes later, Lukaku attempted to make up for his mistake by gathering the ball and shooting goalward, but Ederson stopped him. Although City was having some anxious moments, their defense was standing firm.
Internazionale came close to scoring twice in the dying seconds of the game to force extra time. First, Lukaku headed the ball into the goal in the 88th minute. Rben Dias of the City’s center defense blocked the rebound for a corner after Ederson made a save. Then, with one minute remaining in stoppage time, Robin Gosens headed the ball from a corner toward the goal, but Ederson again made a critical save. The Italians felt they would steal a victory multiple times, but City’s goalie consistently saved the day.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) June 10, 2023
Sadly, Internazionale refused to demand more time. Manchester City would win by a score of 1-0 in the encounter. The Sky Blues had at last succeeded. It was their first Champions League title. It has become history. What will happen next for Manchester City?