Review and Player Ratings as City destroy Madrid to book CL final – Man City 4-0 (5-1) Real Madrid
One of, if not the best, Manchester City performance of all time blew the Champions League holders Real Madrid away. A first-half brace from Bernardo Silva, a Manuel Akanji header and a late finish from Julian Alvarez ensured an emphatic 4-0 result on the night and a 5-1 scoreline on aggregate – sending City to the Champions League final.
Despite Pep Guardiola's comments in his pre-match press conference on Monday afternoon, the Catalan named an unchanged starting XI from the first leg.
There was a lot of debate before the game as to whether Riyad Mahrez – the man who sent City into their only previous Champions League final – would start ahead of Bernardo Silva, but it was the Portuguese international who retained his position. Manuel Akanji also kept his position at left-back over the returning from injury Nathan Ake.
It was a near-perfect opening ten minutes from the hosts as they came flying out of the blocks. Kevin De Bruyne played Erling Haaland through on goal, who took it past Thibaut Courtois, but no sky blue shirt was on the end of the Norwegian's cutback.
Seconds later, the ball fell to Rodri on the edge of the box in a similar position to his goal against Bayern Munich, but he opted to make a dart into the opposition area, but his effort was just wide of the post.
Nobody inside the ground or watching at home on TV could believe that the home side didn't take the lead inside 15 minutes, and if it wasn't for a phenomenal save by Courtois, Haaland would have headed home from two yards out.
After a quarter of an hour had been played, Real Madrid had only completed 19 passes compared to City's 124, leaving the Premier League champions with 79% of possession.
The Madrid goalkeeper once again denied Haaland with an outstanding save. It looked for all the world like Haaland's header would nestle into the top left corner, but the Belgian somehow tipped it around the post.
It was an utterly dominant first 25 minutes by Guardiola's side, and they finally got exactly what they deserved. A smart pass in behind the defence by De Bruyne set Bernardo Silva one on one with Madrid's shot-stopper, and the 28-year-old sent the goalkeeper the wrong way and smashed it into the top right corner of the net to open the scoring for the Citizens.
Madrid enjoyed their first period of attacking football, which resulted in an audacious effort from Toni Kroos, which, thanks to the fingertips of Ederson, absolutely smashed the crossbar.
If the Champions League holders thought they were finally getting into the game, they needed to think again. If the 6'5 figure of Haaland couldn't beat Courtois with a header, then who could? You guessed right, Bernardo Silva. The 5'8 magician was in the right place at the right time as Ilkay Gundogan's blocked shot fell kindly to the #20, who headed it softly into the same corner as his first goal.
City finished the half the exact way the previous 44 minutes went – relentless. The sky blue shirts were lining up to take a shot, and it was Akanji who eventually let fire and his effort, which was curling towards the far corner, was blocked on the line.
World Cup final referee Szymon Marciniak seemed reluctant to pull his cards out as Bernardo Silva, Eder Militao and Eduardo Camavinga all made multiple fouls without punishment, whereas Ruben Dias was booked for his first offence.
David Alaba was the man to take the free kick, but Ederson was equal to the task and brilliantly tipped the Austrian's powerful strike over the bar and into the South Stand.
City struggled to find the rhythm they had in the first half, as it was Madrid's turn to keep the majority of the ball in the first 20 minutes of the second half, but Carlo Ancelotti's side still failed to create any serious clear-cut chances.
Gundogan, with a silky back-heeled nutmeg, played Haaland through on goal; the 22-year-old brought it onto his right foot to try and pass it into the bottom right corner for his 53rd goal of the season, but Courtois once again denied the striker.
An extremely tired De Bruyne, who hadn't been at his best, still managed to assist two goals. The Belgian whipped in a delightful free-kick, which Akanji met, and it was diverted into the net by Militao to put the hosts 3-0 up on the night and 4-1 on aggregate.
Absolutely every single City player put in the performance of their lives, and Ederson, who has received a lot of criticism over recent years, had provided the foundation for this City team to blow Madrid away. The Brazilian produced an excellent double save to maintain his clean sheet.
Alvarez replaced Haaland and, within minutes, had the ball in the back of the net to confirm an absolute thrashing of Europe's most elite club. Two substitutes combined brilliantly as Phil Foden slotted the Argentine through on goal, and he inch perfectly picked out the bottom left corner to make the final score 4-0 on the night and 5-1 on aggregate.
For City fans, it was a shame that the final whistle eventually came, but that whistle sealed the blue side of Manchester's place in Istanbul on June 10th as they face Inter Milan for the first time in their history as they look to claim the most desired trophy in the club's history.
Now that City's place in the Champions League final is booked, the hunt for the treble continues as they take to the Etihad Stadium pitch for one last time this season as they aim to win their third Premier League in a row in front of their own fans against Chelsea on Sunday. The game kicks off at 16:00 BST live on Sky Sports.
Man of the Match
Despite everyone putting in an unbelievable performance, it was only ever going to be one man. Bernardo Silva. He was unstoppable all night; not a single Madrid player could get anywhere near him, and both of his goals were brilliant finishes within their own right. Any doubts as to whether he should have started were dismissed immediately.
Ederson - 10
Walker - 10
Stones - 10
Dias - 10
Akanji - 10
Rodri - 10
De Bruyne - 10
Gundogan - 10
Bernardo Silva - 10
Haaland - 10
Grealish - 10
Substitutes: Mahrez - 10, Foden - 10, Alvarez - 10
Written by: @DanGP17_
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