Manchester City produced one of the greatest performances in their history on Wednesday night to beat Real Madrid 4-0 and book their place in the Champions League final.
Pep Guardiola’s side went into the second home leg against Madrid with the tie hanging in the balance, having come away from the Bernabeu with a 1-1 draw last week.
But the reigning European champions couldn’t cope with City’s intensity and ability to pass the ball around. The hosts were utterly dominant, particularly in the opening stages as they penned Madrid back in their own half.
Bernardo Silva made the breakthrough with a fierce finish in the 24th minute and the Portuguese midfielder then doubled City’s lead 12 minutes later.
There was to be no repeat of Madrid’s 2021-22 comeback heroics as City comfortably protected their two-goal lead and eventually put the tie out of sight through Manuel Akanji in the 76th minute. Julian Alvarez added extra gloss in injury time after latching onto an excellent pass from fellow late substitute Phil Foden.
“At home we feel incredibly comfortable with our people,” Guardiola told BT Sport.
“I had a feeling we had one year of pain in our stomach with what happened last season. Today went out everything we had. It was so painful last season. When people say the lack of character of these players, we showed how special this group are.
“They showed commitment in our intensity. The players were outstanding. In these types of games Bernardo is always there. He is one of the best players I have ever seen in my life.
“I said many times we don’t have to come back from 3-0 down. Just have to win one game and be ourselves. We had a feeling that people were ready. We were calm mentally. I didn’t feel tension or anxiousness. I had a feeling that today we were ready to do the performance.”
Here are 10 outstanding statistics from City’s history-making victory:
– The victory was Pep Guardiola’s 100th Champions League win as a manager. Only his opponent Carlo Ancelotti (107) and Sir Alex Ferguson (102) have notched more.
What a way to reach a century 💯 pic.twitter.com/ObxV0j8toz
— Planet Football (@planetfutebol) May 18, 2023
– The 4-0 scoreline was Real Madrid’s joint-worst defeat in a Champions League outing, along with the 4-0 away defeat at Liverpool in March 2009.
– Jack Grealish played three key passes – the final pass before a team-mate shoots at goal – which was the most of any player on the pitch and just two fewer than Real Madrid combined. He’s created 35 chances in total in the competition this season – the most by any English player on record (via @OptaJoe).
– In the first 20 minutes, Manchester City registered 80% possession and 162 accurate passes to the visitors’ tally of 26, six dribbles to zero and six shots to zero. Rodrygo, Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior notched just two, four and six touches respectively in that period.
– Vinicius Junior attempted two take-ons but didn’t complete either. He registered just one (off-target) shot and failed to create a single chance. Somebody check Kyle Walker’s pockets.
– Rodri completed 100% of his tackles (three) and take-ons (two). He completed 113 passes, registered 124 touches and won possession 11 times – the most of any player on the pitch on all three counts. He also won seven duels, two aerial duels and wasn’t dribbled past once.
– The hosts were especially clinical to score four goals from 2.6xG, but they were incredibly sound defensively – Ancelotti’s side were reduced to just 0.4xG (via FBref).
It was some night last night! 🏟
— BT Sport (@btsport) May 18, 2023
– Manchester City are (effectively) just three wins away from a treble, something only their rivals Manchester United have achieved in the history of English football. They go into the final stretch on a run of 23 games unbeaten (19 wins, four draws) – in which the aggregate score is 70-13.
– Guardiola’s men have won 21 games this season by a margin of three or more goals – seven more than any other side in Europe’s five major leagues. They’ve beaten Madrid, Arsenal, Bayern, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United by three or more goals in 2022-23.
– It doesn’t sound true, but it is: the Champions League final will be the first-ever competitive match between Inter and Manchester City, with City the odds-on favourites to lift the trophy.