Manchester City have made history after defeating Italian giants Inter Milan last Saturday: not only did they become UEFA Champions League winners for the first time in their history but they also managed to win the treble. They are the second English football club to achieve this goal after Manchester United did it in the 1998/99 season.
However, it proved to be more of a challenge than perhaps most pundits and experts were expecting. Manchester City were big favorites in this final and Inter Milan, while a good side in their own right, were viewed as having too much of a gap in quality when compared to Pep Guardiola’s team.
Despite this perception, the final was a very closed one. Inter Milan knew how to shut down most of City’s avenues for creative outlets and Norwegian striker Erling Haaland, pretty much unstoppable this season for the Citizens, was mostly quiet due to Inter manager Simone Inzaghi’s back-three. The first half happened without much fanfare or great scoring chances for both sides, with the Inter players having performed quite well on the defensive side of things.
The common rationale was that City were going to go out all guns blazing at the beginning of the second half, but Inter were the ones showing a bit more initiative. However, once Rodri scored the first and only goal of the match, coming from behind with no Inter player marking him in the 68th minute, things took a turn for the better for the English side.
Inter Milan decided to sub in Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku and while he had some good moments when it came to link-up play, the reality is that the former Manchester United man struggled massively in key moments. He accidentally blocked his teammate Di Marco’s header and also missed a very clear header himself against City keeper Ederson, which happened to be Inter’s best chances in the second half.
Lautaro Martinez, one of the team’s talismans in this Champions League run, had a night to forget for the Italian giants, struggling a lot with his first touch and overall decision-making. If Inter had a very solid performance defensive-wise, the same cannot be said about their attacking display.
As for City, despite not having the best of performances, this is naturally a very important achievement. Manager Pep Guardiola has invested over one billion euros in this squad and have finally accomplished their goal, which is something worth highlighting. This City side has been the best in all of Europe, defeating the best teams in the world in the process.
The most important thing to highlight is that they are all set to dominate in the coming years. They have the financial resources, the infrastructure, the players, and the manager to be the best team in the world in the coming years, which is a thought that can change a lot of how the game of football is seen because City is very different to any success story that has come before.
TREBLE WINNERS!!! 🏆🏆🏆 pic.twitter.com/K4fhk5VhjC
— Manchester City (@ManCity) June 12, 2023