Manchester City Champions Poised for Return to the Final

    Manchester City are celebrating their return to the Champions League final after crushing owners Real Madrid in one of the greatest performances in the club’s history.

    Josep Guardiola’s treble-seeking team beat the 14-time European champions 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, securing a spot in next month’s Istanbul show 5-1 on aggregate.

    The win was as convincing as the score could tell, with Madrid struggling to live with City’s pace and power and thanking goalkeeper Thibault Courtois for preventing an even bigger landslide.

    Bernardo Silva set City up for the final against Inter Milan by scoring two goals in the first half before Eder Militao scored his own and Julián Alvarez scored the fourth late in the match.

    City are now looking to lift a trophy and make up for their loss in the 2021 final in what could be a glorious treble.

    The first of those trophies could be won on Sunday if they beat Chelsea to win the Premier League in the FA Cup final against Manchester United on 3 June.

    City manager Guardiola said: “In the Premier League we are close, we know we need one more game.

    “We are playing against our neighbors and against the Italian team in the final. The season is really good. Now we need to pick it up. We’re close, and of course we’re going to try.”

    The first semi-final match last week against Real Madrid at the Bernabéu stadium was even.

    City dominated possession, but Real Madrid were more astute in counterattacks.

    This time, City didn’t let the opposition relax and feel comfortable absorbing the pressure. They were much more dynamic and the Spanish giants couldn’t keep up with their speed and movement.

    The resounding victory was sweet revenge for City’s heartbreaking loss to Real Madrid and the same stage last season.

    Guardiola said: “It was really hard to lose the way we lost. At that moment we had to swallow poison, but football and sports always give another chance.

    “When the draw was in Madrid, I said, ‘Yes, I want to.’

    “Everything was there – the energy we got in a year where we as players were criticized for our lack of character when we lost.”

    Carlo Ancelotti, manager of the deposed champions, could not be jealous of City’s victory.

    “I think Manchester City deserved to win because they played better than us,” said the Italian.

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