Sports

Manchester City beat Inter Milan to complete season treble

Manchester City ended a sensational season by beating Inter Milan 1-0 to win the 2022/2023 UEFA Champions League for the first time.

 

The victory helped them to complete the treble on a Saturday evening of frayed nerves.

 

Spanish midfielder Rodri’s 68th-minute goal settled a cagey game which a far-from-fluent Manchester City dominated.

 

This was without them ever looking comfortable against the three-times winners from Italy at the Ataturk Stadium.

 

Inter Milan almost levelled at the death when a point-blank header by substitute Romelu Lukaku was saved by Ederson.

 

But Manchester City, who lost in the final match two years ago against Chelsea, would not be denied.

 

“Emotional. A dream come true. All these guys around here waited I don’t know how many years. They deserve, we deserve,” Rodri said.

 

In being crowned champions of Europe, they matched the treble achieved by Manchester United in 1999 of lifting the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League crowns.

 

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has now won the UEFA Champions League three times and took his trophy count with the club to 12.

 

It was far from a fluent Manchester City performance, however, against a tireless Inter Milan side who looked capable of causing a shock.

 

Manchester City were stifled in the first half and their fans were reduced to near silence at times as the nerves became frayed.

 

With Kevin de Bruyne off injured, Manchester City struggled to create chances and were wobbly at the back.

 

But in the end the ever-reliable Rodri came to the rescue.

 

For once Inter Milan could not close down the spaces and Bernardo Silva’s cutback was swept home by the Spaniard.

 

Even then, Manchester City were forced to go to the wire at the end of a long season with Lautaro Martinez hitting the bar for Inter Milan.

 

Lukaku was also denied by a superb Ederson save at the death.

 

Guardiola has now finally guided Manchester City to the European crown they so cherished after a few gut-wrenching near misses since Sheikh Mansour bought the club in 2008.

 

He became the first manager to achieve two trebles in European football, having done the Spanish equivalent with FC Barcelona in 2009.

 

He has won 12 trophies with Manchester City since taking charge in 2016.

 

Now, with the UEFA Champions League jinx broken, any sense of inferiority Manchester City may have suffered to the established European royalty of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Liverpool has gone.

 

Manchester City still must defend themselves against more than 100 alleged breaches of English Premier League financial regulations dating back to 2009.

 

But that is for another day.

 

On Saturday alongside the Bosphorous, that was the last thing Manchester City’s joyous fans cared about.

 

They celebrated the club’s first European trophy since the now defunct European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1969/1970.

 

Guardiola’s side fluffed their lines in Porto two years ago when losing to Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League final — a defeat partially blamed on Guardiola’s tactics.

 

This time he and his players delivered, although it was far from straightforward against the wily Italian side.

 

(Reuters/NAN)

 

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