Super Silva sends City to Istanbul

Having settled for a 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabéu last week, Pep Guardiola’s side welcomed Real Madrid to the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday. Rodrygo opened the scoring for los Blancos in the Spanish capital, but a stunning strike from Kevin De Bruyne ensured the two sides would return to Manchester with nothing to separate them.

MCI: Ederson; Akanji, Dias, Walker; Rodri, Stones; Grealish, Gundogan, De Bruyne, B. Silva; Haaland

RMA: Courtois; Camavinga, Alaba, Militao, Carvajal; Modric, Kroos, Valverde; Vini Jr, Benzema, Rodrygo

City were by far the better side throughout the opening stages, dominating possession early on and creating plenty of chances. Erling Haaland was played through on goal by Kevin De Bruyne, but the Norwegian couldn’t take the shot on himself and wasn’t able to find a teammate in support. Rodri fired wide of the left post just moments later.

Pep Guardiola’s side should have taken the lead with thirteen minutes on the click, as Jack Grealish fired a cross in from the left flank – but Thibaut Courtois was able to produce a sensational stop to deny Haaland’s towering header before David Alaba hooked it away off the goal-line.

Desperate to open the scoring and make their early domination count, City looked to take the lead through Erling Haaland once more – but yet again, Courtois was able to deny the striker with a fine save at full stretch following a well-worked corner routine.

The Blues took the lead soon after though – through Bernardo Silva. Kevin De Bruyne picked out the Portuguese star, who capitalised on poor positioning from Eduardo Camavinga and Toni Kroos before thumping an effort past the Belgian ‘keeper.

Toni Kroos looked to claw one back and bring his side level ten minutes later, but the German’s strike from twenty-five yards out struck the woodwork, having been turned onto the crossbar by Ederson.

Ultimately though, it was City that found the back of the net next – with Bernardo Silva doubling his tally. Jack Grealish looked to play in Ilkay Gundogan, but his low strike was blocked by Eder Militao. The deflection curled well into the path of Silva though, and he made no mistake to head over Alaba and nestle an effort in the top-right corner.

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Guardiola’s team talk at half time will have been one of the easiest he’s ever had to make – as his side had utterly dominated Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid, and had a two-goal lead to show for it. As it stood, his side were destined for Istanbul.

City’s superiority continued throughout much of the second half, forcing another save from Thibaut Courtois with just over fifteen minutes left to play. Unfortunately for the visitors, the Belgian couldn’t deny City’s third goal of the evening just minutes later. De Bruyne’s free-kick delivery into the box was flicked goalward by Manuel Akanji, but Militao poked it into his own net to well and truly bring an end to any remaining hopes of a comeback.

Karim Benzema didn’t seem to get the memo and looked set to reduce the deficit, attempting to chip Ederson – but the Brazilian was able to parry it away. Dani Ceballos tried to find the back of the net with the rebound, but the ‘keeper was able to deny that strike too.

Deep in stoppage time, Julian Alvarez added a fourth to wrap up a sublime performance from Manchester City. Phil Foden will claim plenty of credit, disguising a lovely through-ball pass to the Argentine, who then tucked it tidily into the bottom-left corner.

It’s Manchester City heading to Istanbul then, and they’ll face Inter Milan on the 10th June. Pep Guardiola will look to secure the only silverware that has evaded him during his time in East Manchester, and with a team like this one, the odds are certainly in his favour.

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