The Europa League and Conference League finals were followed by the Champions League final on Saturday, June 10, with England’s Manchester City and Italy’s Inter Milan clashing at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul.
Champions League. Final
“Manchester City” (England) – “Inter” (Italy) – 1:0
Key: Rhodri (68).
Bookmakers before the final, which was attended by many football stars (Andrii Shevchenko in particular), considered Josep Guardiola’s wards the clear favorite, who had already won the European Champions Cup with Barcelona (once in 1992 as a player and twice in 2009 and 2011 — as a coach), but still could not lead Manchester City to a triumph in the Champions League. The most realistic chance for the Catalan was in 2021, but then the “townsmen” lost in the final to “Chelsea” (0:1).
In turn, “Inter”, which knocked out the compatriots from “Milan” in the semifinals, was not at all opposed to winning the KEC for the fourth time in history (previously, “black and blue” won the tournament in 1964, 1965 and 2010). In addition, Simone Inzaghi’s men, after the failures of Roma in the Europa League final and Fiorentina in the decisive match of the Conference League, were burning with the desire to bring Italy at least one European Cup in the season.
The first half of the meeting on the shores of the Bosphorus, contrary to the predictions (it seems that Gareth Bale, the ex-forward of Real Madrid, who predicted a 5-0 victory for “City” went further than everyone among the “football experts”) turned into football chess, in which the Inzaghi boys had little to do conceded to the favorite. Moreover, in the 35th minute, the champion of England lost his brain center – de Bruyne, who asked to be replaced due to injury.
But even without the Belgian, Guardiola’s team began to wear out the opponent after the break, and in the 68th minute Guardiola’s compatriot, the Spaniard Rodri, hit the Italian giant’s goal – 1:0.
“Inter” did not come together and almost had a real chance to equalize in the first attack after conceding a goal, but at one point, “MC” was first saved by the crossbar, and then … by the Italian forward Lukaku, who was hit by the ball after a dangerous header by Dimarco. It was time for Guardiola and the “townsmen” fans to be baptized.
But “City” persevered (what a chance to equalize in the 89th minute, the grenadier Lukaku did not use!) and for the first time in the club’s history became a champion of the Champions League. As in 2005, the Anglo-Italian final in Istanbul brought good luck to the club from Misty Albion (18 years ago, in an incredible match, Liverpool, losing to Milan after the first half – 0:3, saved the match and defeated Shevchenko’s team in a penalty shootout ).
By the way, Josep Guardiola, having won the EPL season, the FA Cup and the Champions League, repeated the achievements of “Manchester United”, who completed a championship hat-trick in 1999 under the leadership of Sir Alex Ferguson. And in terms of the number of coaching trophies (42), the coach of ManCity came one step closer to the legendary Scottish record holder (Ferguson won 49 tournaments).
It is interesting that before Guardiola, only five coaches won the European Champions Cup with different clubs – the Austrian Ernst Happel (in 1970 with Feyenoord and in 1983 with Hamburg), the German Ottmar Hitzfeld (in 1997 with Borussia Dortmund ” and 2001 with “Bavaria”), German Jupp Heynckes (1998 with “Real” and 2013 with “Bavaria”), Portuguese Jose Mourinho (2004 with “Porto” and 2010 with “Inter” “) and the most titled coach of the Champions League, the Italian Carlo Ancelotti (2003 and 2007 with Milan, as well as 2014 and 2022 with Real).
We should add that Manchester City will compete for the UEFA Super Cup with the winner of the Europa League, the Spanish Sevilla, on August 16 at the Karaiskakis Stadium in the Athens suburb of Piraeus.
“FACTS” previously reported that Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson shared the “intimate” secret of victories.
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