The most timid Madrid in centuries abdicated in Manchester before an overwhelming City that gave him a historical lesson. A bathroom for the champion, which he did not say a word on English soil. An ordinary Real played by an opponent with more football and volume from the warm-up to the last fireworks. A futuristic City on its way to its second final, the Istanbul summit, where Inter awaits it on June 10. It was useless for Courtois to stop Haaland, that footballer from beyond who left the tie dry. He gave the same. In the City there is no shortage of soloists in a choral group. At the Etihad, Bernardo Silva led with two goals. He rounded off the local group with an own goal from Militão and also brought out Julián Álvarez’s mallet. A City with Rodri as the flag. A jug Madrid, so withered that Vinicius, that first-class powder, was a simple altar boy. A reflection of an incredibly flat Real, a Manchester wanderer.
Ederson Moraes, Manuel Akanji, Walker, Rúben Dias, Rodrigo, Gündogan (Mahrez, min. 79), De Bruyne (Foden, min. 83), John Stones, Erling Braut Haaland (Julián Álvarez, min. 89), Grealish and Bernardo Silva
Courtois, Eder Militao, Alaba, Camavinga (Aurelien Tchouameni, min. 79), Dani Carvajal (Lucas Vázquez, min. 79), Modric (Rüdiger, min. 63), Federico Valverde, Kroos (Marco Asensio, min. 70), Benzema, Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo (Dani Ceballos, min. 79)
goals 1-0 min. 23: Bernardo Silva. 2-0 min. 36: Bernardo Silva. 3-0 min. 75: Manuel Akanji. 4-0 min. 91: Julian Alvarez.
Referee Szymon Marciniak
Yellow cards Rúben Dias (min. 50), Dani Carvajal (min. 55), Gündogan (min. 62), Camavinga (min. 75) and Grealish (min. 90)
For England, a fossilized Real Madrid. An absolutist City. A team, that of Pep Guardiola, with a ring of authority that even lowered a Madrid that usually goes for the European Cup with a crush on a crush. Nothing to do with the drowsy and hesitant City of Chamartín. On the return, a team with tonnage, sharp.
in front of the citizen, Rodri, who has had the field in his boots for a long time. Ahead, fliers in a flock, in the case of Bernardo Silva, De Bruyne and Gündogan. As a soundtrack in the Courtois area, Haaland, who missed two headbutts just because in front of him was the Belgian goalkeeper, who both interfered with his right hip and with a categorical slap. The Real, mummified, of Miranda did not tune in. Not even drops of Kroos and Modric. Not a breath from Valverde. Not a nun pinch from Vinicius, with Rodrygo and Benzema out of focus. A stiff Madrid, unexpectedly moth-eaten, only supported by Courtois’s scaffolding.
Bernardo Silva tormented Camavinga and Grealish was more unruly than in the first leg against Carvajal. The constant movements of De Bruyne and Gündogan screwed the champion, gagged in each round by Rodri —ruler of the base camp— by Stones, by Walker. A set with a hook and on skates and another rusty one, nothing to do with the most real Madrid that terrifies Europe. You see, the first visitor footprint at the adversary ranch took more than half an hour.
Bernardo Silva took advantage of the local kidnapping. City was a round table when De Bruyne plugged the Portuguese in the Courtois area. Kroos, as stiff as any comrade, arrived haphazardly and the Portuguese successfully charged Courtois. The City went and went; the Real was anywhere but Manchester. The most unreal and Siberian Madrid that could be googled.
Because it was Real, it was possible to suspect that such a muddy team, with so much skin on display, was just a parenthesis. It seemed so when Kroos shook off Ederson’s crossbar. A mirage. Immediately, a small talk between Grealish and Gündogan led to a rejection by Militão. Bernardo Silva, a tern in the area, a vector for Guardiola’s men, hunted the 2-0 header. A City without the training of the Bernabéu; a Real without a fang, wounded. So brittle that even Modric, the great Modric, was corked. Like Benzema, like everyone. Nothing to do with City, no longer the City of the first leg that was limited to fiddling with the ball. This time, a more genuine team, in constant movement, capable of distracting when appropriate, looking for a colleague when necessary, confusing the rival if necessary. There was no detectable location. With Guardiola in command, a chess-playing City, where Bernardo Silva tackled the same thing as De Bruyne or Gündogan, either from the sides or through the interior corridors. In this celestial Manchester everyone has more than one script. For Madrid, nothing was familiar: each other’s stake was a sudoku for the visitors. The English team lacked Haaland’s ax, that heavyweight that moves like a super featherweight, this time guarded by Militão. Rather, by Courtois, who frustrated him for the third time with a rebound with the right tibia in a fencer challenge with the Norwegian. The ball went to the crossbar. A thread for Real, in which, even with greater bite in the second act, he had no reel even with the usually cheeky Vinicius. Nor with the praetorians Modric and Kroos, the first that Ancelotti sent to the dark room.
Madrid was still in a ghostly plan when a shot from Akanji rebounded in Militão: 3-0. The lowest champion in times, to the canvas. Not one more scribble against Ederson, except for a free kick from Alaba and a final outburst from the only Benzema of the night. The Frenchman was as frightened as Rodrygo… like every quisqui at Real except Courtois.
The game, from beginning to end, was the business of Rodri, the new captain of Spain, the best sequel in centuries to Busquets. Rodri for the removal. Rodri to channel. A Rodri as luggage of a City that swept the champion. Guardiola moment. Moment City. An earthquake for the Real.
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