Manchester City produced a stunning performance to reach the Champions League final as Bernardo Silva’s double put Real Madrid to the sword in a 4-0 thrashing that secured a 5-1 aggregate win for the English champions on Wednesday.
Eder Militao’s own goal and Julian Alvarez’s strike in stoppage time rounded off a memorable night for Pep Guardiola’s men as they moved to within three wins of matching Manchester United’s treble in 1998/99.
Bernardo Silva was a fitting catalyst for Manchester City’s majestic march into the Champions League final as one of Pep Guardiola’s trusted lieutenants stole the spotlight on a defining night for his manager.
Prior to City’s 4-0 rout of Real Madrid in Wednesday’s semi-final second leg, the tie was billed as the stage on which Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne would underline their immense star power.
Haaland’s record-breaking goal spree and De Bruyne’s peerless passing have fuelled City’s surge towards a remarkable treble in recent weeks.
But it was the understated Silva who stole the spotlight on a cathartic evening for a club desperate to rewrite their tortured Champions League history.
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City face Inter Milan in the final in Istanbul on June 10, and Silva will surely be at the heart of what Guardiola hopes is the final leg of their treble charge.
Guardiola’s men can clinch the Premier League title with a victory against Chelsea on Sunday, or by taking three points in either of their following two matches.
That would be the fifth title in six seasons for City, who also face Manchester United in the FA Cup final on June 3.
But it is the Champions League that has been City’s holy grail since Guardiola’s appointment in 2016.
Guardiola has won the Champions League twice as a manager with Barcelona in 2009 and 2011.
Yet he had appeared cursed at times in the competition after City endured a series of painful exits.
Thanks to Silva, City can look forward to the second Champions League final in their history after losing the 2021 showpiece against Chelsea.
Here are some key insights as Man City march on:
- Manchester City have reached the UEFA Champions League final for the second time, previously doing so in 2020-21.
- This was the joint biggest margin of victory in a single UEFA Champions League semi-final match, and Real Madrid’s joint biggest defeat in any round of the competition (also 0-4 v Liverpool in March 2009).
- Real Madrid have been eliminated from the UEFA Champions League at the semi-final stage for the eighth time, more than any other side.
- Just three of the previous seven to eliminate them at this stage have gone on to lift the trophy.