Manchester City 4 Real Madrid 0. This was the night Manchester City finally came of age in Europe.
There are defining moments in every club’s journey to the ultimate success. It could be a goal like Aguero’s in 2012 or a dominant performance that provides such a moment.
For City’s UEFA Champions League winning campaign, it was the semi-final second-leg domination of Real Madrid.
Madrid came to the Etihad with the tie delicately poised at 1-all following a pulsating first leg at the Bernabeu. All was to play for at the Etihad.
City fans were up for the occasion. The atmosphere at the Etihad was electric. The Madrid media post-game would comment on how intimidating it was.
MARCA (Spanish Sports paper) on Etihad Atmosphere:
“The atmosphere was possibly the harshest Real Madrid encountered in many years. A complete trap.” pic.twitter.com/Q6umyqkUVp
— City Chief (@City_Chief) May 18, 2023
As the Etihad rocked, City’s players went at the men from Madrid. In a display of dominance that personified footballing perfection, City dominated Real from kick-off.
City’s first-half performance was arguably the greatest football played by a Manchester City side. Everything that makes Guardiola’s side so great was on display. The passing was mesmerizing. City pressed Madrid every time they had possession. Real had no time to breathe.
The only surprise was that City weren’t already up by the time Bernardo Silva put City in front. When he did the roof came off the Etihad.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 19, 2023
A second goal from Bernardo gave City a 2-nil lead at halftime, but in truth, the scoreline flattered Real. Only an inspired Thibaut Courtois in goal for Real prevented a bigger halftime lead for City. The football played by Pep Guardiola’s men in that first half will be long remembered by City fans, and football fans everywhere. It was a sight to behold.
The second-half performance showed City’s new found maturity in the Champions League. Pep Guardiola’s men managed the second half to perfection. Second-half goals from Manual Akanji and Julian Alvarez put Real away. 4-nil on the night and 5-1 on aggregate.
🕷️ Regains possession. Continues his run. Finishes…
The perfect Pep player 👌 pic.twitter.com/5yba2oKkkZ
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) June 5, 2023
City would go on to finally claim Champions League glory in Istanbul with a tough fought 1-nil win over Inter Milan.
There was always going to be a night when Manchester City came of age in the UEFA Champions League. The demolition of Real Madrid was that night.