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Champions League Final Match Report & Player Ratings | Manchester City complete historic treble with 1-0 win over Inter Milan

City’s evolution into one of the biggest clubs in the world is finally complete thanks to a second-half strike by Rodri to make the difference on another historic night for England in Istanbul.

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Full-Time Match Report

English giants Manchester City have made history tonight in Istanbul after a 1-0 win against Serie A giants Inter Milan, which needed the club a historic treble while ending Pep Guardiola’s European trophy drought.

The legendary Spanish manager presided over what was his 300th win at City and the 600th of his career on the touchline, with the English champions finally being able to lift the one trophy that they have been building toward for years.

In doing so, Guardiola became the first manager in the history of European football to win the treble on two occasions, after first doing so with boyhood club Barcelona in 2008-09. City also became just the eighth club to ever secure a major treble, following in the footsteps of Sir Alex Ferguson’s famous Manchester United side from 1999.

City was inches away from a dream start Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadyumu when Bernardo Silva nearly bent a close-range effort into the far top corner after the Portuguese international made his way into the 18-yard box before beating Federico Dimarco and dispatching a deceptive effort at André Onana’s goal.

Inter’s tactical schematic made life difficult for the Premier League champions, however, with a five-man midfield offering a direct counter to City’s penchant for quickly switching play while probing for holes in the opposition defense. The Serie A side, who notably has been in a vein of form coming into the final, had offered stiff resistance while sitting deep and organized before looking to spring on the counter.

Despite their early and expected dominance in possession, City looked nervy in the opening 25-minutes with Inter finding more half-chances on the night before Erling Haaland nearly popped up to give Pep Guardiola’s men the lead after the Norwegian was put through on goal from a tight angle before being denied by a kick-save from Onana.

Belgian creator-in-chief Kevin De Bruyne tested the Cameroonian shot-stopper a minute later when he received from a rampaging Rúben Dias before cutting inside and unleashing an effort from just outside the box, but it could only be struck right at the former AFC Ajax keeper.

City was dealt a potential hammer blow to their efforts to secure a first-ever Champions League win when De Bruyne came off injured in the 36th minute, mirroring his same fate the last time the club reached the final against Premier League rivals Chelsea in 2021. England international Phil Foden came on to replace the Belgian, with much of the attacking onus now resting at the feet of the academy graduate.

Inter were forced to make their own change due to injury twelve minutes after the restart which saw the introduction of Romelu Lukaku after Bosnian veteran Edin Džeko was forced off. The Italian club nearly pounced on a City era at the back for the second time on the night just two minutes later Lautaro Martínez found himself free in the area after Inter regained possession, but the Argentine could not see his way past Ederson.

Guardiola’s men finally found the breakthrough mid-way through the second half when Spanish midfielder Rodri slammed home a thunderbolt after Inter failed to clear their lines in the wake of Silva’s ball across the face of goal deflecting into space toward the top of the box.

Rodri’s strike would see him go down in club lore after becoming the first City player to ever score in a European final.

Simone Inzaghi’s outfit so nearly leveled matters just two minutes later after Dimarco’s looping header over Ederson from just outside the 6-yard box bounced off the bar, with the Italian then given a second crack at it only for his follow-up header slamming into the back of Lukaku.

Foden had a chance to make it 2-0 in the 78th minute when he busted through the center of Inter’s defensive line but his hurried effort before being closed down was well-saved by Onana to keep the Serie A giants still in with a chance to find an equalizer.

It would be Inter once again that had another chance to find an equalizer with less than two minutes before stoppage time when Ederson made a reactionary kick save to deny Lukaku’s headed-down effort from close range.

Despite Inter’s last-gasp efforts to level matters, match official Szymon Marciniak blew his whistle for full-time to see Manchester City become the 23rd club to win the Champions League, the second new winner in the last three seasons, and the third English side to win the competition in the least five years.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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