Manchester City cast off the demons of 2022 to beat Real Madrid 4-0 in the second leg of their Champions League semifinal at the Etihad on Wednesday night in a dominant display by the Premier League leaders.
Level at 1-1 following the first leg in Madrid, Bernardo Silva netted a pair of goals in the opening 45 minutes to give the hosts breathing room at half-time, and an Eder Militao own goal before full-time gave City a 5-1 aggregate win and set up a June 10 final showdown with Inter Milan in Istanbul.
It was all City from the outset with Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois making a pair of stellar saves to keep out a pair of Erling Haaland headers in the early-going and Kevin De Bruyne flashing a free kick from distance just wide of the near post.
The relentless pressure from Pep Guardiola’s side finally paid off in the 23rd minute when De Bruyne played a defence-splitting pass to Sliva, who cut onto his left foot and powered a shot past Courtois.
Fifteen minutes later, Silva had his second. This time the Portugal international placed a lovely, looping header past Courtois after the rebound from Ilkay Gundogan’s close-range strike set up perfectly for him.
Madrid barely had a sniff of the ball, much less the City goal, throughout the entirety of the first half as the home team took a two-goal aggregate lead to the break.
Carlo Ancelotti’s team came out looking sharper in the second half but were still unable to fashion any quality chances, with City having the best look in the 73rd minute only for Courtois to once again deny Haaland from close range.
The decisive goal came soon after, though, when De Bruyne’s floated cross into the Madrid area glanced off Manuel Akanji and then Eder Militao into the back of the net to send the Etihad crowd into delirium.
Argentina World Cup winner Julian Alvarez added City’s fourth after coming on for Haaland as a late substitute and Guardiola and his team took their time celebrating in front of the home support following the final whistle.
City — losers to Madrid in dramatic fashion in last year’s UCL semis — will now advance to the final for only the second time under Guardiola, whose side fell 1-0 to Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea in 2021.
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