Man City come up with all the answers to humble Real

None of Manchester City's players, including the substitutes, put a foot wrong in a magnificent Champions League demolition of Real Madrid

Published : 18 May 2023, 06:47 AM
Updated : 18 May 2023, 06:47 AM

None of Manchester City's players, including the substitutes, put a foot wrong in a magnificent Champions League demolition of Real Madrid on Wednesday, but one snapshot summed up a magical night at The Etihad Stadium.

City were already a Bernardo Silva goal to the good after a dominant 30 minutes when Real finally launched an attack.

Vinicius Jr, whose sensational goal had given Real the lead in last week's first-leg 1-1 draw, looked like he had stolen a march on City right back Kyle Walker.

But Walker simply turned on the after-burners and left the Brazilian appearing to be walking on a treadmill.

The Etihad Stadium crowd rose to applaud Walker who turned his much-anticipated duel against Real's dangerman into something akin to a stroll in the park.

It was the same all over the pitch as, man for man, City's slickers put the 14-times European champions to the sword in the most ruthless fashion on the way to a 4-0 win.

Karim Benzema, Real's French goal machine and one of four starters for the Spaniards with five Champions League winners' medals in his locker, spent the night in the pocket of either John Stones or Ruben Dias.

Erling Haaland did not add to his 52 City goals this season, but terrorised Real's defence and would have had a hat-trick but for three outstanding saves by Thibaut Courtois, the only Real player to emerge from a chastening evening with any credit.

Rodrygo, the man whose last-gasp goals broke City's hearts in last year's semi-final thriller, was anonymous against City's Manuel Akanji and was eventually substituted.

And Luka Modric, Real's majestic mastermind, was made to look every one of his 37 years as City's midfield, anchored by the imperious Rodri, enjoyed complete domination.

For good measure, City manager Pep Guardiola, whose tactics had been found wanting in some of City's Champions League disappointments down the years, including in the final two years ago against Chelsea, outfoxed the great Carlo Ancelotti.

The wily Italian had been in sight of a fifth Champions League trophy as a manager but his record 191st game in charge in the competition turned into a nightmare.

"Today, from minute one, we had the feeling the people were ready," Guardiola, whose side are now three wins away from sealing a treble last achieved in 1999 by Manchester United, said. "I felt we were ready today to give a performance."

Walker said that City have no 'standout superstars' -- although you could argue Guardiola's squad is simply overflowing with them.

Even when Haaland doesn't score, someone else supplies the magic, be it Kevin de Bruyne, Bernardo Silva or, as was the case in the Premier League last weekend, Ilkay Gundogan.

"When we're all together and playing -- especially here -- we just feel unstoppable," said City's England winger Jack Grealish.

Former Manchester united defender Rio Ferdinand could not hide his admiration for City's display.

"They have just destroyed, battered, pulverised a giant of European football," he told BT Sport.