As the Chief Association, Champions Association and FA Cup titles are all in one place, it feels as if there is a powerful force surrounding this city.
Manchester City is just three wins away from creating history. Pep Guardiola feels that his march towards a treble title is unstoppable after Wednesday’s shock defeat of Real Madrid at the Champions League semi-finals.
“We are there. The manager said, “We are there.” After City’s 4-0 win at Etihad, he added, “We think about it. We can imagine it.”
Madrid, undisputed kings in Europe, was humbled by the 1-1 draw of the first leg. Thibaut Courois’ heroics in goal could have made the score much worse for Madrid, the 14-time European champions.
City is unstoppable as it approaches the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.
Bernardo was a challenge for Madrid that they could not handle.
Madrid has fought its way back from the edge of the edge in various events for the past two seasons. However, this was an impossible test.
After defeating the European champions, City is favored to win the final on 10 June in Istanbul.
If they beat Chelsea on Sunday, they would win their third successive league championship and face Manchester United in the FA Cup Final.
United became the first English club to win all three major trophies in 1999.
Manchester can now match its previous success in dominating English football after surpassing their rival city.
Guardiola is aiming to win his third Champions League title as a manager, while City wants its first.
It can sometimes appear that a team who has won consistently in domestic competition is under too much stress to compete on Europe’s biggest stage. Guardiola has been in charge for seven years.
The quality of the city has never been in question, but its temperament during the Champions League was.
There are too many events. When the intensity was high, it missed the mark, losing to dark horses such as Monaco, Lyon and Tottenham.
In the two-legged semi-final against Madrid last year, it dominated almost the entire match. It still lost after losing a 2-goal advantage in the final minutes of the Santiago Bernabeu.
City has provided further evidence that they are finally ready to win the trophy that had eluded them. This never seemed likely.
Ancelotti said that Madrid had a special power to survive. He stated: “We played an opponent who deserved a win. They took risks and played with more intensity and quality up front.”
We were better last year, but they were better today. City won the first leg of last week in front its own fans, after Madrid had dominated for long periods.
Erling Haaland missed two header chances before Bernardo’s first goal. Courtois, however, saved them both.
In the 23rd, the home team scored. It seemed only a question of time before they did. The crowd cheered for each task of the City.
After Courtois denied Haaland twice, Bernardo sprinted on Kevin de Bruyne’s pass and shot at the near post.
Guardiola’s good feelings were undeniable, as was anyone else in the stadium. He walked to the group with clenched hands and pantomimed kissing the allies.
Madrid’s passive first 30 minutes ended with a goal from Toni Kroos, who scored 25 meters away.
The first goal was an admonition for City, and then minutes later the hosts praised Bernardo’s second strike in the 37th minute.
Ilkay Gundogan charged in the box. Bernardo, the first player to react after his shot was blocked and hit the rebound past Militao in the box, was the one who was first.
Haaland and Courtois faced off one-on-one at the 73rd-minute mark. His shot might have been the one that ended the match, but it was deflected on to the bar.
Militao turned De Bruyne’s free-kick in his own goal, ending City’s long drought of a third City goal.
Alvarez scored in the last minute. Add another goal to the celebrations that the crowd had already been having.
Guardiola has won the Champions League two times with Barcelona; he failed to win it twice with Bayern Munich and City.
It is his second defeat since winning against Chelsea in 2021, when he last won the opposition.
Bernardo said: “It is a wonderful night for us.”
We knew it was going to be hard. It was beautiful to beat this Madrid team at home 4-0. It was a great feeling to be at the bottom again and hopefully this time, we can win.