Manchester City are inevitable.
Pep Guardiola’s charges rollicked past Real Madrid on Wednesday, winning the second leg of their Champions League semifinal 4-0 and taking the overall tie on aggregate, 5-1.
So, it’s a matchup with Inter Milan in the final for the Premier League dynamos. Below, we’ll break down the day’s winners and losers.
Winner: Bernardo Silva
Bernardo Silva almost singlehandedly put this tie away in the first 45 minutes, scoring a pair of beautiful goals that left Los Blancos stunned.
It was all City would need, although it was only half of what they would get.
And once Silva struck his brace, it seemed impossible Real Madrid would get close to City in the second half, and they didn’t.
Loser: Real Madrid’s Defense
There’s no nice way to say it: Manchester City’s attack absolutely decimated Real Madrid’s defense in the second leg.
From start to finish, it was nothing short of sky-blue dominance:
“City were far better than us, congrats to them,” Dani Carvajal told reporters after the match. “We will come back stronger and work to be in another final soon.”
And it could have been worse, were it not for the heroics of Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who stymied Erling Haaland on three separate occasions:
This was utter domination from City. They outshot Real Madrid 16-7 (8-3 on goal). They held 60 percent of possession and had seven corners to just three for Los Blancos. On every level, they controlled this game.
The defense, in particular, was carved to shreds. Real Madrid have been stingy against opponents in past roads to glory, but the proverbial dam broke on Wednesday.
Winner: Pep Guardiola
Guardiola is one of the most decorated and respected managers around, but for all of the talented squads he’s overseen and domestic success he’s had, European glory has eluded him since winning the competition twice with Lionel Messi and Barcelona.
This season, though, it appears the silverware will be his once more.
Yes, Manchester City have the most talented squad money can buy. The talent on the pitch is almost suffocating for opponents. Haaland is the most prolific goal-scorer in the world, while
Kevin De Bruyne might be the most complete midfielder in the game.
The club has so much depth that Phil Foden—a star in his own right—came off the bench Wednesday.
But City have been talented in the past and never tasted European glory. Finally, barring a shocking upset at the hands of Inter, it appears Guardiola will end that drought and once again win a UCL title outside of Barcelona.
Loser: Real Madrid’s UCL Run of Dominance
Real Madrid have won five European titles in the past 10 seasons, an astonishing run. But Wednesday felt like a spiritual end to that dominance.
It wasn’t just that City’s extravagantly expensive operation dominated them on the pitch, but it’s also that a core group of Karim Benzema (35), Toni Kroos (33), Luka Modrić (37) and to a lesser extent Courtois (31) isn’t exactly getting younger.
Real Madrid have the resources and appeal to retool around a new generation of players. Their well-documented pursuit of Kylian Mbappé surely isn’t finished.
However, it feels like the current core may have finally run its course.