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After 10 years waiting for Pep Guardiola and thirteen years for City’s owners, the Champions League Final was finally offered to them. A golden opportunity that citizens have shown they are armed for.
When he bought the club in 2008, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nyan dreamed of one day seeing his team dominate Europe in football.
Double European champion on the bench in Barcelona in 2009 and 2011 but then missed the C1 final for ten years, until this season, Guardiola wanted to prove that he could also lead to the dedication of a team other than the one he shares DNA.
“People think it is easy to reach the Champions League final,” said the Catalan, who dismissed his previous failures with Bayern Munich and then City. “But reaching the final now confirms the validity of what we have done over the past four or five years.”
There is still a step to take, and it’s undeniably the loudest and definitely the most dangerous, because it’s a bright match: pass or break.
Of course, the opponent at the front would be a mountain, Real or Chelsea, and they both had already lifted the “cup with big ears”, even if it was 13 times for the first and only once for the second.
– Chelsea, the scarecrow? –
His Barcelona and excellent coaching record against Real – 11 wins and 4 draws in 19 games – can encourage Pep to have a slight preference for Madrid.
Last year, City also beat the Spaniards in the Round of 16 with a 2-1 win, becoming the first team to defeat coach Zinedine Zidane in Europe.
On the other hand, Chelsea have a real horror of City.
Victory at Stamford Bridge (3-1) in the league doesn’t really matter, because Frank Lampard was in charge and since then, the arrival of Thomas Tuchel changed the form of the team.
In their only encounter, the German won the best (1-0) in the FA Cup semi-final.
Ironically, the two teams meet on Saturday in the league, with City facing the challenge to verify their title, while the Blues are still chasing a place in the Champions League for next season, which will provide them either a place in the top four in. English Premier League … a victory in C1.
Chelsea are in any case one of the rare teams that are able to compete with City as well as on confidence – 15 wins, 6 draws and 2 defeats under Tuchel – in terms of tactical flexibility or a deciding factor in this period of the season: Physically. Freshness.
– “It’s not all about the money” –
Whatever happens, Guardiola will have three weeks to take everything into account before the May 29 final, and if this remarkable European campaign has taught – or confirmed – anything, it is that salvation will come from his strength.
On the European and English scene, it was defense above all that carried the citizens.
Unbeaten in C1 – 11 wins in a single draw – they scored just 4 goals and scored twice regularly around the clock for their opponents in every match since the start of the final.
On Tuesday evening, a brace by Riyad Mahrez, top scorer in the first leg, was on the blocks after he spent a good part of the match, especially in the first period, to play the back role in an unusually low position.
Guardiola confirmed that this was not, in fact, a tactical plan, but the circumstances of the match imposed this position on them.
Regardless, his team proved a fresh face of talent and was no longer hit by a Parisian blow after the 28th minute of the first half … of the first leg!
Suffice it to say it would be necessary to be terribly strong to prevent City from being crowned, which may seem inevitable to some, given the sums that have been committed since 2008.
Guardiola told them Tuesday night: “It’s not just about money. If you think about it, you are wrong.
© 2021 AFP