Soccer

Manchester City’s path to Champions League final: How the club reached Europe’s biggest stage for first time

Manchester City could be just 90 minutes away from the ultimate accomplishment in European club soccer — winning the UEFA Champions League. The Cityzens face fellow English club Chelsea on Saturday in Porto in the final, which you can watch on CBS and Paramount+. City’s path to their first UCL final has been with dominant displays and a revamped defense, the latter led by Ruben Dias. 

A project years in the making could be on the verge of achieving its biggest goal, with manager Pep Guardiola looking to win the competition with his second club after doing it twice with Barcelona. 

But how exactly did City get to this point? Here’s a recap on their path to the final this season.

Qualification

City qualified for the Champions League this current season as a result of finishing in second place in the Premier League last season behind Liverpool.

Draw

City were drawn into a comfortable Group C alongside Porto, Olympiacos and Marseille. The English club was the clear favorite to win the group.

Group stage results

  • Matchday 1 – Man City 3, Porto 1
  • Matchday 2 – Man City 3, Marseille 0
  • Matchday 3 – Man City 3, Olympiacos 0
  • Matchday 4 – Man City 1, Olympiacos 0
  • Matchday 5 – Man City 0, Porto 0
  • Matchday 6 – Man City 3, Marseille 0

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Round of 16 results

First leg: Man City 2, Borussia Monchengladbach 0

City went on the road for the first leg and pretty much had the tie over by the end of this game. A convincing 2-0 win on the road put more than a foot into the round of 16 thanks to goals from Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus. Gladbach recorded just three total shots and one on frame.

Second leg: Man City 2, Borussia Monchengladbach 0

The cake walk continued in the second leg in a match that was held in Budapest, Hungary due to travel restrictions in England. Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan both scored in the opening 20 minutes to blow the doors off the tie.

Quarterfinal results

First leg: Man City 2, Dortmund 1

A tricky draw against a youthful, talented and dangerous attack, City got on the front foot 19 minutes in with a goal from Kevin De Bruyne, only to then concede six minutes from time. But this goal in the 90th minute from young star Phil Foden would give them the advantage ahead of the trip to Germany.

Second leg: Man City 2, Dortmund 1

Knowing a 1-0 loss would do them in, City knew they were probably going to have to score. They knew they definitely would have to following Jude Bellingham’s goal 15 minutes in. A penalty from Riyad Mahrez ended up being the difference. 

Semifinal results

First leg: Man City 2, PSG 1

A tasty, talent-rich semifinal against PSG got off to a flying start with the first leg. Despite Marquinhos putting PSG on the board with an early header, City bounced back with two goals, albeit lucky ones, to earn an impressive 2-1 win on the road. Kevin de Bruyne’s ball into the box somehow found its way in before Riyad Mahrez took advantage of poor set-piece defending by PSG on the second.

Second leg: Man City 2, PSG 0

The job was not yet done, with City needing just a draw to ensure going through. They could have even lost 1-0 and advanced. But with Kylian Mbappe failing to play due to an injury, City took advantage and held PSG to nothing, while getting two more goals from Mahrez.

An Angel Di Maria red card in the 69th minute was the final straw for the Parisians, who just couldn’t break down a City defense that long has been their Achilles’ heel.



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