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Manchester City 1 – 0 Inter Milan

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Manchester City 1 - 0 Inter Milan

Manchester City 1 – 0 Inter Milan #UCLfinal. Manchester City’s long quest to win the Champions League finally ended in triumph against Inter Milan in Istanbul as Pep Guardiola’s side completed the Treble.

After winning the Premier League and FA Cup, City emulated Manchester United’s triple trophy haul in 1999 as they became only the second English club to achieve the feat after Rodri’s crisp 68th-minute strike settled an attritional final.

Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering side were never at their best against a brilliantly organised Inter and had to cope with the loss of Kevin De Bruyne to injury in the first half.

But the massed ranks of City fans inside Ataturk Stadium did not care about that as they joyously celebrated the greatest night – and season – in the club’s history.

And for Guardiola, it seals his status as one of the managerial greats as he added a third Champions League to the two he won at Barcelona, the last coming in 2011.

This was never the walkover many predicted and City had to survive a few scares when Federico Dimarco’s header bounced off the bar and Ederson made a stunning late save to deny Romelu Lukaku but ultimately this was all about the victory.

Now Guardiola and his players can take their place in history.

The Champions League has brought suffering to City and Pep Guardiola – especially when they lost to Premier League rivals Chelsea in the 2021 final – but all the pain disappeared just before midnight on a sultry night in Istanbul.

City survived late anxiety, especially when Inter substitute Lukaku headed straight at Ederson with the goal at his mercy, but there was an explosion of joy on the pitch and in the stands at Ataturk Stadium as they finally secured the giant trophy that has remained so elusively beyond their grasp for so long.

Guardiola admitted, whether it was fair or not, that his time at Manchester City would be judged on whether he was able to bring the Champions League to the club. Now that judgement can be made.

The Catalan, who won the Champions League with Barcelona in 2009 and 2011, will now be an iconic figure at City as well as Barcelona.

It is a simple fact that many outside the Abu Dhabi-owned club will always view their triumph through the prism of the charges of 115 financial breaches brought against them by the Premier League, charges they fiercely deny.

For City’s owners, with Sheikh Mansour attending only his second game since taking control in 2008, this was the night they have planned for and the one when they finally claimed that holy grail.

This was a night when only the result mattered to City, not the manner in which their greatest victory was achieved.

This was not a win secured with the dazzling style and creation that is usually their hallmark. In fact for long periods it was a scrappy, sloppy performance in the face of a well-drilled Inter side who were right in this Champions League Final until the whistle went.

None of that will matter now. All that will be recalled forever about this game by City’s fans was the moment when Rodri arrived on the end of build-up play from Manuel Akanji and Bernardo Silva to send that precise right-foot finish away from the reach of Inter’s outstanding keeper Andre Onana.

And of course the triumphant Champions League trophy lift.

City lived dangerously in the closing minutes and, when it was all over, Guardiola, so agitated in his technical area, was relatively calm as he sought out opposite number Simone Inzaghi for consoling words.

John Stones was once again outstanding for City while keeper Ederson made key contributions when required.

The celebrations at the final whistle reflected a magnificent season as City finally got their hands on the Champions League trophy and prepared to parade it around the streets of Manchester along with the Premier League and FA Cup on Monday.

source – BBC

English Premier League

Luton Town 1-2 Manchester United

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Luton Town 1-2 Manchester United

Luton Town 1-2 Manchester United. Rasmus Hojlund scored for the sixth successive Premier League game as Manchester United survived a Luton Town display of fierce determination to stay in contention for the top four with victory at Kenilworth Road.

United’s £72m summer signing from Atalanta has hit a red-hot streak after early struggles in front of goal and scored twice in the first seven minutes to set up a fourth successive league win for Erik ten Hag’s side.

The 21-year-old pounced on Amari’i Bell’s error after only 37 seconds to round keeper Thomas Kaminski and score, adding a second in the seventh minute, instinctively diverting Alejandro Garnacho’s shot into the net.

Luton Town, in an uproarious atmosphere, responded with defiance and character, Carlton Morris swiftly giving the Hatters hope with a header as United struggled to cope with the intensity of the home side, especially in the opening half.

United lost defender Luke Shaw to injury before the interval, while Harry Maguire and Casemiro also went off at the break, but for all Luton’s second-half endeavour it was the visitors who created the better chances, Kaminski denying Garnacho, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, and a Hojlund hat-trick.

However, there was one more nervous moment for the visitors in stoppage time when Ross Barkley’s glancing header clipped the top of the crossbar.

The win means United are now only five points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa.

United needed leaders to see them through an encounter that became an ordeal for long spells, especially in the opening half, and they emerged from unlikely sources as another important three points were secured.

While experienced players such as Casemiro, so lucky to avoid a second yellow card, Maguire and Raphael Varane struggled and were exposed by the sheer energy of Luton’s approach, it was match-winner Hojlund and outstanding 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo who stepped up.

Hojlund has really come to the fore in recent weeks, now getting the goals all his hard work – even early in the season when they were in short supply – deserve, his first a composed piece of work and his second quick thinking as United established early control.

The Denmark forward showed commendable hold-up play, a willingness to engage in the physical exchanges with Luton’s defence, and was only denied a treble by Kaminski’s block before he departed to a standing ovation from United’s away support.

Mainoo, meanwhile, rose above the blood and thunder with rare composure for one so young. United have a gem on their hands.

The visitors improved after the break and even though Luton pressed, they were the more dangerous side, Kaminski and Albert Sambi Lokonga denying Rashford before a combination of the goalkeeper and Bell thwarted Garnacho.

In the end, Hojlund’s early goals were enough as United extended their winning run.

Luton lost another home game to one of the Premier League’s big guns but once again more illustrious visitors to Kenilworth Road were made to fight every inch of the way.

United joined Manchester City and Arsenal in chalking up a narrow wins while Liverpool were held to a draw – and it is no surprise when Luton’s approach in this wonderfully hostile environment is taken into account.

The Hatters could have been forgiven for thinking their day was done when they conceded two goals in only seven minutes but, galvanised by the home support, Rob Edwards’ side responded superbly and were right back in it after Morris’ goal.

The reborn Barkley prompted from midfield with confidence while Lokonga was one of the game’s outstanding performers.

Luton faded after the break but showed enough to suggest they can make a real fight of things before the relegation places are decided, the standing ovation at the final whistle merited for their efforts.

Barkley almost snatched a point when his header glanced off the bar in the closing seconds but it was not to be for battling Luton.

source – BBC

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English Premier League

Sheffield United 0-5 Brighton

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Sheffield United 0-5 Brighton

Sheffield United 0-5 Brighton. Brighton thrashed 10-man Sheffield United, who stayed bottom of the Premier League and conceded five goals at home for the third consecutive game.

The game swung in the 12th minute when United’s Mason Holgate caught Kaoru Mitoma in midfield with a horrific challenge just below the knee.

The Everton loanee was shown a yellow card, but the decision was upgraded to a red after intervention from the video assistant referee (VAR).

Against 10 men, Brighton attacked at will, taking the lead through Facundo Buonanotte, who bundled in a corner.

Danny Welbeck doubled the advantage, firing in a rebound after keeper Wes Foderingham denied Mitoma.

The hosts thought they had pulled a goal back just before the break through Ben Osborn, but his hooked volley has ruled out for offside.

Brighton got a deserved third midway through the second half when United defender Jack Robinson diverted Mitoma’s cross into his own net.

Simon Adingra added two late goals, burying Pascal Gross’ cutback and benefiting from a looping deflection.

Sunday’s victory was only Brighton’s second in the league in 2024, although they have won twice in the FA Cup, including a 5-2 triumph over United at Bramall Lane in the fourth round.

Even before Holgate’s sending-off Roberto de Zerbi’s side were routinely carving forward.

Adingra, back from winning the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast, had a cross deflected off Anel Ahmedhodzic and narrowly kept out by a diving Foderingham.

At 2-0, Yasser Larouci twice cleared off the line for United, denying Mitoma and Gross from close range. Foderingham also smartly kept out Welbeck and Mitoma either side of half-time.

Brighton’s win is their biggest away from home in the top flight, and they have scored four or more goals seven times in all competitions this season.

Seventh-placed Brighton face teams from the bottom half of the table in their next five games.

They host Everton on Saturday, a game De Zerbi will expect to win.

source – BBC

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English Premier League

Manchester City 1-1 Chelsea

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Manchester City 1-1 Chelsea

Manchester City 1-1 Chelsea. Rodri dramatically rescued a point with a late leveller for Manchester City to deny Chelsea victory and maintain his side’s long unbeaten home record.

City still lost ground in the title race after seeing Liverpool and Arsenal both post emphatic wins earlier on Saturday, but this has to go down as a point gained given how close they came to defeat.

Raheem Sterling had given Chelsea the lead just before half-time, finishing off a brilliant counter-attack by meeting Nicolas Jackson’s cross, cutting inside Kyle Walker and curling his shot home.

The visitors looked threatening on the break all game, with Jackson earlier spurning an even better chance from Malo Gusto’s cross when a heavy touch allowed Ederson to smother his shot, and City’s keeper also denied Sterling a second from point-blank range.

City were racking up the chances too, but seemed unable to take any of them, or even seriously test Chelsea goalkeeper Dorde Petrovic despite piling on the pressure in the second half.

Erling Haaland was the main culprit, with his worst miss coming when he somehow headed wide from a delicious Kevin de Bruyne cross.

The defending champions were facing their first home league defeat since November 2022, until Rodri struck with seven minutes to go.

After Walker’s shot was deflected into his path on the edge of the box, Rodri fired in a ferocious first-time strike that was going in anyway but took a touch off Chelsea substitute Trevoh Chalobah on its way into the net.

The draw sees City drop to third in the table, four points behind leaders Liverpool but with a game in hand – they can close the gap, and leapfrog second-placed Arsenal, if they beat Brentford here on Tuesday.

Chelsea, who were minutes away from a third successive away win, stay 10th, but head to Wembley for next weekend’s Carabao Cup final on the back of one of their best displays of an erratic campaign.

source – BBC

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