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Manchester City logo
Champions League | Final
Jun 10, 2023 at 8pm UK
Etihad Stadium
Inter logo
Man City
1 - 0
Inter Milan
Rodri (68')
Ederson (90+4'), Braut Haaland (90+2')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Barella (59'), Lukaku (83'), Onana (90+2'), Inzaghi (90+6')

Champions League: Reasons for Manchester City to be confident of beating Inter Milan

Sports Mole picks out three reasons for Manchester City to be confident of beating Inter Milan in Saturday's Champions League final in Istanbul.

Potentially only 90 minutes away from ending their miserable Champions League hoodoo, Manchester City pit their wits against Inter Milan in Saturday's final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul.

Pep Guardiola is yet to deliver a piece of continental silverware to the Etihad trophy case since taking the reins in Manchester, coming close but no cigar in 2021 with defeat to Chelsea in the showpiece match.

Two years later, City have put RB Leipzig, Bayern Munich and holders Real Madrid to the sword in the knockout stages to punch their ticket to a third European final, and the treble-chasing Citizens are undeniably the favourites to seal a terrific trident of trophies in Turkey.

Here, Sports Mole picks out three reasons for Man City to be confident of beating Inter and clinching a long-awaited Champions League crown.

Haaland-Grealish connection

Manchester City's Jack Grealish and Erling Braut Haaland celebrate after winning the Premier League on May 21, 2023© Reuters

Fans, players and pundits alike began to run out of superlatives to describe Erling Braut Haaland within just a few weeks of his arrival at the Etihad, and with good reason, as the Norwegian has been breaking records left, right and centre.

Taking no time at all to acclimatise to European football, Haaland already has a Premier League Golden Boot in the bag with an unprecedented 36 strikes in the 2022-23 top flight, while he has added another 12 to his name in the Champions League.

The Norwegian needs just one more goal to break the single-season record for an English team in the Champions League - set by Ruud van Nistelrooy for Manchester United in 2002-03 - and one of his creative colleagues will no doubt assist him, or look to assist him, in his endeavours.

Indeed, Jack Grealish - who has struck up an entertaining friendship with Haaland off the field - has come into his own as Guardiola's first-choice left-winger, and while he may only have one Champions League assist to his name, he has created a staggering 35 chances in Europe this season.

Since data became available in the 2003-04 season, no English player has fashioned as many opportunities for his teammates in a single Champions League season, while Grealish also leads the way in distance carried with the ball - totalling 3,208m - and not even a stingy Inter defence may be resilient enough to thwart City's dynamic duo.

European form

Kevin De Bruyne celebrates scoring for Manchester City on May 9, 2023© Reuters

Since their dramatic Bernabeu defeat in the second leg of last year's semi-finals, Man City have taken part in 12 Champions League affairs during the 2022-23 season, and they have avoided defeat in all 12 of them.

Visiting Borussia Dortmund's Westfalenstadion, Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena and Real Madrid's Bernabeu did not phase Guardiola's men, who also needed no second invitation to demolish the latter two sides at home, scoring 11 goals while keeping the back door shut to post two clean sheets.

Furthermore, a total of 30 goals in the 2022-23 Champions League is more than any other team - four better off than closest challengers Napoli and Real Madrid - and only two of those strikes have come from the penalty spot.

With midfield maestros Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Rodri - not to mention John Stones - also pulling the strings in the engine room, the Premier League champions have made the most progressive passes by quite some margin (607, 66 more than second-placed Bayern Munich), and despite Inter's often reliable method of hanging back and hitting teams on the break, Guardiola's side will no doubt carve out opportunities if given time and space on the ball.

Inter omens

Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez pictured on February 26, 2023© Reuters

Inter Milan's European history may be much richer than their Manchester counterparts, but the Nerazzurri are at risk of becoming the next victims of a particular Champions League pattern this week.

Simone Inzaghi's side faced a baptism of fire in the group stage against Bayern Munich, losing their first game of the tournament 2-0 to the German champions at San Siro before dusting themselves down and forcing their way into the knockout rounds.

However, in the tournament's current format, only three other teams have ever reached the Champions League final after suffering defeat in their opening match, and all three lost in the showpiece events.

Those outfits were AC Milan in 1994-95 (defeated by Ajax), Bayern Munich in 1998-99 (defeated by Manchester United), and Tottenham Hotspur in 2018-19 (defeated by Liverpool), and you have to go back to the days of the old-style European Cup in 1968-69 for the last time a team won the trophy after losing their first match, which was Inter's bitter rivals Milan.

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Manchester City's Erling Braut Haaland celebrates with the trophy after winning the Premier League on May 21, 2023
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Group A

4Man Utd51134

Group B


Group C

QReal Madrid550015
4Union Berlin50232

Group D

QReal Sociedad532011
QInter Milan532011

Group E


Group F

4AC Milan51225

Group G

QMan City550015
QRB Leipzig53029
3Young Boys51134
4Red Star50141

Group H


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