Manchester City win treble as Rodri fires superb winner against Inter Milan

Manchester City win treble as Rodri fires superb winner against Inter Milan

Rodri fired the winning goal as Manchester City finally claimed Champions League glory and completed the treble with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Inter Milan.

The midfielder rifled home in the 68th minute as the Premier League winners City wore down the Italians in a draining final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul on Saturday.

The contest was a tight one, with City suffering a serious blow in pursuit of the prize that has eluded them for so long when they lost Kevin De Bruyne to injury in the first half.

The prolific Erling Haaland was also kept quiet by a stubborn Inter side but Rodri eventually made the breakthrough with a firm strike after a Bernardo Silva pass was deflected into his path.

It capped a momentous season for City having also won the FA Cup as well as a fifth Premier League title in six years. Their success means they also join rivals Manchester United as the only side to have won all three of those trophies in the same season.

It meant mission accomplished for owner Sheikh Mansour, who was present in Istanbul at only his second match since purchasing the club in 2008 and subsequently propelling them to the game’s top table.

Manager Pep Guardiola could also celebrate Champions League success again 12 years after the second of his two wins as Barcelona boss.

City had gone into the match as strong favourites but Inter proved more than a match, setting out with a determination to soak up pressure.

Manchester City's coaching staff celebrate at full-time
Manchester City’s coaching staff celebrate at full-time (Martin Rickett/PA)

It made for a slow start and City lacked their usual sparkle.

That gave Inter confidence and Federico Dimarco sparked a threatening attack after seizing possession but Marcelo Brozovic’s shot was deflected wide.

Ederson also seemed nervous and misplaced a pass that handed Nicolo Barella a long-range sight of goal. Fortunately for the Brazilian, Barella’s effort was nowhere near the target.

Haaland had his first attempt after being played in by De Bruyne but Andre Onana blocked his first-time shot.

De Bruyne tried his luck himself from distance but his effort lacked power and his final was, once again, to end in frustration soon after.

The Belgian went down clutching his hamstring 10 minutes before the interval and, despite attempts to run off the problem, was forced to admit defeat soon after and was replaced by Phil Foden.

It meant further Champions League final woe for De Bruyne after he left the field with a facial injury during City’s loss to Chelsea two years ago.

Kevin De Bruyne sits injured on the pitch before being substituted
Kevin De Bruyne sits injured on the pitch before being substituted (Mike Egerton/PA)

The opening stages of the second half followed a similar pattern but Inter eventually started to assert themselves more and they began to look dangerous.

City had a let-off just before the hour when Manuel Akanji reacted slowly to a Silva pass and Lautaro Martinez charged into the box. Former Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku was well placed in the centre but Martinez opted to shoot and Ederson smothered his effort.

City made the most of that reprieve and took the lead moments after a John Stones cross was deflected close to his own goal by Alessandro Bastoni.

Akanji played the key pass as he picked out Silva and his cutback eventually fell to Rodri, who thumped the ball into the net from the edge of the area.

City fans greeted the strike with a mixture of celebration and relief but they were given a scare minutes later when Dimarco hit the bar with a looping header and then headed against Lukaku on the rebound.

Foden had a chance to put City in firm control when he burst through a gap into the area but Onana got down well to save.

City survived a late scare when a Lukaku header hit Ederson’s legs and was put behind by Ruben Dias and the final whistle was greeted by jubilant celebrations.