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Guardiola is a legend


Highlights: Rodri scored the winning goal for Manchester City in the Champions League final in Istanbul. The goal was the most important in the history of the most modest club in Manchester: 1-0. The message implicit in the ball fell like a blanket over the 70,000 spectators: patience, the Italians and their disciples, nobody wins. Pep Guardiola called for "patience" on Tuesday and claimed it on Saturday. The calm, the pause, thus demanded, can lead to confusion in templates accustomed to living on the ledge.

The City manager finishes his second team of time, the never seen. "I don't believe it, I had a horrible first half," says Rodri, who scored the winning goal.


A deep run from Bernardo Silva broke the monotony in City's attack, midway through the second half of a game thick as jelly. Akanji gave him the pass and the Portuguese went behind for Rodri to score the most important goal in the history of the most modest club in Manchester: 1-0. The charge of dynamite that knocked down the cursed wall and allowed Guardiola to conquer his first Champions League away from Barça, his 35th title in 15 seasons and, probably, the most suffered. The one that made him cross the threshold that no coach has crossed: building two legendary teams in two countries.

MNCM. City


Ederson Moraes, Manuel Akanji, Aké, Rúben Dias, Rodrigo, Gündogan, De Bruyne (Foden, min. 36), John Stones (Walker, min. 82), Erling Braut Haaland, Grealish and Bernardo Silva

INT Inter


Andre Onana, Darmian (D'Ambrosio, min. 84), Alessandro Bastoni (Robin Gosens, min. 75), Acerbi, Barella, Denzel Dumfries (Raoul Bellanova, min. 76), Brozovic, Calhanoglu (Mkhitaryan, min. 84), Dimarco, Dzeko (Lukaku, min. 56) and Lautaro Martínez

Goals 1-0 min. 68: Rodrigo.

Arbitrator Szymon Marciniak

Yellow cards Barella (min. 58), Lukaku (min. 83), Erling Braut Haaland (min. 91), Andre Onana (min. 92), Ederson Moraes (min. 93) and Inzaghi (min. 96)

"I don't believe it," Rodri said at the end. "I was horrible in the first half, but the coach encouraged me and told me to act like a leader. Scoring a goal in the Champions League final shows that any kid who works hard can be here. I had in mind to hit the ball hard but in the end I said: 'Put it on'.

Pep Guardiola called for "patience". He asked for it on Tuesday and claimed it on Saturday. As if the greatest of Confucian virtues concentrated in itself the panacea of the problems presented by the competition, the coach instilled it in his players throughout the preparation of the final. But the match started, and the first thing that happened was disconcerting. André Onana received a ball from his midfielders, and as they pressured him he burst it sending it to the side stand of the Atatürk stadium. The ball flew through the cloud of kerosene and sulfur that covered the field after the ceremony that had preceded the match. The message implicit in the ball fell like a blanket over the 70,000 spectators: patience, the Italians and their disciples, nobody wins.

Guardiola built City by recruiting in the market the most unbridled, aggressive and vertical players within his reach. They are masters in the art of moving the ball at breakneck speed and he feeds that fury with selflessness. Until the decisive matches arrive. Duels like the one at the Bernabéu in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals, matches like the Cup final against United, or matches like the final played in Istanbul. Then the technician begins to modulate the speech. Where before he asked for pressure, rhythm and quick clearances to leave her face and run into space, now he asked for caution. Patience, in the subliminal language of the dressing room, means beware of risky passes, lest the ball fall into the hands of the opponent and provoke a lethal counterattack. The calm, the pause, thus demanded, can lead to confusion in templates accustomed to living on the ledge. It is not clear that City perceived this. What Guardiola will not be able to reproach them for is that they behaved boldly. Obedient without fissures, they were seen to assume very few responsibilities that exceeded the plan of prudence established by their leader. As Inter did not have any hurry, the night passed without registering anything other than exhibitions of order, rigor and security, dotted with some punctual error that Guardiola somatized by shouting alarm.

Istanbul was not a strange city for Italian fans, but in the English, who arrived much later at the stadium, it printed a kind of anesthesia. Naive, at best, sang Hey Jude under their breath. The football broadcast by their team only inspired patience. Emotions, few.

Acerbi, Çalhanoglu, Brozovic, Darmian and Dzeko are over 30 years old or far beyond them. The opponent's leisurely pace of circulation gave them oxygen. The long match suited them. Every minute that passed with 0-0 on the scoreboard increased his confidence. The final, a priori one of the most unequal finals in history, was sold out amazingly even. City and Inter shared chances and arrivals of danger equally, when on the edge of the 70th minute, a raid by Rodri – illuminated by the great Bernardo Silva – tilted the final on the English side.

The 1-0 was a nail. A minuscule grip on the endless wall. Never has a Guardiola team finished such a tight match against a more limited opponent. With his Dzeko, with his Lautaro, with his Lukaku, with his Dimarco, Inzaghi's team ended up putting him in his area, protected by the posts or clearing shots in desperation. Fourteen shots were made by Inter, the most catenacciaro team in Italy's top 5, by seven by City. An anomaly. A case of extreme risk induced by excessive patience, resolved with fortune in favor of Manchester City in Guardiola's 101st victory in the Champions League. Only Ancelotti (191) and Ferguson (190) surpass him. He is a living legend of football.

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Source: elparis

All sports articles on 2023-06-10

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