Manchester City have become the second English team to ever win the Treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League, matching the feat achieved by fierce rivals and neighbours Manchester United.
A 68th minute Rodri goal was enough to see off Inter Milan in the Champions League Final, at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul.
It wasn’t easy or pretty and they were indebted to two great saves from Ederson, one from a Romelu Lukaku header that looked harder to miss, but they dug in and held out for an historic victory.
It was City’s first ever Champions League success coming two seasons after a heartbreaking defeat against Chelsea in 2021. It follows them clinching the Premier League title after a relentless pursuit of Arsenal, and then seeing off Manchester United 7 days ago at Wembley Stadium, to lift the FA Cup.
They join a select band of now eight clubs to win the treble of domestic league and cup, plus the European Cup/Champions League. The others being Celtic in 1967, Ajax in 1972, PSV in 1988, Manchester United in 1999, Barcelona – twice in 2009 and 2015), Inter Milan in 2010, and Bayern Munich also twice in 2013 and 2020.
Before the game most pundits and tipsters were predicting a straightforward job for City and there certainly was a confident air about them in the build up. Even their owner Sheikh Mansour was in attendance in Istanbul, incredibly seeing his team for only the second time since he led the takeover, all the way back in 2008.
Inter however were not about to roll over, and arrived with the pedigree of being a three-time European champion.
Early injury blow
An early effort from Bernado Silva could have settled any nerves, but it narrowly missed the top corner and from then on, with Inter pressing and closing down at every opportunity, City found it difficult to make any inroads.
They were then dealt a blow when Kevin de Bruyne was forced off with a hamstring injury to be replaced by Phil Foden. It was a repeat of the heartache he suffered in his previous Champions League final appearance when he also had to go off injured early in the game.
Good chance for Inter
It was goalless at the break and shortly after Romelu Lukaku was introduced early in the second half, Inter had a golden chance to take the lead.
Manuel Akanji left the ball for Ederson, but the keeper had misunderstood his defenders intentions and it saw Lautaro Martinez through on goal; but the Brazilian stopper rescued the situation for his team with a good block, although the forward probably went for the wrong option.
Classy finish gives City the lead
It was a big miss which was emphasised a short time after when City took the lead. Foden kept the ball well and found Akanji who picked out the run of Silva with a slick pass. He then pulled the ball back and a few hands went up appealing for a penalty as it looked as if the cross could have struck an Inter hand.
However, they were soon forgotten when the ball dropped nicely for Rodri just inside the box and he coolly stoked the ball into the net, bending it around two defenders with the keeper unsighted and flat-footed.
The stadium erupted and City finally had their break through. They were around 20 minutes from history, but within minutes Inter should have been level. Federico Dimarco headed against the crossbar and from the rebound his second effort was goal bound, but it hit Lukaku and City were able to clear. It was a massive let off and another one followed as the clock ticked towards the end of the game.
This time it was an astonishing miss by Lukaku who was just four yards out with half the goal empty, but he headed it straight at Ederson’s knee and Ruben Diaz, did brilliantly to clear it away.
Final whistle and dreamland for City
With five minutes of injury time up, Inter had one last corner and Ederson produced a magnificent save to keep out a bullet header and seconds later the final whistle blew and City had done it.
The player sunk to their knees, there were tears of joy and scenes of absolute delight on the pitch and in the stands. After threatening to win the trophy for a number of seasons, they had finally done it and all the emotions came pouring out.
Captain Ilkay Gundogan whose goals secured the FA Cup seven days ago lifted the cup to an explosion of noise and fireworks and said afterwards that it was hard to put in words how he felt.
He had a go though and said: “Today we made history; it was difficult for both teams. We weren’t at our best in the first half, we were hesitating and we knew we had to do better in the second. We knew everyone was talking about the Treble, so the pressure was there, but this team is built to handle the pressure in the best possible way.”
Boss Pep Guardiola was naturally delighted and was generous in his praise of the opponents. “They are really good, so I had to tell them at half-time to be patient. We had to be lucky and it was written in the stars. It belongs to us,” he happily said after the game.
Manchester waits to welcome back their heroes
The team will celebrate well into the night, before returning to Manchester in time for an open-top bus parade through the city on Monday, showing of all three trophies from this historic treble winning season.