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Dream comes true for Guardiola as City seize their treble

Manchester City finally fulfilled what manager Pep Guardiola described as his “dream” and “obsession” on securing the treble by adding the UEFA Champions League trophy to the Premier League title and FA Cup.

City are the eighth team to win the triple after Celtic (1967), Ajax (1972), PSV (1988), Manchester United (1999), Barcelona (2009, 2015), Inter (2010), Bayern (2013, 2020).

A 67th-minute goal from midfield anchor Rodri provided a 1-0 victory over a combative Internazionale in the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul. Goalkeeper Ederson also played a key role with a dramatic late stop from Romelu Lukaku as City followed up perfectly on the knockout defeats of old kings Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

Guardiola thus became the first manager to win a treble twice after having achieved similar with Barcelona. Victory made some sort of amends for City’s defeat by Chelsea in the 2021 final. To do so meant overcoming the first-half loss to injury of playmaker Kevin de Bruyne.

Success rewarded the multi-million-pound investment of City’s Abu Dhabi owners since their purchase of the club in 2008. Set aside, for the celebratory moment, were the 115 Premier League charges of financial regulations breaches which the club vehemently refute.

Internazionale made City’s task far more difficult than most neutral observers had expected. They had their chances before completing an unfortunate Italian treble after final defeats in the past two weeks for Roma in the Europa League and Fiorentina in the Conference League.

Disappointed coach Simone Inzaghi said: “I congratulated my players. They were great and played a great game. I wouldn’t trade these players for anyone and today the whole world saw why. We conceded little against a very strong team. We have many regrets, but we must be proud of what we did.”

City made a positive start with Bernardo Silva screwing the ball across the face of goal yet City could not follow up and Inter fashioned half-chances for Marcelo Brozovic and Nicolo Barella. Keeper Andre Onana saved well from the prolific Erling Haaland to ensure the first half ended goalless.

Inter were pressed back in the early stages of the second half but might have opened the scoring after a mix-up between Manuel Akankji and Ederson freed Lautaro Martinez on the left. Keeper Ederson blocked the Argentinian World Cup-winner’s attempted cross and City capitalised by taking the lead through Rodri.

More chances were missed at both ends. Federico Dimarco headed against the City bar and Phil Foden was denied by Onana. In the 88th minute Lukaku thought his goal-bound header was about to level the scores until Ederson jabbed out a leg and the ball ricocheted to safety off his left knee.

Destiny was calling.

Guardiola, relaxed and happy at last, said: “You have to be lucky. It was written in the stars. We weren’t at our best level.

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