Pep Guardiola was left gobsmacked by Manchester City’s 4-0 hammering of Real Madrid in the Championship League semi-final second leg, while TV pundits Michael Owen and Joleon Lescott were in complete awe of the performance on a memorable night at The Etihad.
City have lost two previous semi-finals to Real but they made no mistake at a joyous Etihad Stadium to now stand one step away from claiming the trophy that has always stayed agonisingly out of reach for Guardiola’s team.
And their display in a magical first half, in particular, will live long in the memory as the masters of this tournament were left bewildered by City’s brilliance.
In a thrilling contest, Bernardo Silva scored twice, while an own goal from Eder Militao and a late Julian Alvarez strike sealed a famus City win.
They will now face Inter in the final on June 10, with an incredible treble still on the cards.
And speaking after the game, Guardiola said: “At home we feel incredibly comfortable with our people. I had the feeling we had one year of pain in our stomach. What happened last season, today went out.
“It was so painful last season, when people said these players lacked character and in one year we’ve shown again how special this group of players is.
“I say congratulations to all our organisation, our chairman, our owner, until the last person because they work with a real purpose and we are there!
“When you reach the Champions League final, you have to celebrate but unfortunately we won’t have time because on Sunday we have the chance to win the Premier League.”
And Owen was left astonished by the quality of the City display, telling BT Sport: “Manchester City are totally different class from anything on this planet at the moment. They absolutely ripped Real Madrid apart. That first-half performance was as good as I can remember.
“They killed them straight away, broke their hearts and the game was all over at half-time. It was very professional in the second half, the damage was already done.
“That was sensational. They have been sensational for the last couple of months. Everybody is fit in their squad, everybody is playing at their top level and they’ve got a manager who is an absolute genius. I can only see this team winning all three trophies.”
Former City defender Lescott added: “Tonight you saw a team that were playing to get to get their first Champions League title verus a team who were relying on their history in the competition. Manchester City took their chance devastatingly”
Silva savours special City night
Two-goal hero Bernardo Silva also reflected on an incredible night for the club, telling BT Sport: “It is a beautiful night for us. We know it would be tough but to beat this Real Madrid team 4-0 at home was wonderful. Hopefully we will win it.
“We know how tough they are. They pushed us but we were very resiliant, we were passionate but organised at the time.
Bernardo Silva makes the breakthrough!! 🤩
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 17, 2023
“My performance in the first game in Madrid was not the one I wanted and I wanted to compensate that. Today I had to do better for my team-mates and the fans and that is what I tried to do.
“I am small but good with my head!”
On their final opponents Inter Milan, he added: “I watched their games, they look very strong and organised defensively. It will be tough but we will try it.
“The Premier League is another trophy we want to win with our fans again so will look to recover before then.”
City are back in action on Sunday when they host Chelsea in the Premier League knowing that a win will seal them the title.