The two protagonists of the biggest football event of 2023 are set. Manchester City will square off against Internazionale of Milan in the UEFA Champions League finals on June 16 in the Atatürk Olympic Stadium, in Istanbul.
The match will be special for Argentine football fans, given that two of its stars will face off in arguably Europe’s most important sporting event: Julián Alvarez, from Manchester City, and Lautaro Martínez, from Inter, the two center forwards of La Scaloneta who will now have to compete for the final glory.
It was only halftime of the semi finals match yesterday between Manchester City and Real Madrid, but the feeling the British squad would punch its ticket to the final was already setting in.
They were up 2-0, displaying a thorough domination of el Madrid. They would score twice more in the second half, including a beautiful goal by Julian Álvarez, to set up the showdown with Inter, which had made its way to the final on Tuesday thanks to a goal by Lautaro Martínez.
Julián Álvarez displayed a killer instinct in yesterday’s match. He entered the game with only two minutes left in regulation time in place of Norwegian striker Erling Haaland, who hadn’t been able to score.
It took Álvarez all of 120 seconds to help recover the ball at halfcourt alongside teammate Phil Foden, sprint towards the penalty box and receive a pass from Foden to score the City’s fourth goal and seal the victory.
Manchester City beat Real Madrid 5-1 in the final aggregate score across the two matches between both teams.
Álvarez, known affectionately as La araña (The spider), will make history in Argentine football if he wins the UEFA Champions League. He would become the only player to ever win the South American Football Championship (Copa América, in Spanish) and the World Cup at the national level, as well as the Copa Libertadores de América and the Champions League at the club level.
This will be only the second time Manchester City will play the UEFA Champions League final, after making it there in the 2020-2021 season, where they lost against Chelsea.
Lautaro Martínez was also instrumental in assuring the victory of Inter against its traditional foe, Milan. Martínez, known as El toro (The bull), scored the only goal of the match 28 minutes into the second half, and gave his team its first UEFA Champions League finals berth in 13 years.
Inter beat Milan 3-0 in the final aggregate score across the two matches between both teams.
The last time Inter played the final match was in 2010, when they beat FC Bayern Munich 2-0 to win their third Champions League.