By Alex Al-Kazzaz
What started with 32 is now down to 2. The 2022-23 UEFA Champions League history-making final is set with Inter Milan vs Manchester City. Both clubs will head to Istanbul with a history making purpose; Inter Milan is determined to win the tournament for the first time since 2010, while Manchester City wants to win it for the first time.
Manchester City has been favored to win the tournament since even before it all started. On the other hand, Inter Milan established itself as the tournament's top dark horse. On the way to the final, Manchester City eliminated tournament favorites Bayern Munich and defending champions Real Madrid. Inter Milan made their way with impressive results, especially in the semifinals, a Milan Derby.
Manchester City is the overwhelming favorite in the final. The club has fully solidified itself as a powerhouse capable of excelling both on the attack as well as on defense. Striker Erling Haaland's currently the top scorer with 12 goals. Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne's seven assists put him at the tournament's best at the moment. They easily won their group and powered their way through the knockout stage. Manchester City beating Real Madrid 5-1 on aggregate shows that the club is not only for real but stronger than ever.
Inter Milan's path to the final was nowhere near as challenging as Manchester City's. However, it was not easy by any means. Inter Milan's defense in the semifinals was rock solid. Goalie André Onana's 45 saves are the most in the tournament. In addition, Onana's eight clean sheets are also the most in the tournament. Inter Milan's ability to defend well speaks for itself, but they will have their hands full dealing with a brutal Manchester City attack.
Here are the main strategies for both clubs in the final; For Manchester City, attack, attack, ATTACK. For Inter Milan, defense, defense, DEFENSE. Manchester City needs to get on the scoreboard in a hurry, and they need to add to it. Inter Milan needs to find a way to contain miraculously and eventually shut down the opposing attack. Haaland & company will not let up in any way, so Inter Milan's defense cannot afford to slow down at any point. And while Inter Milan's defense keeps Manchester City's attack contained their own offense will need to power through Manchester City's solid defense and put the ball into the back of the net.
Overall, if Inter Milan can prevent Manchester City from scoring, then they have to do what their opponent can't; SCORE GOALS! However, Manchester City is going to be adamant about not letting Inter Milan take control of the game by any means necessary, as they want the UCL title more than anything.
Photo Credit: Alex Al-Kazzaz