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Jubilant Man City overcome Inter to complete the treble

ISTANBUL — Manchester City finally expanded their domestic domination across the continent as they beat Inter Milan 1-0 with a second-half Rodri goal to win the Champions League for the first time and complete a rare treble on a nervous Saturday evening.

Pre-match talk of a stroll to European soccer’s most-cherished crown was off the mark, however, and it took a precise Rodri finish after 68 minutes to crack Inter’s resistance.

Even then City’s massed ranks had their heads in their hands as Inter threatened to drag a cagey final into extra time with goalkeeper Ederson making two superb late saves.

An eruption of joy greeted the final whistle with Man City’s players sprinting towards their fans in the Ataturk Stadium.

City not only won their first European trophy since claiming the now-defunct European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1970, they also became only the second English team to win a treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League, matching Manchester United’s sweep in 1999 when City were in the third tier.

Inter, bidding to lift the trophy for a fourth time, stifled Mr. Guardiola’s side with a superbly-executed display of traditional Italian catenaccio, especially in the first half in which City’s Kevin De Bruyne went off injured.

Even Man City’s Norwegian goal-machine Erling Haaland found himself shackled, but in the end Spanish midfielder Rodri, starting his 52nd game of the season, came to the rescue.

City have now won 17 trophies since the 2008 takeover, although there is a cloud on the horizon with the club faced with more than 100 charges of alleged breaches of Premier League financial regulations dating back to 2009.

On Saturday alongside the Bosphorous, that was the last thing City’s joyous fans cared about as they serenaded their side with club anthem Blue Moon a collection of hits by Oasis, whose brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher are staunch Manchester City fans.

In finally guiding City to the European Holy Grail after gut-wrenching near misses, Mr. Guardiola became the first manager to achieve two trebles in European football, having done the Spanish equivalent with Barcelona in 2009.

He has delivered 12 major trophies for City since 2016 and, with the Champions League jinx broken, any sense of inferiority they may have felt to established European royalty like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Liverpool has been swept away.

Mr. Haaland had an effort superbly saved by Andre Onana, but Mr. Guardiola fretted on the touchline — even more so when Mr. De Bruyne was forced off in the 36th minute.

City were sloppy at times with passes going astray, one of which by Manuel Akanji playing in Lautaro Martinez who selfishly failed to pick out substitute Romelu Lukaku.

Mr. Lukaku went even closer when his point-blank header was somehow kept out by Ederson’s shin and the Brazilian made another save from Francesco Acerbi.

It was City’s night, and the celebrations will be long and loud, while for Inter there was no repeat of their surprise 2010 win over Bayern Munich. — Reuters

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