The Champions League ended on a surprising note with a new victor in the form of Manchester City, bringing yet another English team into the prestigious fold of cup winners. The predominantly emotional final against Inter Milan took quite a heated turn during the last half and subsequently towards the end, when the fervent attacks of Inter Milan had the Citizens on edge. The Nerazzurri fans would engrave this onslaught into their memories forever, especially the missed opportunities: Lautaro faced Ederson one-on-one; Dimarco hit the crossbar; Lukaku’s substantial header; and lastly, the climactic corner-kick where the Brazilian goalkeeper miraculously saved the day. There were multiple instances that could have been game-changers, even though they were not as highlight-worthy.
Lautaro Martinez, nicknamed “El Toro”, had a lackluster performance. A few critics even labelled him as the worst player on the pitch. It became evident early in the game, about 15 minutes in, when Martinez attempted a challenging play on the edge of the field to prepare a shot, which he was unable to execute as he was blocked. This unsuccessful move dampened his spirits, leaving him mentally thwarted throughout the match.
Inter Milan’s player, Dumfries, also had his share of misses. Throughout the game, and even before Rodri’s clinching goal, the tactical structure of Manchester City showed signs of vulnerability. It was a clear indication of Inzaghi’s thorough preparations, understanding the weaknesses of the opposition to a tee. Unfortunately, Inter Milan found itself in numerous situations when a fast-paced equality number play could strike the English defenders. However, during the second half at a nil-nil stance, Dumfries presented a short cross during one of the many counter-attacks which could only have been executed with more precision. His indecision was prevalent even in the first half, where he had to swiftly manage a ball to turn it into a potential offense.
The entry of Mkhitaryan into the game was left too late. Only playing for 6 minutes, plus an additional 5 minutes during overtime, the spectators and potentially even Inzaghi might have regretted not incorporating the Armenian player earlier considering his experience, particularly given the rather subdued performance of Calhanoglu. Counter-factuals will remain, as Inter Milan digests its defeat to Manchester City in the Champions League final.