Could Istanbul host another iconic night in the UCL final?

Istanbul’s Ataturk Stadium is set to host the UEFA Champions League final for the just the second time this season. In 2005, it hosted arguably the most extraordinary final of all time between Liverpool and AC Milan. There could be more drama this time, and history will certainly be made in the Turkish city.

The stadium was the venue for a footballing miracle in its first showpiece event as Rafael Benitez’s Liverpool earned their crowning moment in 2005.

This year Manchester City are looking to ensure that the Ataturk Stadium hosts the greatest night in their history. Istanbul has played a significant role in the history of one English club. Perhaps the 2022/23 UCL final could offer consecutive English successes in the Ataturk.

City are huge favourites

Pep Guardiola’s City side are huge favourites to secure their maiden European success in Istanbul. In football bets, they are odds on at 4/6 to lift the trophy in Turkey. Rafael Benitez’s Liverpool enjoyed their most iconic night at the venue 18 years ago. Now another Spanish coach in charge of an English club could lead his team to the most iconic night in their club’s history.

City has consistently broken records throughout Guardiola’s tenure, but the UCL title is the one accolade that evades his star-studded team. Based on the last final it hosted, the biggest stadium in Turkey should provide the English champions with the magic they need to get over the line. Over the years, it has felt like City have been cursed in the competition and have been destined to fail despite the remarkable quality of their squad.

Guardiola’s side has suffered upsets to the likes of Olympique Lyonnais and Tottenham Hotspur in their multiple attempts at achieving UCL glory. City has been almost flawless domestically since Guardiola arrived, but becoming champions of Europe is hugely important for his overall legacy at the club.

City face tough opposition

City have suffered upsets at various stages of the UCL knockouts over the years. This year would represent their second appearance in the final. In 2021, they were defeated by Chelsea in the final, but Kevin de Bruyne was injured early on. City were never heavy favourites although the defeat to Thomas Tuchel’s side was still somewhat of an upset.

Against Inter Milan they will be wary that there is little margin against what is a stunning counter-attacking side. Guardiola will be well aware of Romelu Lukaku’s quality due to his time in the Premier League. Lautaro Martinez was also a vital part of Argentina’s FIFA World Cup triumph and is another prolific attacking option.

Overall Inter are a strong defensive side that are frightening in offensive transition. Teams that were willing to defend deep and strike City on the counter have proven to be Guardiola’s nemesis in the past years. But this year City look to be a different beast, both in terms of ability and mentality.

Istanbul has already hosted arguably Liverpool’s most iconic night in club history. But now they could host an even more significant part of English clubs’ European history. The night Guardiola’s City finally conquer Europe looks destined to take place in Turkey this year.

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Read Also – Oh Arsenal: Five games that saw the Gunners surrender the title to Man City

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