Manchester City took a huge step toward a third straight UEFA Champions League semifinal clash after a 3-0 win against Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
Goals from Rodri, Bernardo Silva and Erling Haaland put City in control of the quarterfinals matchup after the first leg at Etihad Stadium.
Bayern had gone into the game with a 100 per cent record in this season’s competition, with eight straight wins, including victories against Inter Milan, Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain.
But under new coach Thomas Tuchel, the German giant had no answer in the face of City’s attacking power.
City took the lead through a wonderful strike from Rodri in the 27th minute.
Just moments after Ruben Dias had blocked a Jamal Musiala effort at the other end, the Spain international cut onto his left foot and swept a curling shot into the top corner from around 20 meters.
The home team could have doubled the lead shortly after, but Ilkay Gundogan was denied by the feet of Bayern goalkeeper Yann Sommer from close range.
The visitors mounted a fightback in the second half, with Leroy Sane forcing three saves from Ederson shortly after the restart, including one when through on goal with only the keeper to beat.
But City scored a second after a mistake from Bayern defender Dayot Upamecano, who lost possession deep in his own half.
Jack Grealish passed to Haaland, whose cross was headed in by Bernardo in the 70th.
Haaland then got on the score sheet himself with his 45th goal of the season when sliding in to convert John Stones’ headed knockdown.
City was beaten in the 2021 final by a Chelsea team managed by Tuchel.
The Premier League champions were knocked out by Real Madrid in the semifinals last season but look set to advance to the last four once again.
A loss for Benfica after 12 wins
Meanwhile, Inter Milan ended its streak of poor results with a 2-0 win at Benfica in the first leg of their quarterfinal game on Tuesday.
Nicolo Barella and Romelu Lukaku scored second-half goals at the Stadium of Light to give Inter its first victory in more than a month and move the Italian team into a good position to reach the semifinals of the European competition for the first time in more than a decade.
The second leg will be next week in Milan. It was Benfica’s first Champions League loss in 13 matches this season. It started the competition in the third qualifying round and was one of the surprises of the competition so far after going on an unbeaten run to win a difficult group that included Paris Saint- Germain and Juventus.
Benfica was coming off a loss to rival Porto in the Portuguese league but had won 13 of its last 15 matches in all competitions since then.
Inter was winless in six matches in all competitions, with its last victory against Lecce in the Italian league in March. It is trying to reach the last four for the first time since it won the title in 2010. It is playing in the last eight for the first time in 12 years.
Trying to win five consecutive Champions League games for the first time since 1990, the hosts controlled the pace but it was Inter that struck with a header by Barella off a long cross by Alessandro Bastoni into the area in the 51st minute.
Substitute Lukaku added to Inter’s lead by converting an 82nd-minute penalty kick that was determined by video review for a handball by former Inter player João Mário inside the area.
Benfica tried to press forward but struggled to create many significant scoring opportunities. Forward Gonçalo Ramos nearly found the net in stoppage time but he was denied by a great save by Inter goalkeeper André Onana.
The Portuguese team entered the match having scored 23 goals, second only to Napoli, while no quarter-finalist had scored fewer than the 11 netted by Inter.
Benfica was winless in the other three meetings between the clubs in European competitions, with two losses and a draw.
The European champion in 1961 and 1962, Benfica is hoping to make it past the quarterfinals for the first time since losing the final to AC Milan in 1990. It was eliminated by eventual runner-up Liverpool in last year’s quarterfinals.
Benfica coach Roger Schmidt had to make changes to the defence as right back Alexander Bah was injured and Nicolás Otamendi was suspended.
The winner of the series between Inter and Benfica will face AC Milan or Napoli in the semifinals.