Man City through to the FIFA Club World Cup final

 

Bernardo Silva of Manchester City celebrates scoring his side's third goal during the FIFA Club World Cup between Urawa Red Diamonds and Manchester City at King Abdullah Sports City on December 19, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 

Manchester City set aside struggles at home to ease past Urawa Red Diamonds 3-0 in the Club World Cup semifinals and is one game away from a fifth title in 2023.


The champion of Europe has never lost to the champion of Asia at a Club World Cup and it never looked likely on a balmy evening in the Red Sea port city Jeddah.


After it took Man City until first-half stoppage time to score from an own goal by defender Marius Hoibraten, Mateo Kovačić and Bernardo Silva struck with shots in a seven-minute spell early in the second half against the Japanese team.


Man City now will be favored to beat Fluminense of Brazil in the final on Saturday morning Hong Kong time.


"It’s the only title that the club don’t have," City manager Pep Guardiola said. "The players know how important this game is for all of us at the club."


Guardiola’s team keeps finding respite in international games during an untypical run in the Premier League where the defending champion has won just one of its last six games while leaking late goals.


A winning Club World Cup debut followed City closing out a perfect six-win streak in its Champions League group this month. City also added a UEFA Super Cup title in August to its storied trophy treble last season of Champions League, Premier League and English FA Cup.


City needed some help to score first Friday when Hoibraten diverted goalward a pass across the goalmouth by Matheus Nunes that was unlikely to find another of the six midfield players in the starting lineup.


With Erling Haaland still ruled out by a foot injury, Guardiola also opted to leave Argentina forward Julián Álvarez on the bench.

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