Match ends, Urawa Red Diamonds 0, Manchester City 3.
Urawa Red Diamonds 0-3 Manchester City: Pep Guardiola’s side cruise into Club World Cup final18 December 2023
Manchester City's players have a once "in-our-lifetime" opportunity when they face Brazil's Fluminense in the Club World Cup final, says manager Pep Guardiola.
Guardiola's team swept past Urawa Red Diamonds in Tuesday's semi-final to set up a meeting with the South American champions on Friday in Saudi Arabia.
City are looking to become the fourth English club to win the title after Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea.
"The players know how important it is for the club," said Guardiola.
"To be in this final, you have to do incredible things like win the Champions League. This may be the only time we play this in our lifetime.
"We are there. We will try to win a title we don't have and finish the circle."
The Spaniard has previously won the competition twice while Barcelona boss and once during his three-year tenure at Bayern Munich.
And the odds of him adding to that collection seem short given the manner in which City comfortably defeated the Asian champions Urawa.
The Japanese club displayed plenty of defensive resilience until defender Marius Hoibraten turned Matheus Nunes' cross into his own net on the stroke of half time.
However, after the break it was a different story, with Mateo Kovacic quickly adding City's second - running through the heart of an absent Urawa defence to latch on to Kyle Walker's pass and lift his effort past goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa.
Portugal midfielder Bernardo Silva added City's third before the hour mark, guiding a effort low into the bottom right corner after his international team-mate Nunes had a shot blocked by Nishikawa.
In truth, City's margin of victory could and should have been more with Nunes, Jack Grealish and second-half substitutes Oscar Bobb and Julian Alvarez all failing to convert good opportunities when well placed.
Brazil's Fluminense had beaten Al Ahly 2-0 in the first semi-final played on Monday and City's victory ensures the 13th meeting between the champions of Europe and their South American counterparts in the showpiece match since 2005.
Man City on course to close the circle
After winning the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Uefa Super Cup, Guardiola had spoken about this competition as an opportunity to "close the little circle and win all the trophies" possible.
And his team will be undoubted favourites when they face their opponents from Rio de Janeiro later this week in a match being played at the King Abdullah Sports City, north of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Fluminense should, though, at least represent a step up in class from Urawa, who were defensively disciplined until they fell behind but struggled to build any sort of attacking momentum to chase the game.
The gulf in class between the sides was underlined by Urawa boss Maciej Skorza summoning former Ross County forward Alex Schalk from his bench as his team chased the game.
In contrast Guardiola had Alvarez, Ruben Dias, Josko Gvardiol and the out-of-favour Kalvin Phillips in reserve, while Nunes, a £53m summer arrival from Wolves, cost City more than it took to assemble the entire Urawa squad.
And even despite the continued absence of the prolific Erling Haaland and midfield playmaker Kevin de Bruyne, there was a formidable look to the Blues as they close in on a fifth trophy of the calendar year.
Urawa Red Diamonds
Urawa Red Diamonds
- 3ItoSubstituted forOgiwaraat 57'minutes
- 19IwaoSubstituted forShibatoat 78'minutes
- 21OkuboSubstituted forSchalkat 57'minutes
- 8KoizumiSubstituted forNakajimaat 64'minutes
- 11KantéSubstituted forLinssenat 64'minutes
- 2H Sakai
- 25AkanjiBooked at 24minsSubstituted forGvardiolat 65'minutes
- 47FodenSubstituted forÁlvarezat 65'minutes
- 5StonesSubstituted forGómezat 77'minutes
- 16RodriSubstituted forPhillipsat 77'minutes
- 27NunesBooked at 83mins
- 20Bernardo SilvaSubstituted forBobbat 64'minutes
- 3Rúben Dias
- Mohammed Khled Al Hoish
Second Half ends, Urawa Red Diamonds 0, Manchester City 3.
This news item was provided by the BBC Sport - Football website - the original link is: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/67753483?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA