Manchester City advanced to the FIFA Club World Cup final as they cruised past Urawa Red Diamonds with a comfortable 3-0 victory in Saudi Arabia.
Matheus Nunes shone the brightest in Manchester City’s excellent performance against Urawa Red Diamonds as he played his best game yet in the Sky Blue shirt, creating two of the three goals.
A first-half own-goal, a deflected effort from Bernardo Silva, and Mateo Kovacic’s first City goal helped the treble-winners brush aside the Asian champions on Tuesday evening.
The first 15 minutes of this fixture went exactly how most people expected with City dominating possession and pushing into the Urawa Reds’ third. The Blues were moving the ball around swiftly, patiently waiting for the opening.
Rodri posed a threat from the edge of the box with his long-range efforts skimming past the post – much to the delight of the Japanese fans behind the goal. The Red Diamond’s defence was strong and prevented Pep Guardiola’s side from causing their goalkeeper any trouble.
City’s first real chance came on the half-hour mark through Matheus Nunes, as he thundered the ball from close range at Nishikawa in the Urawa Red’s goal – who parried it away for a corner.
The deadlock was broken just before the half-time whistle and Manchester City had the lead through an own-goal.
Matheus Nunes’ break from midfield and one-two with Bernardo Silva allowed him to pull the ball back into the penalty area where Marius Hoibraten turned the ball into his own net for the opener.
It took Manchester City just six minutes after the break to find the second goal of the game with Mateo Kovacic being the goalscorer. A beautiful outside-the-boot pass from Kyle Walker found the Croatian bursting through and he finished cooly into the back of the net.
Just seven minutes later, Bernardo Silva would score a third after a fortunate deflection following a near-beautiful effort from Matheus Nunes that was directed into the path of the Portugal international.
Substitute Oscar Bobb worked the Urawa Reds’ defence with his twisting and turning in the second half. The 20-year-old looks to be a real talent at Pep Guardiola’s disposal.
This victory means that Manchester City will face Fluminese in the FIFA Club World Cup final on Friday and hope to add another piece of silverware to their impressive collection.
Ederson – 5
Hasn’t had too much to do but nearly lost the ball in his box early in the game.
Nathan Ake – 6
Played well. Contributed in possession and was always available.
Manuel Akanji – 5.5
Picked up a yellow card in the first-half for stopping a counterattack but otherwise played well.
John Stones – 6
Joined in the attack and helped to move the ball around the Urawa penalty area.
Kyle Walker (C) – 5
Provided a lovely assist for Kovacic’s goal but was sloppy when passing around the back and put Ederson in trouble a few times.
Rodri – 7
Threatened with his long-range efforts and very rarely gave the ball away.
Mateo Kovacic – 7.5
Struggled in the first-half but took his chance in the second well for the second goal.
Matheus Nunes – 8 (MOTM)
Effective in the opposition’s third and created the opening goal with his drive from midfield. Was the main point of attack in the game.
Bernardo Silva – 7
Comfortable in retaining possession and moving the ball around the Urawa box. Scored a fortunate goal in the second-half.
Jack Grealish – 5
Had a good battle on the left but none of his advances went anywhere. Made the wrong decision when in front of goal.
Phil Foden – 6
Struggled to influence the game due to the low block but had a creative run in the first-half.
Oscar Bobb – 7
Was always a threat when he had the ball at his feet. Caused the Japanese defence problems.
Julian Alvarez – 6
Got into great positions and had a few opportunities to score. Impactful substitute.
Josko Gvardiol – 6
Made a great run into the Urawa Reds penalty area and defended well.
Kalvin Phillips – 6
Didn’t impact the game much but had an effort go just wide of the post.
Sergio Gomez – 6
Moved the ball around well but didn’t impact the game much.
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