Manchester City were crowned the best club side in the world with a thumping 4-0 win over Fluminense in the Club World Cup Final.
The game wasn’t even a minute old when City took the lead, with the South American champions caught completely cold by the blistering opening of the Champions League holders.
Nathan Ake picked up a loose ball just inside the opposing half, with his looping strike from range being sensationally tipped onto the post by goalkeeper Fabio, only for the perfectly-placed Julian Alvarez to improvise brilliantly and steer the ball in with his chest.
To their credit, Fluminense were unyielding in their attempts to play out from the back, but it played perfectly into the hands of a high-pressing and relentless City start.
The Brazilian side eventually settled though, and their hail-mary approach very nearly drew a penalty for their side when Ederson took down striker German Cano in the area and was only saved by the offside flag.
Just when it seemed as though the pressure was letting up and City were offering Fluminense a route back into the game, they struck again thanks to two moments of sheer quality from two of their classiest operators.
Rodri had the ball just inside the final third, and picked out an exquisite through ball to Phil Foden, whose sharp turn and cross drew a telling deflection off Nino for an own goal to double the Manchester City lead.
Fluminense didn’t give up though, and Jhon Arias drew a top save from Ederson from a corner to maintain his clean sheet, before a similarly sprawling stop from Fabio denied Jack Grealish’s curler.
City started the second-half with the same vigour as they had started the first, forcing a sharp double save from Fabio to keep out Foden’s effort from the edge and then Bernardo Silva’s close-range header, with another clever block soon following to again keep Foden out.
Despite City’s comfortable position in the game, things started to flash up; Rico Lewis was substituted after his personal spat with Marcelo grew more and more heated, Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva were their usual spikey selves, and there were injury fears which eventually forced Rodri off after a heavy tackle from Alexsander.
But the Blues regained their composure and soon ended the game as a contest, as Mateo Kovacic freed Alvarez on the wing, and the Argentine’s low ball put it on a plate for Foden to stamp a great display with a goal.
Alvarez wasn’t done toying with Flu though; he collected Matheus Nunes’ pass, chopped away from Andre and drilled a top finish into the bottom corner for 4-0.
It was one of the final actions of an easy and deserved win for City, who proved far too strong for Fluminense, and for the rest of club football this year.
Ederson – 6.5
Produced one notable save to deny Arias amongst some other decent stops. Got away with an offside call to spare him a penalty concession and wasn’t his usual assured self when kicking.
Kyle Walker – 7
Wasn’t asked to do too much in possession, and had no trouble winning his individual duels defensively.
Ruben Dias – 7
Very rarely involved going backwards. Passed and drove well enough.
Nathan Ake – 7
Coped well to pass out under some pressure on the left side.
John Stones – 8
Revelled in his midfield role, even picking up spaces in advance of the no.10s at times in his roaming.
Rodri – 8
Dominated the midfield with ease, picking up every loose ball and spraying passes around. Hopefully that substitution was just a precaution.
Rico Lewis – 7
Popped up in some highly intelligent areas in advanced midfield. Seemed to be growing frustrated at the physical attention being afforded him and was swiftly withdrawn.
Phil Foden – 9 (MOTM)
Ran the show in City’s attack, a central figure both figuratively and positionally. Forced the second goal and made sure he got his name on the scoresheet with the third.
Bernardo Silva – 7.5
Rare to see him so fired-up, but he used that irritation in his performance, pressing tirelessly and became increasingly involved.
Julian Alvarez – 9
The scour of Fluminense, playing dangerously throughout and collecting two impressive goals and an assist to boot.
Jack Grealish – 7
Drew a number of fouls and went at the defenders directly when he could.
Mateo Kovacic – 7.5
Strong ball carrying, particularly in the build-up to the third goal.
Manuel Akanji – 6.5
Stepped into midfield positions with some confidence.
Josko Gvardiol – 6.5
Did his defending as Fluminense pressed ever more desperately for a goal.
Matheus Nunes – 7
Collected a nice assist and looked sharp.
Oscar Bobb – N/A
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