Pep Guardiola Reacts To Man City's Victory Against Urawa In Club World Cup Debut, And Set To Face Fluminense In he Final.

Manchester City eased to a 3-0 victory in their Club World Cup debut against Urawa Red Diamonds in the semi-final on Tuesday, and will face Fluminense in the final on Friday.

It was City's first clean sheet in 9 matches, as the treble winners have won only one of their last six Premier League matches and fallen behind Arsenal and Liverpool in the title race.

The Citizens aren’t in Premier League action until after Christmas.

Erling Haaland and Kevin de Bruyne watched on from the stands, but has both been removed from City’s squad list for the tournament.

Haaland sat out a third consecutive game due to a foot injury, and has reportedly ruled him out of the tournament. He has initially missed out on the morning of City’s trip to Luton Town, the Norwegian striker was understandably absent from a Champions League trip to Belgrade but was once again left out for last weekend’s game against Crystal Palace.

De Bruyne and Jeremy Doku were also scratched from the list, dashing hopes that City’s Belgian midfielder could make his comeback to the pitch this week after returning to training on Monday from a four-month layoff due to a hamstring injury.

But it was still a strong squad named by Pep Guardiola with just four changes: Ruben Dias, Josko Gvardiol, Rico Lewis and Julian Alvarez all dropped to the bench after Saturday’s disappointing 2-2 draw at home to Crystal Palace.

Without their biggest goal threat and creative hub, City lacked penetration and punch for the first 45 minutes despite enjoying over 80 percent of possession against the regimented Asian champions at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium.

Urawa had lost six of their previous 10 games but largely frustrated the European champions with some good defending discipline at the edge of their penalty are and forcing their illustrious opponents to resort to long-range efforts.

They deserved to reach the break level but fell behind at the stroke of half-time  following a self-inflicted blow when Marius Hoibraten turned Matheus Nunes’ low cross into his own net in the 45+1 minute, and gave the Premier League champions the lead.

The Japanese side were out of ideas trying to fight back in the second half, as the earlier own goal, opened the game up for City.

Mateo Kovacic who had struggled to make a meaningful impact since arriving from Chelsea in the summer transfer window, drilled in his first City goal in the 52nd minute after racing onto Kyle Walker’s pass that cut the Japanese defence wide open, ass the Croatian midfielder lift his effort past goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa.

A third goal for City did not take long to arrive in the 57th minute, as Hoibraten’s bad luck continued when Silva’s shot deflected in off the Norwegian defender.

City's margin of victory could 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.

A comfortable lead did at least offer Guardiola the chance to rest Silva, Foden, Manuel Akanji, Rodri and John Stones for the closing stages.

The result meant that the unblemished record for European clubs against Asian teams at the Club World Cup was extended to 14 matches.

European teams are now unbeaten in 21 Club World Cup matches stretching back to 2012.

Despite watching a good performance and being heavy favourites, Pep Guardiola warned his stars not to get complacent.

"We didn't win it [the FIFA Club World Cup].

"It's the first time Manchester City are here. I represent this incredible organisation and club and now we play the final against Fluminense.

"This is the last step — a title the club doesn't have. So we'll go for it."

The 52-year-old ex-Barcelona boss also admitted after the game that he will field a strong team on Friday.

"The players know how important it is for the club.

"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 who has previously won the competition twice while Barcelona boss and once during his three-year tenure at Bayern Munich also stated: "The plan is to sleep, sleep and sleep! This is our plan.

"Now we have to rest. They had one more day. We will have a day off, have dinner together and create an environment that the players know how important it is for the club.

"Tomorrow we start to watch Fluminense and see them and try to do a good performance."


City are looking to become the fourth English club to win the title after neighbors Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea.

After winning the the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Uefa Super Cup, City will bid for their fifth trophy of 2023 on Friday night againt South American champions Fluminense at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium, north of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, home to Saudi Pro League sides AI-Ittihad and AI-Ahli. 

Brazil's and Copa Libertadores holders Fluminense had beaten Al Ahly 2-0 in the first semi-final played on Monday. Al Ahly will now play Urawa in the third-place play-off.

City's victory ensures the 13th meeting between the champions of Europe and their South American counterparts in the showpiece match since 2005.

While Urawa’s season is over, the J1 League season is complete and they didn’t make it out of the AFC Champions League group stage.

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