Manchester City are through to the final of the 2023 FIFA Club World Cup after a 3-0 victory over Urawa Red Diamonds in Jeddah.
In a highly entertaining semi-final game at the King Abdullah Sports City, an own goal from Marius Hoibraten and fine strikes from Mateo Kovacic and Bernardo Silva secured City’s safe passage through to the final in our first ever appearance at the tournament.
The victory sets up a global showpiece final against Brazilian side Fluminense on Friday, with City on the brink of creating more history after last season’s Treble success and subsequent UEFA Super Cup victory.
Should City win on Friday, we would become the first English team in history to hold the Premier League, FA Cup, UEFA Champions League, Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup simultaneously.
MAN OF THE MATCH
This was a fine all-round display from the Croatian, who bagged his first City goal with an emphatic finish from Walker’s through-ball and was constantly on hand to receive the ball and keep City ticking over in midfield.
Confident, assured and with a knack of keeping possession, he was exceptional and a big reason City will be playing in Friday’s final.
A BREAK FROM THE NORM
This game felt like a welcome distraction for City, who played with vim and vigour for much of the game.
Saturday’s draw at home to Crystal Palace, which saw Michael Olise equalise for the visitors in the 95th minute, made it three home draws in succession for City in the Premier League, leaving us fourth in the table as we set off for participation in the Club World Cup.
And although the 3000-mile trip will undoubtedly have taken it out of the players, this week-long stay in Saudi Arabia offers a chance for a change of scenery, some warm-weather training and a new competition to focus on.
Judging by our display in this semi-final against Urawa Red Diamonds, the trip has offered a chance to reset and refocus.
“It’s the first time Manchester City is here. I represent this incredible organisation and club and now we will play the final against Fluminense. This is the last step – a title the club doesn’t have. So we’ll go for it.
“Kevin [De Bruyne] started training yesterday and will train with us tomorrow but it’s been three months so he cannot play in the final, he is getting better, Erling [Haaland] still cannot train.
“The plan [for the final] is to sleep, sleep and sleep! This is our plan. The pitch conditions was not really good, honestly.
“But we know how that business works. Now we have to rest. They [Fluminense] have 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.”
That game kicks off at 18:00 (UK)/21:00 (Saudi Arabia).
Source: Manchester City