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Man City defeats Urawa Red Diamonds to advance to the final of the Club World Cup

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Manchester City advanced to the Club World Cup final against Brazilian team Fluminense after defeating Urawa Red Diamonds 3-0 at King Abdullah Sports City Stadium on Tuesday.

Urawa Red Diamonds v Manchester City

European champions City were defeated in the first half by a disciplined Japanese team, but Marius Hoibraten’s own goal in stoppage time gave them the lead.

With his first goal since joining City from Chelsea in the 52nd minute, Mateo Kovacic made it 2-0, and a few minutes later, Bernardo Silva’s deflected shot allowed City to coast through the remainder of the match.

After Manchester United, Liverpool, and Chelsea, Pep Guardiola’s City are trying to become the fourth English team to win the championship. Before this, the team had only won three of their previous eight games across all competitions.

In the Copa Libertadores final on Friday, they will be overwhelming favorites against Fluminense, who defeated Al-Ahly 2-0 on Monday.

In their attempt of a fourth subsequent title, City has recently experienced some domestic problems and has fallen behind the leaders in the Premier League.

They had far too much for the J1 League team, though, even with Erling Haaland still absent and Guardiola rearranging his lineup following Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

The Diamonds’ strategy was evident as they crowded the midfield and defense to form a red wall in front of their goal. It was successful because City found it difficult to create openings.

They nearly went into halftime level despite hardly leaving their half, but were defeated when Matheus Nunes eventually found some space, and his low cross was intercepted by Hoibraten, who steered the ball into his own goal.

Diamonds showed a little more adventure in the first half of the match, but it made things easy for City.

After being sent clear, Kovacic—who has won the competition twice, once with Real Madrid and once with Chelsea—sprinted off and blasted a shot that was high and beyond Shusaku Nishikawa.

Nishikawa produced a great save to seal the victory for City, but Bernardo Silva’s shot took a nick off Hoibraten and went just inside the post.

At that point, all City needed to do was ensure it was their first clean sheet since November 7.

On Friday, Urawa and Al-Ahly will play in the playoff for third place.

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