On Tuesday, Manchester City defeated Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan 3-0 to cruise into the Club World Cup final.
The Champions League winners required an own goal to start their campaign in Saudi Arabia because they were missing Erling Haaland, but goals from Mateo Kovavic and Bernardo Silva in the second half allowed them to easily win.
When City plays Brazil’s Fluminense in Friday’s final in Jeddah, they will have the opportunity to win a fifth trophy of the year, adding the European Super Cup to their previous season’s triple.
The only surprise was that Urawa’s lacklustre performance against City’s powerful lineup kept the scoreless draw until first-half stoppage time.
Despite the fact that City was without a known centre forward while Haaland was sidelined due to a foot ailment, the Reds defence saw little break, and goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa had a demanding evening.
After eight minutes, Rodri had City’s first chance at goal, but he missed, and then Silva’s shot went over and Rodri’s effort was deflected past the post.
On the half-hour mark, Nishikawa did a good job of taking the ball away from Matheus Nunes and denied both the Portugal international and Phil Foden from a distance.
Just before the half, City finally made the breakthrough their play deserved, but they did gain from a fortunate break.
After breaking down the right and passing to Silva, Nunes drove the ball low towards goal, only for Norwegian defender Marius Hoibraten to divert it into his own net.
After the interval, City tightened their hold on the lead.
After fifty-two minutes, Kyle Walker found space for Croatian midfielder Kovacic, who lifted the ball over Nishikawa for his second goal.
A few moments later, Nunes had another chance to score but misdirected a cross from Jack Grealish.
Just before the hour mark, Silva slammed in the rebound after Nishikawa turned aside another attempt by Nunes, thanks to a deflection.
With an eye towards the championship, Guardiola started implementing adjustments in the closing stages.
Nishikawa denied Julian Alvarez, one of the replacements, at close range, while Grealish wasted another opportunity by holding back his shot.
Urawa had two late opportunities as City loosened up, but Ederson saved a bad backpass from Shoya Nakajima, and Bryan Linssen was cleared by John Stones.