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Player ratings as Cityzens seal Club World Cup glory


Manchester City made light work of Fluminense in Friday’s Club World Cup final, cruising to a 4-0 victory to secure even more silverware before the end of 2023.

Julian Alvarez opened the scoring inside the opening minute before a Phil Foden cross forced an own goal which doubled City’s advantage heading into the break.

Foden got a goal of his own in the second half but things soon took a turn for Pep Guardiola, who lost Rodri to injury immediately after.

Things would end on a positive note, however, as Alvarez added a fourth late on to cap off a sensational performance.

How the game unfolded

It took just 40 seconds for City to take the lead. Nathan Ake unleashed a ferocious strike from deep which crashed back off the post and into the path of Alvarez, who managed to contort his body and knock the ball into an empty net with his chest.

Fluminense thought they had been offered a route back into the game 17 minutes in when Ederson swatted German Cano to the ground and a penalty was awarded, but the referee quickly altered his decision after spotting the offside flag had been raised. A near-instant VAR check confirmed the call.

The Brazilian side’s determination to play out from the back, regularly starting on their own goal-line, created countless nervy moments in the opening stages, with goalkeeper Fabio happy to try dribble his way around City’s pressing forwards.

But City doubled their advantage in the 27th minute. Foden was in acres of space in the box and sent in a cross which deflected off Nino and into the back of the Fluminense net.

Ederson made a sensational save to deny Jhon Arias five minutes before the interval, and down the other end, Fabio had to turn Jack Grealish’s strike around the post to keep the score at 2-0 at the break.

Fabio had to keep Foden and Bernardo Silva out just minutes into the second half, but there was a huge scare for City when Rodri was caught by a nasty challenge which left him screaming in pain on the turf. The Spaniard needed treatment but managed to continue.

City’s bad mood didn’t last long, however. Foden made sure he claimed his goal this time as he ran on to Alvarez’s cross and slid the ball into an empty net.

Unfortunately for City, before play had resumed, Rodri slumped to the turf once again and had to be replaced – a nightmare scenario for the new world champions.

There was still time for Alvarez to add a fourth with a low drive inside the penalty area, tying the record for the biggest victory in Club World Cup final history in the process.

Marcelo, Julian Alvarez

City were too strong for Marcelo & Fluminense / -/GettyImages

GK: Ederson – 6/10 – Bailed out after conceding a penalty but redeemed himself with an excellent save on the stroke of half-time.

RB: Kyle Walker – 6/10 – Excellent pace at the back to help keep Fluminense out. Not a major help going forward but didn’t really need to be.

CB: John Stones – 6/10 – Had very little defending to do and so was gifted plenty of time on the ball to keep City ticking.

CB: Ruben Dias – 6/10 – Played the offside trap to perfection for the penalty incident… or just got lucky.

LB: Nathan Ake – 8/10 – Involved in everything. Really composed defensively when Fluminense attempted to counter but it was his attacking impact and passes into the final third which really caught the eye.

DM: Rodri – 7/10 – Unsurprisingly the hub of everything City did. Sprayed passes all around the pitch and linked up well with Foden ahead of him.

DM: Rico Lewis – 6/10 – A mixed game. Saw plenty of chances to move forward but didn’t always look comfortable when asked to do so.

RM: Bernardo Silva – 7/10 – Excellent work rate to establish himself as City’s lead playmaker out on the right. Passed up the chance to take on Marcelo a little too often but his passes were hardly a waste of possession.

AM: Phil Foden – 8/10 – Found great positions in the hole between midfield and defence and proved to be a real problem. His cross forced the own goal before he bagged his own.

LM: Jack Grealish – 6/10 – Targeted by some rough defending which limited his impact. Caught on camera screaming expletives at Nino.

ST: Julian Alvarez – 9/10 – Alvarez just loves a trophy. Great instincts to convert the opening goal in a lively, dangerous performance which brought another goal and an assist for good measure.

Substitutes

SUB: Mateo Kovacic (61′ for Lewis) – 6/10

SUB: Manuel Akanji (74′ for Rodri) – 6/10

SUB: Josko Gvardiol (74′ for Stones) – 6/10

SUB: Matheus Nunes (81′ for Foden) – N/A

SUB: Oscar Bobb (81′ for Ake) – N/A

Subs not used: Stefan Ortega (GK), Scott Carson (GK), Sergio Gomez, Max Alleyne, Mahamadou Susoho, Kalvin Phillips, Micah Hamilton

Manager

Pep Guardiola – 8/10 – Set City up to dominate from the first whistle and got the immediate rewards. His side were far superior.

Player of the match: Julian Alvarez (Man City)



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