Man City 4-0 Fluminense (Alvarez 1′, 88′, Mota Filho 27′ og, Foden 72′)
This match was over as a contest so long before the final whistle that there was plenty of time to contemplate whether Manchester City’s victory in the final of the Club World Cup was more of a triumph for the club or for its head coach.
City now hold five major trophies at the same time: Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, Uefa Super Cup and the Club World Cup. They also became the fourth English club to win the trophy after Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea.
But it was also a landmark victory for Pep Guardiola, the first coach to win the competition with three different clubs, having previously hoisted the trophy with Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
The match itself, between two first-time finalists in the heat of Jeddah, was not up to much. Fluminense of Brazil, the winners of South America’s Copa Libertadores, never seemed to recover from City’s opener from Julian Alvarez after only 40 seconds. Phil Foden’s shot went in off a defender to double the lead, and Foden and Alvarez added further goals in the second half.
The only low point for City was an injury to Rodri, who was substituted after a challenge from Alexsander, the Fluminense substitute. But he was able to walk up to collect his award as the tournament’s outstanding player without visibly limping.
The club from Rio de Janeiro are four-time Brazilian Serie A winners but were visibly frustrated at times at their inability to make an impression on the match. Guardiola had compared them to Brazilian sides from the 1970s and 80s, but their problem was clear: no Pele or Zico.
City had not exactly entered the competition in the best of form, with only one victory in their past six Premier League matches. But even without the injured Erling Haaland they were far too good for the South American champions, who started two players aged 40 or over.
They were ahead after 40 seconds. Veteran former Real Madrid captain Marcelo, a relatively youthful 35, played a wild pass to nobody and Nathan Ake fastened onto it, advancing unchallenged through a deserted midfield until he was 30 yards out. His curling left-foot shot was finger-tipped onto the post by goalkeeper Fabio, defying his 43 years with an acrobatic dive, but the rebound fell for Alvarez, who chested the ball in.
The Brazilian side thought they had a chance to level from the penalty spot when Ederson brought down German Cano, only for the striker to be ruled offside. However, that was a rare attack from Fluminense, and after 27 minutes they were 2-0 down and effectively out. Foden’s attempt to find a teammate with a low pass from the left looped off the shin of defender Nino and over the stranded Fabio.
Jhon Arias’ header from a corner, saved well with a dive to his right from Ederson, was Fluminense’s first and last genuine threat.
Player of the match: Rodri
A calm and unhurried presence in City’s midfield as they dominated almost effortlessly.
Their response was to introduce John Kennedy, 21, who had scored the winner against Boca Juniors in the Libertadores final, but the second half almost began as the first had, Fabio able to save Bernardo Silva’s follow-up this time after the goalkeeper had parried Foden’s shot.
Kennedy made as little impact as any of his teammates, surrounded by City defenders on the rare occasions when he got the ball. Foden, in contrast, escaped his markers with ease to slam home a low cross from Alvarez after 72 minutes.
Alvarez smacked home the fourth with three minutes left, giving City a share of the highest margin of victory in the event’s history, equalling the 4-0 success in 2011 of Barcelona – and Guardiola.