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MANCHESTER City were crowned world champions for the first time as Pep Guardiola “closed the circle” with a fifth trophy of 2023.

Two goals from the recalled Julian Alvarez, including one in the first minute, an own goal induced by Phil Foden and the other from the England man’s close-range finish, crushed the hearts of the side from Rio.

Manchester City are the Fifa Club World Cup champions after thrashing Fluminense.
Julian Alvarez got City off to a flyer after just 40 seconds.
Phil Foden’s cross was then deflected into the net to double the advantage.
The England star then made it three midway through the second half.

And with no desert storm coming from the bewildered Brazilians, Guardiola racked up his 32nd major trophy in just 15 years as a manager, not including five Community Shields or their domestic equivalent.

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Not only was it a confident, comprehensive and record-equalling victory, it could easily have been by more.

City could not have made a better start as they went one up after just 41 seconds.

A hurried clearance by veteran former Real Madrid star Marcelo was collected by Nathan Ake and the Dutch defender had all the time in the world to stroll forwards and let fly from 25 yards.

Keeper Fabio got a slight touch on the curling effort to turn it against the post but the rebound dropped into the middle of the goal, where Alvarez cutely chested into the gaping net.

It might have looked like a tale of two Brazilian keepers had Ederson not been bailed out by a tight, but correct, offside flag when he bundled over German Cano.

Instead, City doubled their advantage, albeit with more than a hint of good fortune.

Shocking marking left Foden free to collect from Rodri just inside the box.

The England man was clearly aiming for Alvarez rather than going for goal before the ball diverted off the desperate Nino’s right shin to nestle in the far corner.

Ederson’s excellent save from a Jhon Arias header maintained the advantage which might easily have been extended by Jack Grealish, Foden or Bernardo Silva.

Foden, though, ended any hope as he turned home an Alvarez cross-shot.

Guardiola will be concerned at the damage sustained by Rodri’s right knee from a wild lunge by substitute Alexsander.

But a low scudding finish by Alvarez ensured City had matched the record winning Club World Cup Final margin recorded by Guardiola’s Barcelona over Santos in 2011.

City star Rodri then went down late on clutching his knee.
The Spanish midfielder then limped off to hand Pep Guardiola a fresh injury scare.
Julian Alvarez then grabbed a fourth late on.

 

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