City cruise into World Cup Final as Socceroos impress amid penalty drama in EFL Cup


Manchester City have eased into the final of the Club World Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win over Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds.

Without Erling Haaland (foot), the Champions League winners needed an own goal to launch their campaign in Saudi Arabia but second-half strikes from Mateo Kovavic and Bernardo Silva saw them stroll to victory on Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT).

Having already added the European Super Cup to last season’s treble, City will now have the chance to claim a fifth trophy of the calendar year when they face Brazil’s Fluminense in Friday’s final in Jeddah.

“This is the last step – a title the club doesn’t have, so we’ll go for it,” City manager Pep Guardiola said.

“To play this final you have to have done incredible things – mainly to win the Champions League.

“It’s against Fluminense, a South American team, experienced, a lot of quality.

“But we are there … and try to do a good performance and win the title.”

With Urawa showing limited ambition against City’s formidable line-up, the only surprise was the game remained goalless until first-half added time.

Rodri had City’s first attempt on goal when he fired wide after eight minutes and he had another effort deflected past the post after Silva shot over.

Uruwa goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa did well to turn over from Matheus Nunes on the half-hour and he denied both the Portugal international again and Phil Foden from distance.

City finally claimed the breakthrough just before the interval, although they did benefit from a stroke of luck.

Nunes broke down the right and exchanged passes with Silva before driving the ball low towards goal, where it was turned into his own net by Norwegian defender Marius Hoibraten.

How we became #ClubWC finalists! ????

Highlights ????

— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 19, 2023

Kyle Walker played Kovacic into space for the Croatia midfielder to lift the ball over Nishikawa for the second after 52 minutes.

Nunes should have added another moments later but headed wide from a Jack Grealish cross.

The third came just before the hour after Nishikawa pushed away another Nunes effort and Silva drove in the rebound with the aid of a deflection.

Substitute Julian Alvarez was later denied by Nishikawa at point-blank range and Grealish squandered another chance by delaying his shot.

Urawa had a couple of late opportunities as City eased up but John Stones cleared after Bryan Linssen seized on a poor backpass and Ederson denied Shoya Nakajima with his feet.

Elsewhere, Chelsea have booked their passage to the semi-final of the English League Cup on penalties after Mykhailo Mudryk’s added-time equaliser rescued a 1-1 draw against Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge.

Mudryk slotted home after a mistake from Kieran Trippier just as Eddie Howe’s side looked to have done enough to ease past the hosts, who struggled to create for much of the game on Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT).

Earlier, Callum Wilson had given the visitors a first-half lead on the counter-attack.

But as the game went to spot kicks, Trippier again was culpable, firing wide from 12 yards before Matt Ritchie saw the critical kick saved by goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic to see Chelsea through.

???? Oh how Benoit Badiashile would like to have this one over again! A defensive SHOCKER gives Callum Wilson an early Christmas gift! | Watch #CHENEW LIVE NOW on beIN!

— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_AUS) December 19, 2023

“The most important (thing) in football is to believe to the end,” Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino said.

“We kept believing. We know penalties are a lottery, but of course talent and quality (matter). Our objective before the game was to go through and now we’re in the semi-final.

On Merseyside, Fulham captain Tosin Adarabioyo scored the winning penalty in their shootout win against Everton which put the club into their first League Cup semi.

Beto, the Toffees’ hero from their second-round comeback win at Doncaster Rovers, came off the bench to score a late equaliser at Goodison Park after Michael Keane’s own goal. In sudden death in the spot kicks, Idrissa Gana Gueye hit the post and Adarabioyo scored to send the Cottagers through 7-6.

It was the fourth time in the last six seasons Everton had exited the competition on penalties and brought to end a four-match winning run as their hopes of a first semi-final appearance in seven years were dashed.

“We achieved something the club never did in the past,” Fulham boss Marco Silva said.

“We want more … we are going to play the semi-finals with the dream to play at Wembley.”

???????????? @socceroos star Sam Silvera with a composed assist as @Boro leaves the sheds for the 2nd half with a 2-0 lead over @OfficialPVFC and one boot in the @Carabao_Cup semi-finals! 2nd half LIVE NOW on beIN!

— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_AUS) December 19, 2023

Middlesbrough booked their place in the final four after breezing past League One Port Vale 3-0 thanks to goals from Jonny Howson, Morgan Rogers and Matt Crooks at Vale Park.

The Championship club, and 2004 winners, had not made a major domestic semi-final since losing to West Ham United in the semi-finals of the 2006 FA Cup.

Australian duo in goalkeeper Tom Glover and attacking midfielder Sam Silvera both played full games for Boro, while another Socceroo in Rylee McGree remained sidelined with a foot injury.

Former Central Coast flyer Silvera set up the visitors’ second goal, winning the ball on the right and he keeping his composure to pick out Rogers on the edge of the box.

Liverpool host West Ham at Anfield in the final quarter-final on Thursday (AEDT).

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