UEFA Champions League holders FC Bayern München ensured a smooth passage to Saturday's FIFA Club World Cup final courtesy of a 3-0 defeat of Chinese outfit Guangzhou Evergrande FC.
Guangzhou had won 2-0 against Al Ahly SC last weekend to take their place in the last four. Buoyancy turned to despondency, though, shortly before the interval as quickfire goals from Franck Ribéry and Mario Mandžukić made their task mountainous. Bayern playmaker Mario Götze landed the final blow two minutes into the second half to keep alive his side's bid for a fifth trophy this year.
The Bundesliga leaders dictated proceedings in trademark fashion, with Guangzhou – coached by former Italy and Juventus boss Marcello Lippi – launching only sporadic raids forward. Former FC Barcelona schemer Thiago Alcántara, who caught the eye throughout, struck the frame of the goal after 15 minutes, before Toni Kroos followed suit with a venonmous strike.
Josep Guardiola's side continued to probe and broke through when Ribéry found the net with a rasping volley on the angle. Mandžukić made it two in the blink of an eye, heading in Thiago's cross from the right. Götze rounded off the scoring shortly after half-time, waltzing his way into a shooting position before finding the bottom corner with a sweetly struck effort from the edge of the area.
"We did really well, we gave them respect and now we're in the final. It is always difficult when you only have a few games to play before the winter break. We want to win this title," said Ribéry, with captain Philipp Lahm adding: "We made it difficult for them. It's fantastic to play at a tournament where most of us have never played before."
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