Bayern Munich will contest the final of the FIFA Club World Cup after dominating Guangzhou Evergrande in Tuesday’s semi-final:
Full Time: Guangzhou Evergrande 0 / 3 FC Bayern Munich pic.twitter.com/BYx43Bi6Ro— FIFA Club World Cup (@FIFACWC2013) December 17, 2013
Franck Ribery, Mario Mandzukic and Mario Gotze each found the back of the net in a seven-minute spell interrupted by the interval, but even the 3-0 scoreline flattered a Guangzhou side totally overwhelmed by the European Cup winners in Morocco.
Still, it took some time for Bayern finally to open their account at Stade Adrar—40 minutes, in fact—and they spent much of the first half searching and probing for quality opportunities.
Only three minutes had elapsed by the time Ribery had earned a free-kick off Zhang Linpeng, and eight minutes after that Guangzhou burst forward on one of their few counter-attacks of the evening—Muriqui’s effort being dealt with by the Bayern defense after combining with Elkeson.
Then, shortly after the quarter-hour mark, Thiago Alcantara rang a promising shot off the upright as Bayern continued to dominate possession.
But Guangzhou still posed a threat on the break and, in the 23rd minute, Zheng Zhi sprung Muriqui, although Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer raced off his line to beat the Brazilian to the well-placed through ball.
Two minutes later it was Toni Kroos’ turn to hit the post, while in the 34th minute Ribery felt he should have won a penalty after going down in the box.
But he would not have to wait long for a goal that always seemed to be coming to him.
With four minutes remaining before the break, the Frenchman finally had his tally—his inch-perfect strike finding its way through a crowded Guangzhou box before settling inside the far post.
The Bundesliga side then doubled their lead in the 44th minute when Mandzukic stooped low to head Thiago’s cross from the right past a helpless Zeng Cheng.
Less than two minutes had ticked off the clock by the time Bayern had their third and it proved to be the goal of the night as Gotze, picking his spot from distance, drilled an accurate, right-footed shot to the top, far corner of the net.
The treble winners went on cruise control from there, although Guangzhou came close to pulling one back in the 56th minute when Elkeson and Muriqui broke downfield, only to have their route to goal blocked off by a stingy Bayern defense.
Shortly thereafter it was Ribery’s turn to hit the woodwork, and with just over 20 minutes remaining, Gotze nearly had a brace when his blast from the right forced Cheng into a terrific stop.
The Ballon d’Or finalist then came off to a standing ovation and was replaced by Xherdan Shaqiri, who hit the side-netting with just under 10 minutes to play.
Key Player Grades
Franck Ribery: A
The France international was Bayern’s most consistent attacking threat on Tuesday and managed to win his head-to-head against a spritely Linpeng. He also earned a handful of free-kicks as Guangzhou were forced to adopt a physical approach in order to deal with him.
It just didn’t come off for the Brazilian, who finished top scorer as Guangzhou won the AFC Champions League last month. But he managed to stretch the Bayern backline on occasion and was whistled for offside more than any other player on the pitch. His best chance to score was thwarted when a rather bored Neuer sprinted from the goalmouth to deal with Zhi’s through ball.
Guangzhou Evergrande will face the loser of Wednesday’s semi-final between Raja Casablanca and Atletico Mineiro in Saturday’s third-place match in Marrakesh. Bayern Munich will play the final in the same stadium later that evening against Wednesday’s winner.