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Guangzhou Evergrande 0 Bayern 3

Classy Bayern move step closer to fifth trophy

Bayern came a step closer to a third intercontinental title and their fifth trophy of 2013 with a supremely comfortable 3-0 FIFA Club World Cup semi-final victory over Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande on Tuesday night. Franck Ribery, Mario Mandzukic and Mario Götze scored the goals in Agadir for Pep Guardiola’s dominant side, who also hit the woodwork five times against their willing but physically and technically inferior opponents. Munich now progress to Saturday’s final in Marrakech against the winners of Wednesday’s second semi-final between Brazilian cracks Atletico Mineiro and Moroccan outfit Raja Casablanca.

The 27,311 crowd saw Thiago and Toni Kroos both hit the goal frame in a one-sided first half, before Ribery with a cross-shot and Mandzukic with a header struck twice in the five minutes leading up to half-time. Götze cracked home the third within two minutes of the restart and although the Bavarians fashioned a host of chances as their opponents tired, the score remained unchanged through to the end.

Franck, David and Jerome return

Guardiola made three changes compared to the 3-1 Bundesliga win over Hamburg at the weekend, with Jerome Boateng, David Alaba and Ribery coming in for Dante, Diego Contento and Thomas Müller. The UEFA Champions League holders started with Manuel Neuer in goal behind a back four of Rafinha, Daniel van Buyten, Boateng and Alaba. Captain Philipp Lahm anchored the midfield, with Thiago, Toni Kroos, Mario Götze and Ribery ahead of him, and Mandzukic as the lone striker.

Italian World Cup winning boss Marcello Lippi led his Guangzhou side to the Club World Cup by claiming the Asian Champions League on away goals in a two-legged final against FC Seoul. In the quarter-final in Morocco, Lippi’s men  prevailed 2-0 against Al Ahly Cairo. Apart from the 13 China internationals in the Guangzhou squad a South American trio call the shots, Argentine schemer Conca, and Brazilian duo Elkeson and Muriqui up front.

FCB rewarded for patience

Once Gambian referee Bakary Gassama whistled play underway on a clear evening in Agadir with pleasant temperatures of 18 degrees Celsius, the treble winners immediately assumed control against their defensive opponents and the chances began to come. Lahm volleyed over and Alaba drew an early save from Guangzhou keeper Zeng Cheng, before Kroos lofted his drive wide after 15 minutes and Thiago was desperately unlucky to see his shot cannon off the post after the Spaniard controlled Lahm chip on his chest.

Ribery’s free-kick cleared the bar after 20 minutes, before Kroos rattled the crossbar with a fierce drive after a slick one-two with Thiago. The Chinese held their ground for a spell now but Bayern were prepared to be patient, and Götze, Rafinha and Boateng launched a pre-interval offensive with three half-chances. The breakthrough came on 40 minutes after Mandzukic and Thiago saw shots blocked, but Ribery produced a fine angled volley to drive the loose ball across Cheng and in at the far corner.

FCB kept up the pressure and the Guangzhou keeper needed a second go to grasp a Mandzukic shot, but the big Croat was only denied until the 44th minute when he dived to head home a Thiago cross after the Spain star recovered possession on the edge of the Chinese box.

One-way traffic after half-time

Lippi’s men staged a very rare foray into FCB territory immediately after the restart and Muriqui poked a shot into the side-netting, but the Europeans were 3-0 up after 47 minutes when the Asians allowed Götze far too much space on the edge of the box, the Germany star belting a dipping drive over Cheng and into the top corner of the net.

Munich eased back a gear now but remained totally on top in every area of the field. FCB still stuck to the task and put together a string of chances only for Götze to see a shot saved, Ribery to twist and turn in the box but whip a shot against the crossbar, and Cheng to push another Götze drive against the post and away to safety.

Javi Martinez, Xherdan Shaqiri and Claudio Pizarro took over from Kroos, Ribery and Mandzukic in the course of the second half, with the livewire Shaqiri crashing a drive into the side-netting after 78 minutes and Götze hitting the crossbar off Cheng in the closing stages as the UEFA Champions League holders eased to victory.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley