Bayern cruises into Club World Cup final
AGADIR, Morocco - The Associated Press
Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery celebrates his goal against Guangzhou Evergrande during their FIFA Club World Cup match at Agadir Stadium in Agadir December 17, 2013. REUTERS photoBayern Munich closed in on its fifth trophy of 2013 by brushing aside Guangzhou Evergrande 3-0 Tuesday to reach the Club World Cup final.
Franck Ribery and Mario Mandzukic scored first-half goals to break open the Asian champion's disciplined defense, and the Germans never relented as Mario Goetze added the third in the second half.
"We dominated the game," said Bayern coach Pep Guardiola, who won two Club World Cup titles with Barcelona. "And when that happens the opponent can't (play) his game."
The Champions League winners will face either Atletico Mineiro of Brazil or Moroccan champion Raja Casablanca in Saturday's final. Atletico, led by Ronaldinho, play the local favorite in Marrakech on Wednesday.
Bayern is bidding to win its first Club World Cup after having twice won the tournament when it was the Intercontinental Cup.
Bayern, which is looking to add to its haul of Bundesliga, German Cup, Champions League and European Super Cup titles, also ensured that the European champion reached the final for the 10th time in as many editions.
Bayern's starting lineup saw few changes to the squad that has started the Bundesliga season unbeaten, except for Arjen Robben's absence because of a knee injury.
Bayern completely controlled play from the outset although its opponent showed a few flashes of danger on counterattacks through Dario Conca and Muriqui, whose poor touch wasted a chance to go clean on goalkeeper Manuel Neuer early on.
"The coach really got us tuned in, we wanted ball possession to limit them and the counter attack," Bayern captain Philipp Lahm said. "I think we did that."
Guangzhou coach Marcello Lippi said his team would defend its goal and it succeeded admirably early on.
With a small contingent of Bayern fans among the 27,311 fans at the Agadir Stadium, cheers went up as Thiago Alcantara chested down a cross but swiped his 11th-minute effort off the post.
Toni Kroos rattled a hard shot off the underside of the crossbar in the 25th before Ribery forced Zeng into a low save as momentum built toward the opening goal.
Thiago had an effort cleared but the ball fell to Ribery, who smashed a low volley inside the far post in the 40th.
Four minutes later, Mandzukic dove low to head Thiago's cross into goal for 2-0.
Bayern maintained that momentum after the break as Goetze saw his shot from outside the area deflect off defender Sun Xiang over Zeng in the 47th.
Ribery found the crossbar again from a tight angle in the 67th before Zeng pushed Philipp Lahm's close-range effort off the crossbar in the waning moments.
"There was nothing left to do, (or) to change (in the team) so I couldn't do much, so I just sat down and watched the game," Lippi said through a translator. "We didn't attack as much as we would have wanted.
"Honestly speaking, there wasn't much of a match."