Santos books place in Club WC final
TOYOTA (JAPAN) SOUTH AMERICAN champion Santos advanced to the Club World Cup final by beating Japanese club Kashiwa Reysol 3-1 on Wednesday, setting up a possible showdown between Barcelona star Lionel Messi and Brazil teenager Neymar.
The 19-year-old Neymar, who is touted to be the next big star in football, scored one of the Brazilian club’s goals.
Borges and Danilo scored the others for Santos, the former club of Pele.
Barcelona will take on Qatari club Al-Sadd in the other semifinal match on Thursday in Yokohama.
The Club World Cup final is set for Sunday in Yokohama.
Neymar, who injured his right leg late in the first half after a collision with a teammate and temporarily left the field, scored the opening goal in the 19th minute. He took a pass from Ganso and moved to his right while guarded by two Kashiwa defenders, then switched the ball to his left foot and scored from 20 meters (yards).
“We were able to make an effective offense and score goals,” Santos coach Muricy Ramalho said. “We have skill and the ability to finish. The difference (tonight) was in the skills.” Borges made it 2-0 in the 24th from the edge of the 18- yard box. He took the ball with his back to the net, dribbled to his right and then shot into the back right corner of the net over a diving Takanori Sugeno, the Kashiwa goalkeeper.
Kashiwa pulled a goal back in the 54th when defender Hiroki Sakai rose to meet a corner from Jorge Wagner and headed it past Santos goalkeeper Rafael Cabral. But Danilo made it 3-1 when he bent a 25-meter (yard) free kick around the Kashiwa wall in the 63rd.
“This tournament has given the team good experience,” said Kashiwa coach Nelsinho, who once played for Santos.
“We have had three matches in eight days, but were still able to create scoring chances.
We could not capitalize on our opportunities.” Earlier, Mexican club Monterrey secured fifth place by rallying for a 3-2 win over Esperance Sportive of Tunisia.