Santos booked their place in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup with a comfortable victory over Kashiwa Reysol at Toyota Stadium this morning. The Libertadores champions were ahead 19 minutes into the contest thanks to a wonderful strike from the much-coveted Neymar who had earlier struck the post. Fed by Ganso down the inside right channel, he checked back inside onto his left and curled a beauty past Takanori Sugeno who was left with his feet seemingly in clay. Approaching the half hour, Santos struck for a second time to all but seal the game. Again, Ganso was the provider, playing it in from the left to the feet of Borges who turned and rifled a powerful shot high into the roof of the net. 2-0 it remained to half time, but nine minutes after the resumption, Reysol found a way back into the game as some slack marking at a corner allowed Hiroki Sakai to pull one back.
If anything, that spurred Santos on and they restored the two-goal advantage shortly afterwards with Danilo's heavily deflected free-kick following a foul on star man Ganso. Reysol could and should have got one back late on when Masakatsu Sawa put the ball over the bar from close range when scoring looked easier. Santos move on to Sunday's final where the winners of tomorrow's semi-final between Qatar's Al Sadd and the tiki-taka masters of Barcelona (so Barcelona then, yeah?).
Reysol, the host nation champions, got to this point by beating Oceania champions Auckland City 2-0 in a play-off and then beating CONCACAF champions Monterrey of Mexico on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Monterrey beat ES Tunis (African champions) for 5th place in a play-off after the Tunisians lost their quarter-final to Al Sadd by two goals to one. Reysol have one more game, the third-place match, against the losers of the Al Sadd/Barcelona clash (so Al Sadd then, yeah?), also on Sunday.
Follow Barcelona's progress on our sister site, Euroballs.