Young gun Neymar propels Santos to final
TOYOTA, Japan - The Associated Press
Neymar (L) celebrates after scoring against Kashiwa Reysol during their semifinal clash. Neymar is hailed as one of the most talented youngsters in world football. REUTERS photoSouth American champion Santos advanced to the Club World Cup final by beating Japanese club Kashiwa Reysol 3-1 yesterday, 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 the Brazilian football legend Pele.
Barcelona will take on Qatari club Al-Sadd in the other semifinal match today in Yokohama.
The Club World Cup final is set for Dec. 18 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.
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.
However, Danilo made it 3-1 when he bent a 25-meter free kick around the Kashiwa wall in the 63rd.
Earlier, Mexican club Monterrey secured fifth place by rallying for a 3-2 win over Esperance Sportive of Tunisia.
Esperance Sportive took the lead when Yannick Ndjeng scored with a solo effort in the 31st minute, before Monterrey recovered with three quick goals to take a commanding lead. Hiram Mier equalized in the 39th, Also De Nigris made it 2-1 in the 44th and Jesus Zavala added the third two minutes after the break.
Khaled Mouelhi converted a penalty to pull one back for the Tunisian side in the 75th.
Esperance Sportive lost 2-1 to Al-Sadd of Qatar in their quarterfinal last week, while Monterrey fell to Japanese champion Kashiwa Reysol 4-3 in a penalty shootout.