Thursday, December 13, 2007

AC Milan to meet Boca Juniors in FIFA Club World Cup Final

AC Milan to meet Boca Juniors in FIFA Club World Cup Final.
AC Milan had to work hard to overcome AFC Champions League winners Urawa Reds in their FIFA Club World Cup semi-final, eventually prevailing 1-0 thanks to Clarence Seedorf's late strike in front of 67,005 fans at Yokohama International Stadium.

The only goal of the match came from a quickly taken free-kick that saw Brazilian ace Kaka ghost passed Fabio Nene and cut the ball back to Seedorf from the byline, with the Dutch international making no mistake in side-footing passed Ryota Tsuzuki in the Urawa goal.

Carlo Ancelotti's game plan was clearly to occupy Urawa's marauding wing-back Takahito Soma with defensive duties, as Milan wingback Massimo Oddo turned the tables by running straight at Soma whenever the opportunity arose. Oddo's crossing was inaccurate, however, and striker Alberto Gilardino spurned the chances that did fall his way.

Milan looked far more dangerous following the introduction of veteran striker Filippo Inzaghi, and they eventually broke the deadlock in the sixty-eighth minute. The Reds could only conjure half chances, with striker Washington struggling to deal with the pace of Italian international defender Alessandro Nesta.

Substitute Nobuhisa Yamada made his long awaited return from injury, and the Urawa captain had arguably Urawa's best chance when Dida dived to save his powerful low drive late in the match.

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti was naturally pleased to have qualified for the final of the FIFA Club World Cup, but warned the media that his team would face a far tougher test against Argentine giants Boca Juniors.

Holger Osieck was satisfied with his team's performance, and claimed that Urawa gave a good account of both themselves and of Japanese football. He stated that the Reds' next goal was to win the 3/4 playoff against Tunisian side Etoile du Sahel on December 16, and give striker Washington a rousing farewell before his departure for Brazilian club Fluminese.

Copyright © Michael Tuckerman & Soccerphile.com

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