Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Boca Juniors book their place in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup

Argentine giants Boca Juniors booked their place in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup, but they failed to turn on the style in their 1-0 win over Tunisian side Etoile du Sahel.

Midfielder Neri Cardozo scored the only goal before a crowd of 37,255 fans at the National Stadium in Tokyo, while midfielder Fabian Vargas was sent off for a second bookable offence with twenty-five minutes remaining.

Etoile started the match with significantly more attacking intent than in their 1-0 win over Mexican side Pachuca, with ex-Liverpool defender Gabriel Paletta looking shaky at the back for Boca.

Tunisian starlet Amine Chermiti was causing problems with his penetrating runs, but gradually Boca began to play their way into the match, and they opened the scoring after thirty-seven minutes when striker Rodrigo Palacio cut inside a defender and slid the ball to Neri Cardozo, who beat Etoile keeper Aymen Balbouli with an unstoppable left foot drive.

The second half was a tense affair and Boca's cause wasn't helped when midfielder Fabian Vargas received his marching orders from Danish referee Claus Bo Larsen. Etoile saw a golden opportunity to equalise in stoppage time go to waste when substitute Gilson Silva headed wide at the far post.

Boca will now meet the winner of tomorrow's semi-final between reigning European champions AC Milan and current Asian champions Urawa Reds, with a crowd of around 70,000 expected to descend upon Yokohama International Stadium to witness that clash.

Copyright © Michael Tuckerman & Soccerphile

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