Thursday, December 18, 2008

Manchested United through to FIFA Club World Cup final

Manchested United through to FIFA Club World Cup final.
Manchester United eased through to the FIFA Club World Cup final with an entertaining 5-3 win over J. League side Gamba Osaka in front of 67,618 fans at Yokohama International Stadium.

The English giants looked to be cruising when first half headers from Nemanja Vidic and Cristiano Ronaldo gave them a commanding two goal lead at the break.

Gamba pulled a goal back through striker Masato Yamazaki in the 74th minute, and that proved to be the precursor for a crazy spell of action.

United substitute Wayne Rooney scored with what was practically his first touch of the ball, before fellow substitute Darren Fletcher then put the game beyond doubt with a 78th minute header.

Just a minute later Rooney scored his second and United's fifth, as a shell-shocked Gamba defence capitulated on the global stage.

To Gamba's credit they scored twice more over the closing stages, with the inspirational Yasuhito Endo slotting home from the spot after Gary Neville was adjudged to have handled inside the area.

Midfielder Hideo Hashimoto then popped up to score a rare goal and add some respectability to the scoreline - and United's Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar was nonplussed to have been beaten three times in this wildly fluctuating clash.

Several of the United players complained of jet-lag after the match, with French international Patrice Evra revealing that he had only slept for a total of two hours in the build-up to the match.

Cristiano Ronaldo was another to suffer from fatigue, although he was quick to praise the Osakans, whom he labelled a "very good football team."

The newly-crowned World Player Of The Year was tight-lipped about the prospects of a potential move to Real Madrid, instead preferring to focus on the task at hand.

To a man the United squad have all highlighted their desire to become the first British club to lift the FIFA Club World Cup in its current form, with Sir Alex Ferguson's team clearly meaning business when they take on Ecuador's LDU Quito in the Club World Cup final on December 21 in Yokohama.

That goal is now within reach, with just one more game standing in United's way of being crowned world champions.

Copyright © Michael Tuckerman & Soccerphile.com

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