Corinthians advances to final at Club World Cup
Peruvian striker Paolo Guerrero scored in the first half Wednesday as Brazilian side Corinthians beat Egypt's Al-Ahly 1-0 to advance to the final of the Club World Cup.
Midfielder Douglas sent a perfect cross into the box and Guerrero rose up to make an angled header past the outstretched arms of Al-Ahly goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy in the 30th minute.
The Copa Libertadores winners will face the either Champions League winners Chelsea or CONCACAF champions Monterrey of Mexico in the final on Dec. 16 at Yokohama Stadium. The second semifinal is Thursday.
Corinthians, who won this tournament in 2000, dominated the first half at Toyota Stadium but were pressured by the African champions after the break.
"We weren't expecting such a tough match,'' Corinthians coach Tite said. "They became more aggressive and were able to possess the ball more after the break. We have a huge responsibility to win and have been under pressure mentally.''
A team from South American hasn't won since Brazil's Internacional upset Barcelona 1-0 in the 2006 final.
Al-Ahly came out playing better after the break. Substitute Mohamed Aboutrika went close to an equalizer in the 70th minute with a long-range attempt that was just wide of the target and Walid Soliman hit a ball over the crossbar with five minutes left.
A large contingent of Corinthian fans that traveled from Brazil made sure the South American champions were the crowd favorite.
Al-Ahly, which beat Japan's Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-1 in the quarterfinals, was appearing in its fourth Club World Cup.
"I'm frustrated to lose because the performance of my players was very good,'' Al-Alhy coach Hossam El Badry said. "I think we actually played better than Corinthians and deserved to win.''
In Wednesday's game to determine fifth place, Hisato Sato scored two second-half goals as Hiroshima beat Asian champion Ulsan Hyundai 3-2.
Sato gave Hiroshima a 2-1 lead in the 56th minute when he deflected a cross from Satoru Yamagishi, and widened the advantage 18 minutes from time with a left-foot shot from close range. Ulsan defender Lee Yong scored a consolation goal from a free kick deep in stoppage time.
South Korean side Ulsan took a 1-0 lead in the 17th on an own goal by Hiroshima defender Hiroki Mizumoto, who redirected a headed ball past goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa.
Hiroshima equalized in the 35th when Satoru Yamagishi calmly tapped in a rebound from a save by Ulsan goalkeeper Kim Young-kwang.