Gremio beats Pachuca 1-0 to make Club World Cup final
Dec. 12, 2017
AL AIN, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Gremio has put a South American team back in the Club World Cup final.
The Brazilian team defeated Mexico's Pachuca 1-0 in extra time on Tuesday, giving South America a shot at the title after missing out on the final last year.
The Copa Libertadores champion will play Real Madrid or Emirates league winner Al Jazira, who meet in the other semifinal on Wednesday.
Substitute forward Everton scored five minutes into extra time, clearing a defender inside the area and striking a right-footed shot into the top corner.
Pachuca played with 10 men during the final minutes of extra time after Victor Guzman received a second yellow card for a hard foul.
"Our players were too nervous in the beginning of the match," Gremio coach Renato Gaucho said. "We improved in the second half, and in extra time Everton got the goal that we needed. We overcame a great opponent to make it to the final."
Last year, Kashima Antlers of Japan knocked out South American entry Atletico Nacional of Colombia in the semifinals, then lost to Real Madrid.
In the face of Spanish domination of the Club World Cup in recent years, the last South American club to win the title was Brazil's Corinthians in 2012, when it defeated Chelsea.
Pachuca, the CONCACAF winner, made it to the semifinals by defeating African champion Wydad Casablanca of Morocco 1-0 in extra time on Saturday.
Gremio and Real Madrid entered the competition in the semifinals.
The final will be on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
Gremio was in control for most of the match but struggled to create many significant chances in regulation time.
Forward Luan, one of Brazil's most promising stars, struck the post with a long-range shot early in the second half.
"We were too anxious, making too many passing mistakes," Everton said. "It took a while but eventually we were able to get into the game."
Pachuca's best chance was a header by Guzman that just missed the far corner in the final minutes of normal time.
"The team competed incredibly," Pachuca coach Diego Alonso said. "But in extra time the team started to feel a bit tired. But I'm delighted, I need to congratulate my players."
In the match for fifth place, Urawa Reds of Japan defeated Wydad Casablanca 3-2 with a pair of goals by Brazilian player Mauricio.
Wydad scored its second goal in stoppage time after being awarded a penalty kick with the help of video review.