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Barcelona march into world final

Published: Thursday 15 December 2011, 14.23CET
al-Sadd Sports Club 0-4 FC Barcelona
Barcelona are through to their second FIFA Club World Cup final in three years after comfortably seeing off the Asian champions.
by Delfín Ramírez
Barcelona march into world final
Barcelona produced a dominant performance in Yokohama ©AFP

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Published: Thursday 15 December 2011, 14.23CET

Barcelona march into world final

al-Sadd Sports Club 0-4 FC Barcelona
Barcelona are through to their second FIFA Club World Cup final in three years after comfortably seeing off the Asian champions.

FC Barcelona are through to their second FIFA Club World Cup final in three years after comfortably seeing off the challenge of Asian champions al-Sadd Sports Club in Yokohama.

Adriano struck twice before the interval and further goals from Seydou Keita and Maxwell helped set up a Sunday decider against Santos FC, who beat Kashiwa Reysol from host country Japan 3-1 on Wednesday. However, Barcelona's joy was tempered by David Villa suffering a fractured tibia late in the first half.

Fielding their familiar 3-4-3 system despite six changes to the team that beat Real Madrid CF on Saturday, the Azulgrana were in control from the off but took 18 minutes to create a clear chance, Villa seeing his shot blocked. A goal seemed inevitable and seven minutes later it arrived, Adriano pouncing after a mix-up between a defender and goalkeeper Mohamed Saqr.

Barça were turning on the style, mainly producing shots from distance, yet then came the blow of Villa's 39th-minute injury, Alexis Sánchez coming on. That did not change the script, though, Adriano taking advantage of another defensive slip to turn in a pass from Thiago Alcántara on 43 minutes. That was followed by al-Sadd's sole opportunity, former Olympique de Marseille and Fenerbahçe SK forward Mamadou Niang firing high and wide.

al-Sadd did their best to push after the break, albeit from limited possession, and at the other end Lionel Messi effected two trademark pieces of skill before his effort was deflected off target. From the corner, Messi controlled the ball on the edge of the box and delivered a perfect pass for Keita to chase and flick in.

Barcelona's dominance was now total and nine minutes from time substitute Maxwell drove in via a deflection off Saqr. On Sunday Barcelona hope to become the first side to win the FIFA trophy twice and make it five European victories in a row, following FC Internazionale Milano's triumph in 2010.

Josep Guardiola said: "We worked out well how to play this game. Our opponents opted to play with nine men inside their area while looking to counterattack. al-Sadd are a very aggressive side with very quick players on the break and we had to know how to be patient against them. In the second half they didn't have a shot on goal. If we didn't attack well it could have been one of those games that can catch you out. But at the end we did well and we are happy to be in the final of the Club World Cup.

As for Santos, Guardiola added: "The likes of Pelé and other big names made them a great side. For us it's a luxury to play this final, however, until now I have seen absolutely nothing of Santos. From tomorrow onwards I will study them; let's see what we can do to beat them."

Last updated: 15/12/11 16.52CET

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