Seedorf shoots Milan into Club World Cup final
YOKOHAMA, Japan |
YOKOHAMA, Japan (Reuters) - Clarence Seedorf was on target as a Kaka-inspired AC Milan beat Japan's Urawa Reds 1-0 on Thursday to reach the final of the Club World Cup.
The Dutchman drove home the game's only goal in the 68th minute after a piece of Kaka magic, setting up a showdown with Argentine giants Boca Juniors in Sunday's tournament final.
"We showed great patience and waited for our moment to strike," Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti told reporters. "I think the team demonstrated its quality tonight.
"We know Boca will be a different class from Urawa and we will need to play even better but we came to Japan with one aim -- to take the trophy home to Italy. That's still our goal."
Milan produced little real menace in the first half after captain Massimo Ambrosini's early header shaved the bar, although Seedorf wasted a chance after a dazzling run by Kaka.
The European champions bared their teeth after the break, Seedorf squandering two more gilt-edged opportunities, courtesy of Kaka, before finally getting it right.
The Brazilian's burst down the left triggered panic in Urawa's defence and Seedorf applied the coup de grace with a cool left-foot finish to silence a 67,000 crowd in Yokohama.
"After three important chances I scored the fourth one," Seedorf told Reuters. "We expect another tough game against Boca. Hopefully, we can get the same result."
Milan won the Club World Cup's forerunner, a one-off match between the champions of Europe and South America, in 1969, 1989 and 1990. The Italians lost to Boca on penalties in 2003.
"That defeat hurt," said Ballon d'Or winner Kaka. "I can still remember it and look forward to facing Boca again. We were fully focused on Urawa today and they made it hard for us."
Boca beat Tunisia's Etoile Sahel 1-0 in Wednesday first semi-final in Tokyo.
Urawa coach Holger Osieck paid tribute to Milan.
"I think my team represented Japan well," said the German. "The difference was the individual class of Kaka, and Seedorf, with all his experience, finished it off."
Brazilian clubs won the first two versions of the revamped competition which is organised by world governing body FIFA.
Sao Paulo beat Liverpool 1-0 in 2005 and Internacional stunned Barcelona by the same score last year.
(Editing by Ken Ferris)
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