December 14, 2016 7:19:39 pm
Kashima Antlers became the first Japanese side to reach the Club World Cup final when they beat Colombia’s South American champions Atletico Nacional 3-0 on Wednesday.
Kashima’s first goal came after 33 minutes when Shoma Doi converted a penalty given for an off-the-ball trip by Orlando Berrio on Daigo Nishi after video evidence was used to award a spot kick for the first time in a FIFA competition.
Yasushi Endo scored the Antlers’ second after 83 minutes when he took advantage of an error by goalkeeper Franco Armani to backheel a loose ball into the empty net.
Atletico’s heads went down and two minutes later substitute Yuma Suzuki, who had just come on, sidefooted home a third from close range after Mu Kanazaki’s ball across the face of goal.
The result means Japan’s J-league champions will face the winners of Thursday’s semi-final between Real Madrid and Mexico’s Club America. The final is scheduled for Sunday.
Atletico were the better side, especially in the first half, with 23 shots at goal to Kashima’s 10. However, they could not find a way past Kashima’s veteran goalkeeper Hitoshi Sogahata and they paid the price when they were caught on the break.
“We hit the bar and we had clear chances and those would have given use the composure to play our game,” Atletico coach Reinaldo Rueda said. “We’re very sad.”
The loss in their 83rd match of the year capped a traumatic few weeks for Atletico.
The Copa Libertadores champions were scheduled to face Chapecoense in the final of the Copa Sudamericana in November but a plane crash killed most of the Brazilian side as their flight approached Medellin and the game was cancelled.
Two weeks of mourning followed in Colombia and Brazil, upsetting their preparations for the Club World Cup.
The use of video assistance to review ‘match-changing’ decisions was allowed to be used during Wednesday’s semi-final for the first time in a FIFA competition.
Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai was called to the side of the pitch after half an hour to watch an incident replayed on a computer. Kassai adjudged Berrio to have tripped Daigo as the players moved into the box to challenge for a free kick.
Although Daigo looked to be in an offside position, the penalty was awarded and Shoma made no mistake from the spot.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.