Neymar fires Santos through to Club World Cup final
Kashiwa Reysol 1 Santos 3
Published 14/12/2011 | 15:48
Neymar added to his growing reputation with a stunning strike as Santos saw off Kashiwa Reysol to reach the final of the FIFA Club World Cup.
The 19-year-old opened the scoring for the Copa Libertadores winners as they defeated their hosts with three brilliant goals at the Toyota Stadium.
Hiroki Sakai briefly gave the Japanese side hope by making it 2-1 in the 54th minute after first-half efforts from Neymar and Borges, but Danilo soon restored the Brazilian club's two-goal cushion with a fine free-kick.
Neymar, who has pledged his future to Santos despite interest from some of Europe's top teams, nearly opened the scoring when the ball fell to him in the Kashiwa area but his instinctive flick with the outside of his right foot hit the post.
But he made no mistake after 19 minutes when he took a pass from Ganso on the edge of the area, turned and hit a curling left-footed shot into the top-left corner of the goal.
Borges made it 2-0 within five minutes when he turned on the edge of the area and hit a rising shot into the top-right corner.
Santos goalkeeper Rafael had to make a full-length save low to his left after fellow Brazilian Wagner followed up his weak free-kick which rebounded to him off the wall.
Full-back Danilo could have extended Santos' lead early in the second half but keeper Sugeno blocked with his feet.
Kashiwa pulled a goal back when a corner from the left by Wagner found the unmarked right-back Sakai, who headed past Rafael nine minutes into the second half.
However, any hopes of a comeback were crushed in the 63rd minute when Danilo curled a free-kick from 30 yards around the wall and into the net.
Kashiwa twice went close in the closing stages and Santos' Ibson saw his shot hit the bar, but there were no further goals.
Santos will face either Barcelona or Al-Sadd in Sunday's final in Yokohama.