TOYOTA - Japan's Gamba Osaka beat Adelaide United 1-0 at the Club World Cup on Sunday to set up a dream semi-final against Manchester United. Gamba survived an early scare before Japan midfielder Yasuhito Endo scored the game's only goal with a clinical finish in the 23rd minute after a knock-down from Ryuji Bando. Adelaide captain Travis Dodd headed against the bar as the Australians, torn apart 5-0 on aggregate by Gamba in last month's Asian Champions League final, pushed for an equaliser. Dodd had already shaved the post in the 14th minute but Adelaide posed less threat in the second half of the Club World Cup quarter-final before a late salvo in injury time. Substitute Robert Younis fired wide and Dodd again went agonisingly close in the dying moments for the A-League club, who emerged with credit despite losing. "We should be proud tonight," said Adelaide manager Aurelio Vidmar, whose side had struggled to beat New Zealand part-timers Waitakere United 2-1 in the tournament's opening game. "The problem at this level is if you slip up teams punish you. But I thought we were fantastic and deserved a lot more than we got." MISSED CHANCES Endo and Brazilian striker Lucas both missed chances to increase Gamba's lead but one goal ultimately proved enough for the J-League side to advance. "It was a lot more difficult than the Asian final," Gamba coach Akira Nishino said. "It was a knockout game so it was all about the result. Now we can think about the semi-final." Gamba will play European champions United in Yokohama on Thursday. South American Libertadores Cup holders LDU of Ecuador face Mexico's Pachuca in the first semi-final a day earlier. The final of the seven-team FIFA tournament takes place on Dec. 21. AC Milan broke Europe's duck in the new-look Club World Cup by beating Argentina's Boca Juniors 4-2 in last year's final after Liverpool and Barcelona had failed in 2005 and 2006. FIFA staged a first world club championship in 2000 when Brazil's Corinthians won, but pulled the plug on the competition in 2001 after the collapse of marketing partner ISMM/ISL.
14 December 2008
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