Having arrived in Japan only two days prior to kickoff, Barcelona was expected to be playing at only 70 percent or so–and possibly fade in the second half. It didn’t happen. In spite of a 12-hour flight and a half day time difference, the Catalans put on a 90-minute display of the beautiful game, crushing Mexican champion Club America 4-0 at the venue for the 2002 World Cup Final.
The scoreline could have been much worse. The Mexican side had but one real chance at goal all evening, when former Argentine forward Claudio Lopez flubbed a beautiful pass that left him alone in front of the Barcelona keeper early on. After that, it was all Barcelona.
Playing in a steady rain in Yokohama, Deco guided the midfield with grace and aplomb, moving the ball around with tremendous pace. Up front, Ronaldinho only found the net once but confounded the Mexican defense throughout the match and set up Deco’s brilliant strike.
In the eleventh minute, Iceland international Gudjohnsen opened his account. Falling to his left, he curled in a low hard shot with his right foot against the flow of play. Barca’s next goal came from Mexican international Marquez who headed in from a corner in the 30th minute.
The first half ended at 2-0 and Barca having 65% of possession.
The second half continued the same way. After many close calls, Ronaldinho finally scored in the 66th minute. From close range, the Brazilian star picked up a loose ball with players all around him, feinted once, then pounded the ball into the upper right corner, just eluding the keeper’s outstretched hands.
Ronaldinho then set up the fourth and final goal–a bullet from Deco–by feeding him and then body blocking a defender out of the way and thus clearing a path for the shot.
Barcelona is now in the Togel Singapore Final. With a few days off to further acclimate and practice, they look nearly unbeatable.
Al Ahly Cairo 1-2 Internacional
Brazil’s Libertadores Cup winners Internacional squeezed by Egypt’s African champions Al Ahly Cairo 2-1 at Tokyo’s National Stadium tonight.
19-year-old substitute striker Luiz Adriano’s first professional goal booked Internacional’s place in the final of the Fifa Club World Championship in Yokohama on Sunday where they will face Europe’s Champions League winners Barcelona from Spain or Mexico’s Club America.
Youngster Pato Alexandre put Internacional ahead in the 23rd minute of the first half from a corner before Angolan striker Flavio equalized after the break in the 54th minute for Al Ahly.
Both sides hit the post in a lively encounter, before Luiz Adriano, on for room-mate Pato Alexandre, who was taken off with an ankle injury, sealed the match for Internacional.