South American champions River Plate booked their place in the Club World Cup final with a 1-0 win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
The Argentine giants were matched for large spells by the J-League champions but Lucas Alario scored in the second half with a header after Sanfrecce goalkeeper Takuto Hayashi could only half-punch a Carlos Sanchez free kick away.
Yusuke Minagawa had the best chances for Sanfrecce in the first half but failed to convert a trio of opportunities.
River face the winner of Thursday's...
Ever since the Club World Cup was introduced a decade ago, the semifinal has always been a difficult game for the South American representatives.
The European champions have usually breezed into the final (though football being so gloriously perverse, the time will come when they slip up and fall at the semifinal stage). For the South Americans, though, it has never been anything else than a grim battle.
There are two easy explanations for this. The first is that this competition means so much to...
Sanfrecce Hiroshima beat TP Mazembe 3-0 in the Club World Cup on Sunday.
Tsukasa Shiotani opened the scoring just before the break with Kazuhiko Chiba and Takuma Asano on target in the second half.
The Japanese side will play Argentina's River Plate in the semifinals on Wednesday.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima reached the quarterfinals of the FIFA Club World Cup with a 2-0 playoff win over Auckland City.
Goals in each half from Yusuke Minagawa and Tsukasa Shiotani earned the host side a deserved win in Yokahama, Japan.
Auckland, surprise third-placed finishers last year, found themselves behind after just nine minutes.
City keeper Jacob Spoonley failed to hold Gakuto Notsuda's shot from outside the area and Minagawa swept in the rebound, although there was more than a hint of offside...