South American champion River Plate booked a place in the Club World Cup final for the first time in 19 years by beating Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-0 on Wednesday.
River was matched for large spells by the J-League champion, but Lucas Alario scored in the second half with a header after Hiroshima goalkeeper Takuto Hayashi could only half-punch away a Carlos Sanchez free kick.
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”We knew Hiroshima would be an organized team,” River coach Marcelo Gallardo said. ”But we tried to adjust and be persistent, and were able to score from the free kick.”
Yusuke Minagawa had the best chances for Hiroshima in the first half, but failed to convert a trio of opportunities.