Club World Cup: United book final spot

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Manchester United reached the final of the FIFA Club World Cup after a thrilling 5-3 win over Asian champions Gamba Osaka in front of 67,618 fans in Yokohama, Japan.

Sir Alex Ferguson will not have been impressed with some of his side's defending but credit must go to the Japanese side whose attacking intent made for an entertaining spectacle.

Prematch talk had suggested that the J.League side might be a little vulnerable defensively. Gamba did not look particularly organised but their determinant display was enough to keep United temporarily at bay.

But in the end the European champions' attack was just too strong for their opponents and they went ahead after 28 minutes as Ryan Giggs swung in a corner from the right and Nemanja Vidić, with his added strength, rose highest to guide his header beyond Yosuke Fujigaya.

A teasing play down the right from Cristiano Ronaldo should have resulted in a second United goal but Anderson, who has yet to score in 56 appearances for the Red Devils since his arrival from FC Porto last year, failed to make proper contact with his header despite being totally unmarked just six yards from goal.

United were two up on the stroke of half time when another Giggs corner was headed home by Ronaldo to ensure his side went into the break in control.

The first half had seen a steady flow of chances, however, the second would not be so incident packed.

Much of the game after the break was played as a dead rubber but the final 15 minutes was simply superb.

Gamba pulled a goal back in the 74th minute through Masato Yamazaki but United responded with three goals in the span of four minutes.

Within a minute, substitute Wayne Rooney made it 3-1 as the England forward shrugged off Sota Nakazawa to tuck the ball into the corner of the net.

United added a fourth with 78 minutes on the clock as the unmarked Darren Fletcher moved in to head home Patrice Evra's cross from the left.

Unbelievably, it was 5-1 a minute later when Rooney was again left with great freedom in front of Fujigawa and was again deadly with his finishing.

Goals were flowing freely as the Japanese side scored again. The impressive Yasuhito Endo converted a calmly-taken penalty after Gary Neville was harshly adjudged to to have handled the ball in the box.

There was still time for another Gamba goal from Hideo Hashimoto, although it did not affect the outcome.

The victory means United will now face South American champions LDU Quito in the final on Sunday as the Red Devils have taken another step towards becoming world champions.

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